UK companies are failing to keep up with the rapidly-changing customer environment, according to a survey by a customer service trade body.
The latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) released by the Institute of Customer Service reveals faith in customer services is now lower than at any point since January 2010, with only the utilities and banking sectors having improved during 2014.
The January UKCSI is based upon feedback from nearly 40,000 customer experiences across 13 different sectors of the UK economy.
More than 200 organisations appeared in the index, which tracks customer satisfaction across 13 sectors since 2008.
Top of the index are retailers John Lewis and Amazon. This year a group of organisations, including Northern Ireland Electricity, Santander, Nationwide, and Royal Mail were also highlighted for gaining the largest improvement in customer satisfaction scores over the past five years, demonstrating there are examples from every sector that are delivering improvements in customer satisfaction.
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There are signs of improved focus on customer satisfaction in the Utilities sector. Southern Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities registered the largest improvement in satisfaction score over the past year and four of the big six returned higher scores, however there is still lots of potential for this sector to improve as many utilities companies saw their satisfaction scores continue to fall and the sector remains the lowest scoring sector included in UKCSI.
Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service said that many organisations are struggling to keep pace with a business environment that has undergone rapid change in recent months, and that while some brands are improving customer satisfaction by operating in an agile and innovative way, it is clear that a new approach is required for this new environment.
‘Businesses need to take a look at the experience they are delivering to customers and identify how it can be improved. The UK is shifting from a transactional economy to a relationship economy, customers expect a dialogue with organisations rather than monologue, and they are using a mixture of new and existing channels to engage.
‘They demand transparency, are increasingly service savvy and focus on ethics and sustainability. The UKCSI results show there is huge potential for companies to drive growth and brand loyalty by improving customer service. With so much information at our fingertips, business leaders need to start measuring the success and impact of customer service.’
Further reading: Use customer service as a marketing tool