The first UK version of the respected American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has put ecommerce at the top of the retail tree for overall customer satisfaction.
The UK National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI-UK)
for the retail sector has debuted with an overall score of 74.8 for the fourth quarter of 2008, on a 0-100 point index scale, close to the US retail average of 75.2 reported for the same period.
Of the five retail categories measured, ecommerce easily outpaced an otherwise close running race in terms of competing retailers. "This indicates that further investment in the online channel could provide retailers opportunities to drive sales growth through a more satisfying shopping experience," says CFI Group
The findings were gathered from nearly 6,000 customers' experience with retailers and covered the 24 largest supermarkets, petrol stations, electrical retailers, department stores and ecommerce sites, with others reported in the 'All Other' category. Petrol stations have only been measured at an industry level due to sample size.
The Index examines not only customer satisfaction but also customers' expectations, perceived quality, perceived value, customer complaints and loyalty as well as other measures related to satisfaction such as corporate social responsibility. The ACSI is used in the US as a prime indicator of corporate performance and economic strength, but this is the first time the methodology has been applied to the UK retail market.
The NCSI-UK measures only the largest pure internet companies by name, while the online business of smaller Internet companies and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers is included in the aggregate score for "other providers".
Key findings included:
- Aggregate customer satisfaction with UK retail is 74.8 on a 0-100 point scale.
- Ecommerce came a clear top with a score of 82, followed by department stores at 76, and petrol stations at 75; electrical retailers and supermarkets are at the bottom with a score of 74.
- Top and bottom scorer across all categories: Play.com comes top of the class with a score of 87, while at the other end of the scale is Somerfield at 61.
- Both the quality and value of the online shopping experience are rated superior and consumers who have purchased merchandise online are highly loyal to this channel.
NCSI-UK scores for E-Commerce
Elsewhere, John Lewis topped the department store category with 80 and Waitrose topped the supermarket section with a score of 82.
"As the economy slows, the big challenge for retailers of all types will be how to compete to retain shoppers who are becoming increasingly conservative with their spending," commented Sheri Teodoru, CEO of CFI Group . "Here customer satisfaction is key: Companies that provide the most satisfying experience stand the best chance not only to survive, but to thrive financially in a down economy."
Full details and scores are available from the NCSI-UK website