Recent reports confirm the UK is slipping into customer experience mediocrity


Share on LinkedIn

237DC2F9-D401-4A7D-AAAD-3E42876EC44BCustomer Experience improvements have stalled. This was confirmed by recent study findings issued by both KPMG Nunwood and Forrester.

The Forrester report confirms that not only has there been 0 improvement to overall customer experience in the UK but the number of brands in the excellent CX category has fallen to nil. Even ‘Elite’ brands (i.e. the top 5% in Forrester’s CX rankings) have shown no improvement so there are no organisations to provide best practice to customer experience laggards.

KPMG’s report comments that customer experience in the UK is worse than ever recorded in its 8 year CX study. KPMG Nunwood narrative suggests that a handful of companies do recognise the value of customer experience as a source of revenue and profit growth and as individual companies have seen some improvement. However, only a meagre 8% of brands recorded an improvement in their Customer Experience score vs. last year.

Is Average Customer Experience the new UK Norm?
The KMPG Nunwood study highlighted that in 2017 customer experience norm moved to mediocrity. There has been a huge increase in companies scoring below 6.5 (average) year on year. The Companies are becoming more ‘average’ i.e. Those who have a CX excellence score between 6.5 and 7.5.

The Forrester report reiterates the trend recognized by KPMG Nunwood: 31% of companies in the UK are delivering a ‘good’ experience and 69% delivering an ‘okay’ one. There is a mass of brands who are delivering neither a poor or a great experience to customers.

Not only that, according to KMPG Nunwood, there were 33 poor performers (i.e. scored below average) in 2017 vs. 10 in 2016. The UK consumer in 2017 on average is 3 times more likely to have a poor experience than in 2016.

Challenges apply in all industry sectors
Even the highest-ranking Grocery Retail has seen its overall Customer Experience Excellence score decline by 3% year on year. No one sector has bucked the trend and seen any improvement since 2016.

Travel & Hotels, Utilities, Logistics, Telecomm’s and Public Sector are the worst offending sectors which languish at the bottom half of the league table bringing down the overall UK figures. The Logistics sector fell by 6% and Travel & Hotels, Utilities and Public Sector all dropped by 5%. Public Sector is now 12% lower than the overall UK average. The gap is getting greater.

Where are the silver linings?
Whilst even leading companies are struggling to stand still, some companies have made improvements over time. 12 of the top KPMG Nunwood Customer Experience Excellence 100 have moved up more than 50 places in the ranking since 2013 and 8 have moved up more than 100 places. So, it’s not all doom and gloom. It is possible to make huge strides in a relatively short period of time.

First Direct and Lush who have led the way for some time have finally been overtaken. There is a new number 1 in the KPMG Nunwood ratings – QVC. “QVC is a great example of a business that understands its customer, understands the psychology of its customer and has organised itself in a way that delivers exactly what that customer needs in a way the customer wants it,” said KPMG’s David Conway. QVC nails what customers really want in a way that lines up with their leadership vision and that their people can deliver consistently at every level.

Others amongst the biggest movers in the rating include: Churchill, Netflix, First Choice, Standard Life, Prudential and Burton. This doesn’t mean to say that they contradict this overall picture and are all high performers – but they are improving and moving up places in the KPMG Nunwood rankings. They are clearly driving effective change within their organisations compared to peers.

Matching aspirations with capability
Our belief is that the companies that align the needs and dreams of the customer with the culture and capability will be the most successful – and that the need to is becoming ever more critical. Armed only with transactional feedback, quick fixes of the most frequently reported pain points will not instantly transform an organisation to one with a single-minded focus on the customer; nor one which delivers an intentional customer experience that customers will value.

The brutal truth is that a laissez faire attitude to customer experience is no longer an option, nor is a reactive approach. To be a customer leader, we believe there are a number of principles that an organisation needs to apply to establish the foundations of customer experience excellence.


A short-termist approach of ‘fixing’ what may not be working, but isn’t necessarily of value to the customer, of ignoring the customer’s emotional experience and of keeping responsibility for the customer confined to a small number of people within the organisation means we may not see the current disappointing situation change for some time.

There is a real and present risk to this movement towards greater customer centricity and ultimately better experiences for our customers.

Do you want to be part of the mediocre majority? Or be that company that is in touch with the emotions of its customers and rises above the average and takes a lead.

Sourced from Marketing Week, KPMG Nunwood, Forrester
Image via Pixabay
CX Excellence Principles copyright of Customer Alignment Ltd.

Amanda Davis

Amanda writes and shares Thought Leadership, drawing on her 15 years of coaching, guiding, mentoring and consulting for clients in various sectors and sizes around the world. She helps establish organisations understand how to connect to customers; find ways to align their expectations with the culture & capability of the organisation. She has a particular focus on customer experience transformation in the digital age, ensuring that technology development starts and finishes with the customer. Amanda has been a regular featured columnist and advisor for Customer Think since 2018.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here