NCSI-UK News Second Quarter 2014
National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI-UK) Results: Limited-Service Restaurants, Full-Service Restaurants and Car Manufacturers
LONDON (September 9, 2014) – Customer satisfaction with restaurants declines this year, according to the latest results of the National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI-UK). Nearly every large restaurant chain shows deteriorating customer satisfaction, and for the first time, customers are more satisfied with quick-service restaurants than full-service restaurants.
Customer satisfaction with limited service restaurants is down 1.3 per cent to an NCSI score of 77, while full-service restaurants fall 2.6 per cent to 76 on a 0-100 scale. Meanwhile, satisfaction with automobiles reaches an all-time high of 81.
Price has always been an advantage for fast food, but improved quality and variety have helped push satisfaction to a higher level than that of sit-down restaurants. For large restaurant chains, a continued reliance on vouchers has come at the expense of “genuine” customer loyalty.
“Customer loyalty can be bought or it can be earned,” says Claes Fornell, American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Chairman and founder. “The latter is usually better for the company in the long run. But rather than focusing on quality and service, many of the major chains are competing on price – which is difficult to do when the competition is fast food. And if quick-service restaurants are providing greater diner satisfaction, there is little left for full-service restaurants to compete on.”
Sandwich shops dominate the category, with Greggs and Subway tied for the lead at 79. Costa Coffee and Starbucks were evenly matched at 76 a year ago, but now move in opposite directions; Costa improves 1 per cent to 77, while Starbucks falls 3 per cent to 74.
Among the largest casual-dining chains, Nando’s slips 1 per cent to 74, equal to Whitbread Group. Tragus loses 3 per cent; matching Gondola Holdings and the Restaurant Group at 73. Only the Restaurant Group improves, up 3 per cent to its highest score to-date.
Yum! Brands’ Pizza Hut and KFC chains are down 3 per cent to at 74, tied with McDonalds, which is unchanged. Though McDonald’s ranks among the lowest-scoring fast food chains in the UK, it still outperforms its US counterpart, which is dead last on the ACSI at a score of 71. At the bottom of the category in the UK, Burger King declines 1 per cent to 71.
According to customers, the quality of restaurant food has deteriorated to levels lower than that of quick-service food, and nearly every element of the dining experience has worsened compared with a year ago. Even the accuracy of orders has dropped to the point where fast food restaurants are now doing a better job of getting orders right. Full-service restaurants do better in terms of cleanliness and layout, but not by much. However, restaurants receive the worst marks for speed of service.
Customer satisfaction with the automotive industry reaches a new record-high, up 1.3 per cent to an NCSI score of 81, as sales continue to boom. Mercedes-Benz, the leader of autos in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, enters the NCSI on top as well with a score of 84. Volkswagen improves the most, up 5 per cent to tie Mercedes at 84, its highest score to-date. Volkswagen’s Audi is close behind at an NCSI score of 82, despite slipping 1 per cent from a year ago.
Toyota maintains a score of 82, above the industry average, while BMW and Nissan each drop 1 per cent to 81. Meanwhile, Ford jumps 3 per cent to 79 in the final stage of a three year £1.5bn investment in its UK operations. Peugeot and Vauxhall are tied at 78, while Renault remains at the bottom of the industry despite a 1 per cent gain to 76.
About NCSI-UK (www.ncsiuk.com)
The National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI-UK) is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United Kingdom, and is produced by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Results are based on survey data from more than 6,000 customers collected via online panel during Q2 of 2014.
This methodology was developed at the University of Michigan and has been adopted worldwide as a leading macro- and micro-level indicator by universities, governments, and countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Singapore, Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and Barbados.
According to research from the University of Michigan, customer satisfaction – as measured by the NCSI-UK and ACSI is directly linked to stock market performance.