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Customer experience (CX) in the UK has shown little sign of improvement in the last year, according to the latest analysis by KPMG Nunwood. However, whilst consumers generally felt their experiences with British brands were ‘average’ overall1, challenger banks first direct and Metro Bank, along with cosmetic retailer Lush, were among the businesses bucking the overall trend, ranking first, second and third respectively.

2018 UK Top-10 Brands by CEE score:

Ranking Brand Movement (position in ranking vs. 2017) 2018 CEE Score*
1 first direct +2 8.21
2 Metro Bank NEW 8.09
3 Lush +2 8.02
4 John Lewis Finance -2  7.96
5 John Lewis -1  7.95
6 Ocado +2  7.88
7 Boden +38 7.84
8 M&S +1 7.83
9 M&S Food +5 7.83
10 Emirates -4 7.82

Now in its ninth year, the latest Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) report – Ignite growth: Connecting insight to action – revealed only a minute uptick in the UK’s overall CEE score2, moving from 7.08 to 7.13, but remaining below the previous 5-year average of 7.22.

A closer look at KPMG Nunwood’s Six Pillars of Customer Experience3 revealed that unlike last year, consumers did feel that brands were getting marginally better at meeting expectations and building better relationships with them. However, there was little movement in terms of personalisation, perceptions of brand integrity, or of minimising a customer’s effort by creating more frictionless interactions.

Commenting on the findings, the report’s author David Conway, Director at KPMG Nunwood, said: “Many British brands have focused intensely on customer experience, but it would appear that the majority of their efforts have yet to be recognised. Of the brands that are bucking the overall trend in this year’s analysis, one key commonality stands out: these businesses are customer insight driven.

“Improving customer experience is about far more than investment alone. Customer insight must be fully embedded into business strategy. That increasingly requires looking beyond mere surveys and focus groups, and instead fully utilising the breadth of digital, social, operational, financial and behavioral signals firms have access to. Decisions on improving customer experience need to be based on facts, not intuition.”

While retail (especially grocery) remained the leading sector in this year’s analysis, financial services firms secured three of the top-five places in the rankings.

Jon Holt, Head of Financial Services at KPMG adds,  “Whilst pretty much all firms still have a way to go when it comes to customer experience, it’s promising to see two banks take the top spots. Banks and wider financial services providers are waking up to the fact that consumers want hyper personalisation and convenience. People want a car, a house, a holiday, not a savings account or an insurance policy. Financial services as a whole has to adjust to a world where the end customer is front and centre of their products, distribution channels and business models. Customers want instant, digital services and they know the value of their custom.”

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