Waitrose named top supermarket for satisfying customers, latest ICS Index shows

Waitrose is the highest-performing food retail company in the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI).

Published by The Institute of Customer Service, the UKCSI reveals customer satisfaction for the food retail sector is unchanged since January 2017 and remains above the UK average of 78.1 with a score of 81.3 out of 100. With certain areas, such as condition of delivered goods, still scoring below the UK average, however, The Institute is calling on companies within the sector to ensure their customer service strategies to deliver consistent and integrated experiences across all channels.

Published biannually, the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) names food retail as the second highest-scoring sector for satisfied customers, topped only by non-food retail, out of 13 measured.

The UKCSI also reveals that over half (55%) of food retail customers are not prepared to compromise service levels in pursuit of the cheapest deal. Over a quarter (27%) are willing to pay a premium for better service, indicating changing customer priorities within the sector.

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, commented on the report: “Customer satisfaction within the food retail industry remains strong, but the sector should not become complacent. In order to maintain this success and benefit from long-term returns, organisations must continue to invest in customer service and place it at the heart of their business strategy. The temptation may be to hold back amidst an uncertain economic climate, but with improvements in customer service worth £81.5 billion* to the UK’s GDP through repeat custom and recommendation, consistency is key to success. It is also clear that where satisfaction is maintained, organisations will see a direct link to turnover growth, profitability and productivity.”

The Index reports changing fortunes across other industry sectors. Satisfaction in the automotive industry, for example, has increased from 78.8 in January 2017 to 79.5 today and the telecoms and media sector has improved from last place on the sector league table, rising from 73.6 to 74.2 in a year. By contrast, the transport sector is now the lowest-rated sector amongst consumers, with a score of 73.7.

Customer satisfaction in the UK is broadly stable, with a score of 78.1 (out of 100). This is up 0.3 points compared to a year ago, but there are signs that the improving trend has stalled. For the first time, organisations whose customer satisfaction has dropped by two points or more, compared to last year, has overtaken the number who have improved by at least two points.

The UKCSI is recognised as a national measure of UK customer satisfaction. It rates customer satisfaction at a national, sector and organisational level across over 250 organisations and 13 sectors. Thirty different considerations – such as staff professionalism, quality and efficiency, and complaint handling – are factored into the results. It is published twice a year, in January and July. To find out more, and to download the full UKCSI report, visit: www.instituteofcustomerservice.com/ukcsi.