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UK customer experience 'lacklustre', KPMG warns

Nov 14
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UK customer experience 'lacklustre', KPMG warns

Improving overall standards of customer experience is one area where management consultants could make a big contribution to many UK businesses, research has indicated.

According to the latest analysis by KPMG Nunwood, there has been scant evidence of improvement in customer experience over the last year.

'Average' performance

The firm's 2018 Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) analysis looked at 315 UK brands and gave them a score based on their performance in relation to the 'six pillars of customer experience': personalisation, integrity, time and effort, expectations, resolution and empathy.

Of all the companies analysed, 224 (or seven out of ten) had a CEE score of between 6.5 and 7.5, which is considered average.

There were some notable exceptions, such as the retail bank first direct, which topped the overall ranking with a score of 8.21. Metro Bank (8.09) and cosmetics retailer Lush (8.02) appeared in second and third places respectively.

The overall CEE score for the UK as a whole was 7.13, only a marginal increase from the preceding year's figure of 7.08 and below the previous five-year average of 7.22.

Focusing on specific trends, KPMG found that consumers did feel brands had made a small improvement in meeting their expectations and building stronger relationships with them.

However, there was little progress in areas such as personalisation, perceptions of brand integrity and minimising the level of effort customers have to put in by providing more frictionless interactions.

Other key findings showed that while retail remained the leading sector in this year's analysis, firms from the financial services industry claimed three of the top five spots in the final ranking.

The need for customer insight

While many British brands are placing a lot of emphasis on customer experience, the research findings suggest that a lot of this effort is yet to deliver any clear results.

David Conway, director at KPMG Nunwood, said the brands that are bucking the wider trend in this year's analysis and improving customer experience are united by their focus on customer insights.

"Improving customer experience is about far more than investment alone," he continued.

"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 behavioural signals that firms have access to. Decisions on improving customer experience need to be based on facts, not intuition."

A report published by KPMG earlier this year underlined the business importance of customer experience by highlighting its link to revenue.

After surveying nearly 55,000 consumers across 14 markets to identify which brands rank highest for customer experience excellence, the firm found that companies performing particularly well in this area achieve 54 per cent higher revenue growth.

Mr Conway noted that businesses acquiring the most knowledge about their customers and putting those insights to good use are outperforming their less-informed competitors.

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Image: Rawpixel via iStock

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