National Customer Satisfaction Index-UK

NCSI-UK News Fourth Quarter 2012

National Customer Satisfaction Index Results: Department Stores, Supermarkets, Electrical Retailers, Petrol Stations, and E-Commerce

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LONDON (March 5, 2013) – The UK’s national customer satisfaction benchmark is 75.4 on a scale of 0-100, according to a report released today by the National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI-UK) and the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The report details customer satisfaction results for supermarkets, department stores, electrical retailers, and internet retail.

The 0.1% rise customer satisfaction for the final quarter of 2012 is the weakest growth of the year, and is only the result of lower petrol prices – which have since reversed course. No other retail categories show improved customer satisfaction, though some individual companies make gains.

“The new NCSI results paint a bleak picture for the short-term economic outlook,” says Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and author of The Satisfied Customer: Winners and Losers in the Battle for Buyer Preference. “There is no mystery about what’s needed for the economy to take off: Higher levels of customer satisfaction and more discretionary income for British households. That’s what would spur demand and foster economic growth. Unfortunately, neither is even on the horizon. Consumers don’t have more money to spend and even if they did, their motivation for doing so is not getting stronger.”

Customer satisfaction with supermarkets has stalled for the past three years at an NCSI benchmark of 75 – the lowest of the retail categories. Waitrose continues to lead at 83 (-1%). Following Waitrose are Wm Morrison (78) and Asda (77). Asda shows the largest decline in customer satisfaction and is currently at its lowest benchmark in four years. Sainsbury’s is unchanged at 75.

The Co-operative Food shows the most improvement, advancing from 68 to 73, and overtaking Tesco. Despite a 1% gain to 71, Tesco replaces The Co-operative for the lowest customer satisfaction score in retail.

The customer satisfaction benchmark for department stores is unchanged at 78, the highest of all traditional retail categories. John Lewis again earns the top position at 83. Marks & Spencer – the only department store to show declining customer satisfaction – slips below the industry average to tie House of Fraser at 77.

Customer satisfaction with electrical retailers is stagnant at 76. Apple Stores make a strong debut in the NCSI, leading the category with a score of 83 and matching John Lewis for the highest customer satisfaction of any brick-and-mortar retailer tracked by NCSI. Well behind Apple, Argos is steady at 78, and maintains a higher level of customer satisfaction than most other electronics stores. With the recent demise of rival Comet, Currys is now alone in last place, scoring 75 for a third consecutive year.

Customer satisfaction with online retail is stable with an NCSI score of 83, well above traditional retailers. It is worth noting, however, that the best-in-class among traditional retailers – John Lewis, Waitrose, and Apple Stores – all match the average customer satisfaction benchmark for internet retail.

Among pure-play online retailers, continues to lead at 87, the highest customer satisfaction benchmark for any company in the NCSI. ties Amazon at 87, perhaps for the last time. Following the UK government’s closure of a VAT loophole, recently announced plans to close its retail business, though may remain as an online marketplace.

Ebay is stable at 81, just below the average of all other e-commerce sites, including websites of traditional retailers (82). Apple’s iTunes dips 2% to 80, after three years of steady improvements.

Following a large drop in customer satisfaction last year, Ticketmaster remains at the bottom of the category, unchanged at 75.