// Debenhams named the best retailer for customer satisfaction in annual UKCSI
// Ocado ranks 6th, but beats all other grocers and is the only food retailer to feature in the top 10
// Five of listed in the UKCSI top 10 are retailers
Debenhams and Ocado have been named among the top retailers for customer satisfaction, according to new research.
The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) said that the non-food retail sector experienced its lowest customer satisfaction rating in eight years, while customer satisfaction among grocery retailers have experienced a drop.
The ICS’s biannual UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), released yesterday, also indicates that non-food retail sector saw its biggest year-on-year drop in customer satisfaction since January 2015.
Despite this, five of the overall top 10 organisations listed are retailers, with Debenhams coming out on top, ahead of John Lewis, Next, Amazon and M&S.
The UKCSI Top 20:
1 first direct
4 John Lewis
13= Pets at Home
13= Premier Inn
16 P&O Cruises
17= Home Bargains
17= Skoda UK
The ICS’s research sees a close grouping of retailers at the top of the retail customer satisfaction rankings, led by Debenhams with a score of 86.7 out of 100 points.
Retailers who have consistently sat in the top 10 were close on the department store’s heels with John Lewis at 85.3 points, Next at 85.1 and Amazon.co.uk and 84.4.
Across the retail sector, customers noted that product availability, website navigation and service range were the areas most in need of improvement.
Just over two points separated the sector lead and Amazon in fourth.
“This is a crucial time for the retail sector, and the overall drop in customer satisfaction in a sector that consistently out-performs others is a concern,” ICS chief executive Jo Causon said in a statement.
“Despite this, retailers like Next, Amazon and John Lewis appear in the overall top 10 time after time, and this consistency is mirrored in a long term healthy financial performance.
“Debenhams’ ascension, perhaps from a range of new customer-facing initiatives is eye-catching, but only time will tell if this can be sustained in coming years in order to translate into sales and repeat custom.”
While Ocado was ranked sixth in the overall UKCSI, it was the only grocery retailer to be featured in the top 10.
Hot on its heels in that sector is Co-op Food, which received its highest ever score – and is the only food retailer whose score has improved since last year.
Aldi, Waitrose, Iceland and M&S Food also continue to perform well, although the ICS said overall satisfaction among grocery retailers declined by 1.1 points.
This is the grocery sector’s lowest score since 2015 and the first time since 2011 it has not been one of UKCSI’s top two performing sectors.
The UKCSI top 10 grocers are:
2 Co-op Food
6 M&S Food
ICS found that the proportion of customers concerned with the suitability of goods or services has doubled from 12.6 per cent to 24.3 per cent year-on-year, and the number of problems referring to organisations not keeping their promises has grown from 2.9 per cent to 7.6 per cent.
Every complaint handling measure also fell by at least 0.4 points year-on-year and the number of customers experiencing a problem with grocers has increased by one per cent.
“In a highly competitive sector where service levels are declining, ensuring there is a clear and continued focus on delivering a brilliant end-to-end experience is increasingly important,” Causon said.
“It’s not about online versus offline, but about organisations delivering a coherent, overall experience and impression – and Ocado and Co-op are showing the benefits of getting it right for customers, but this needs to be sustained to ensure long-term performance.
“Where there is a sustained investment and commitment to customer service, our research demonstrates a strong correlation between customer satisfaction and increased sales, repeat custom and subsequent financial performance.”
The UKCSI purports to be the national measure of UK customer satisfaction.
Published twice a year, it rates customer satisfaction across 13 sectors – incorporating the views of 10,000 consumers and 242 brands.
ICS said than 25 different customer measures are surveyed as part of the UKCSI, including staff professionalism, quality of service, transparency, customer experience, complaint handling and ethics.