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John Lewis comes top in Customer Satisfaction Awards

John Lewis & Partners won four awards at the GlobalData Customer Satisfaction Awards 2019, including the Best Retailer category, having been runner up for the past four years.

The decision to invest in its own-brand and exclusives has paid-off for the department store as it takes home awards including Best Electricals Retailer and Best Homewares Retailer.

Patrick O’Brien, UK retail research director at GlobalData Retail, said: “While its department stores peers have struggled, John Lewis’s brave store investment strategy has paid off, creating highly enjoyable places to shop. Its high standards of service across stores and online, together with its continuing commitment to price matching, clearly resonates with shoppers.”

Online pureplays Amazon and AO had stopped John Lewis & Partners from winning Best Electricals Retailer for the past two years, but the department store finally pipped them to the post in 2019.

John Lewis & Partners investment in range and service in its home and electricals categories, combined with its online offer, is paying off as its customers enjoy exclusive products and strong service levels.

The athleisure trend also shows no sign in slowing down, with Adidas and Nike winning Best Clothing Retailer and Best Footwear Retailer respectively. It highlights that brands are successfully cutting out the middleman and engaging directly with their customers.

Maureen Hinton, global research director at GlobalData Retail, said: “The ability of sportswear brands to win the highest level of customer satisfaction is down to their complete understanding of their customers; their capacity to connect with them; and to create products and experiences that fit current consumer trends and how they want to shop now.”

The sportswear market is forecast to grow 20.9 per cent over the next five years, and investment by brands such as Nike and Adidas are an integral part of this market’s success.

These brands that sell directly to consumers and through popular retailers such as JD Sports are in tune with their customers’ demands, ensuring that online and instore environments are tailored to their needs as well as including engaging content. This has ensured that Adidas has won Best Clothing retailer 2019 and Nike has won Best footwear Retailer 2019.

There was polarisation in the Best Food & Grocery Retailer award with winner Aldi, triumphing with its focus on price while Waitrose & Partners with its premium focus coming in third.

Historically, value-focused food retailers have performed well in these awards but the inclusion of Waitrose & Partners highlights that when high quality food is done well, consumers are willing to make the investment. Waitrose has also devoted time to sustainability with this being well received by its customers as the premium grocer aims to eliminate all unnecessary plastic from its stores and make all its own-brand packaging either reusable or widely recyclable.

The awards were based on consumer research conducted by GlobalData. 

Amazon still number one for customer satisfaction

Amazon has retained the top spot in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), published by The Institute of Customer Service.

With a customer satisfaction score of 86.7 points (out of 100) this is the sixth consecutive time consumers have rated Amazon number one.

Eight non-food retailers make up this year’s top 20, and the retail sector performed better than any other boasting an average score of 82.2, against a backdrop of challenges that continue apace for High Street brands.

The food retail sector performed best after non-food retail with an average score of 81.2. Iceland took the top spot for the first time, whilst also claiming the title of most improved supermarket, having climbed 26 places in the rankings in just six months.

Four financial institutions made the top 10 organisations, with Yorkshire Bank scoring highest, followed by First Direct and Nationwide. The banking sector overall performed better than ever before, reaching a score of 80.4 and exceeding the UK all sector average score of 77.9.

The Institute warns that “survival of the fittest will be driven by how well customers are served”. After a steady increase in the first five years of the last decade, the latest UKCSI shows levels of UK customer satisfaction across all brands peaked in 2012/13 and have largely plateaued since.

The UKCSI is the national measure of UK customer satisfaction. It rates customer satisfaction at a national, sector and organisational level across 13 sectors – incorporating the views of 10,000 consumers. More than 30 different customer measures are surveyed – such as staff professionalism, the quality and efficiency of the service, trust and transparency scores, the actual customer experience and complaint handling – are factored into the results. It is published twice a year, in January and July.

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute for Customer Service said: “The stagnation in customer service levels should be of concern for the UK economy. This comes at a time when, just nine months from Brexit, we need more than ever before to show that Britain is a great place to do business with and in.

“Alongside tangible financial measures, trust, reputation and recommendation are crucial benefits of a deliberate and consistent focus on achieving high levels of customer satisfaction. The UKCSI shows that customers who give the highest ratings for customer satisfaction – express strong levels of loyalty, which brands will need in difficult and unpredictable market conditions.”

This UKCSI’s top organisations are rated favourably for measures of customer effort, trust, ease of contact, employee helpfulness and competence, speed of response, getting things right first time and complaint handling.

The top 50 rated organisations in July 2018’s UKCSI are:

1. Amazon.co.uk

2. John Lewis Retail

3. = Next Retail, Yorkshire Bank

5. = first direct, Nationwide Building Society

7. Tesco Mobile

8. = M&S Bank, Wilko Retail

10. Iceland

11. Netflix

12. Specsavers

13. Pets at Home

14. = Greggs, Superdrug

16. = Argos, Trivago, Waitrose Retail

19. Nationwide Insurance

20. = Green Flag Services, Jet2holidays.com

22. Aviva

23. = Aldi, M&S (food)

25. = Jet2. LV=

27. Halfords autocentre

28. = eBay, Premier Inn

30. SAGA Insurance

31. Santander

32. M&S

33. = Holland & Barrett, Honda, Kia

36. Caffe Nero

37. = Brittany Ferries, Jaguar

39. = Apple, booking.com, Co-op Insurance, Mini, TSB

44. = giffgaff, More Than, Primark

47. Halifax

48. = Lidl, Subway, Toby Carvery