UKCSI January 2019

What is the UKCSI and how does it relate to YourSayPays?

TLF, the owner of YourSayPays, is proud to be the research partner to the Institute of Customer Service (ICS), the ICS was founded in 1996 and is the independent, professional membership body for customer service.

One of the ICS’ functions is to produce the biannual UK Customer Satisfaction Index, or UKCSI. In ICS’ words:

“The UK Customer Satisfaction Index gives a unique insight into the quality of customer service in your sector. So you can see who’s leading the pack, and how you measure up.

UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) is the national measure of customer satisfaction. It gives a unique insight into the quality of customer service in the UK as a whole and 13 sectors of the economy. It is based on a six-monthly online survey of consumers which is demographically representative of the UK population.”

To create the UKCSI, the ICS use YourSayPays to run a series of online consumer surveys twice a year, with each wave consisting of 13 questionnaires, one for each of the 13 business sectors measured in the UKCSI. YourSayPays panellists are asked to rate their experiences of a particular organisation they have dealt with in the previous 3 months across a host of different variables, with the UKCSI score for each company being the average of its customers’ satisfaction scores.

The data obtained through YourSayPays is analysed by TLF and then used to create the UKCSI sector reports.

Latest UKCSI Results

The first UKCSI report for 2019 was released at the end of January, detailing the state of customer satisfaction in the UK. We’ve pulled together some of the highlights of the Executive Summary, the full report of which can be found here

Overall Satisfaction

The overall UKCSI score is 77.7 (out of 100), 0.4 points lower than this time last year and 0.2 points below the last round in July 2018 (although this is not a huge decline, it is the third drop of the UKCSI in a row, bringing it to its lowest point since July 2016),

First Direct is the highest rated organisation, with a score of 86.7, with Amazon falling from first place for the first time in many years, down to fifth. The shake-up coming largely from the introduction of a new scorecard – which is detailed further down.

Satisfaction by Sector

The overall customer satisfaction scores by sector, compared to January 2018, are as follows:

(Sorted in descending order, red indicates a drop in score since last year, green indicates a rise and black indicates no change)

UKCSI Executive Summary Sector Scores

With a UKCSI score of 79.8, the Insurance sector has improved by 1.1 points compared to the same time last year. It is the only sector in which customer satisfaction has risen by at least one point.

NPS

NPS, or Net Promoter Score, is a score based on the answer to one question: ‘On a scale of 0-10, how likely or unlikely would you be to recommend the company to friends and family?’ The NPS is worked out by subtracting the proportion of respondents scoring low (0-6), known as ‘detractors’, from the proportion scoring high (9-10), known as ‘promoters’. Those scoring 7-8, known as ‘passives’ are ignored. It is used to gauge the loyalty of customers to a company – a high NPS score means the company has loyal customers.

Despite the overall drop in customer satisfaction, the overall NPS has increased by 7.1 points and is at its highest ever level, 22.4.

This improvement is likely to have been influenced by an increase in the number of organisations whose customer satisfaction is at least 2 points better than the previous year’s UKCSI score (from 28 companies last year, to 38 this year).

The sector with the highest NPS is Retail (non-food) with a score of 43.9, and the lowest scoring sector is Utilities, with an NPS of -4.2.

Problems & Trust

The proportion of customers experiencing a problem, 13.9% is up by 1.2 percentage points compared to January 2018 and is at its highest ever level. However, satisfaction with complaint handling is also at its highest ever level of 5.9 (out of 10). So, although we’re having more problems, we’re being better looked after when we do.

Customers’ trust in organisations has remained stable since July 2016, at 7.7.

Customer Priorities

As of January 2019, consumers’ most important stated priorities are:

  • Product/service reliability
  • Product/service quality
  • Employee competence
  • Employee attitude/helpfulness

Showing that it’s not just the final product we receive that counts towards being satisfied with an organisation, but also the service we receive throughout our buying experience; employee behaviour and attitude – how we are treated – are just as important as the product itself.

New Scorecard

New to this round of the UKCSI is the introduction of a customer satisfaction scorecard, which measures 5 areas reflecting the effectiveness of when customers interact with organisations.

On the whole, organisations are very good at the “business as usual” and our experiences with them score high. Complaints are an important part of our interactions with an organisation, one that can really enhance or damage our satisfaction with them. Companies need to improve (or ideally avoid getting to in the first place) their complaint handling processes if they really want to satisfy all their customers, not just the “right-first-time” ones.

Customers are now telling us that other things matter too – they don’t appreciate lip service, they want to feel truly valued, and they judge organisations on if they do the right thing; either by law, for their employees or the environment. To account for these changing considerations, the new scorecard measures 5 new elements. The 5 dimensions, and their index scores (out of 100), are:

  • Experience (the quality of customers’ experiences and interactions with organisations) – 78.7
  • Complaints (how organisations respond and deal with complaints) – 59.4
  • Customer Ethos – (extent to which customers perceive that organisations genuinely care about customers’ needs) – 77.5
  • Emotional Connection (the extent to which organisations foster feelings of trust and reassurance) – 77.0

Ethics (reputation, openness and the extent to which organisations are deemed to “do the right thing”) – 75.8

Ups & Downs

Insurance is the only sector in which customer satisfaction has risen by at least one point. Two sectors – Service and Transport – have both fallen by more than one point, with satisfaction in the Transport sector falling to 71.8, its lowest since July 2009.

The top 5 organisations ranked by overall UKCSI score are*:

  • First Direct – 86.7
  • John Lewis – 86.5
  • M&S (Bank) – 86.3
  • Next – 85.8
  • Amazon – 85.4

The inclusion of the new scorecard and its 5 dimensions has really shaken up the standings – measuring what matters to customers most should give the truest reflection of customers satisfaction.

* An honourable mention goes to Argos, who had an impressive leap from 46th place up to 8th!