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UK customer experience remains lackluster, a KPMG Nunwood report finds

UK customer experience remains lackluster

Latest analysis by KPMG Nunwood has found that customer experience in the UK has shown little sign of improvement in the last year.


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Customer experience (CX) in the UK has shown little sign of improvement in the last year, according to the latest analysis by KPMG Nunwood. However, whilst consumers generally felt their experiences with British brands were ‘average’ overall1, challenger banks first direct and Metro Bank, along with cosmetic retailer Lush, were among the businesses bucking the overall trend, ranking first, second and third respectively.

2018 UK Top-10 Brands by CEE score: 

 Ranking  Brand   Movement (position in ranking vs. 2017)   2018 CEE Score* 
1 first direct +2 8.21
2 Metro bank NEW 8.09
3 Lush +2 8.02
4 John Lewis Finance -2 7.96
5 John Lewis -1 7.95
6 Ocado +2 7.88
7 Boden +38 7.84
8 M&S +1 7.83
9 M&S Food +5 7.83
10 Emirates -4 7.82


Now in its ninth year, the latest Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) report – Ignite growth: Connecting insight to action – revealed only a minute uptick in the UK’s overall CEE score2, moving from 7.08 to 7.13, but remaining below the previous 5-year average of 7.22.

Graph to show Customer Experience Excellence Score since 2012

A closer look at KPMG Nunwood’s Six Pillars of Customer Experience3 revealed that unlike last year, consumers did feel that brands were getting marginally better at meeting expectations and building better relationships with them. However, there was little movement in terms of personalisation, perceptions of brand integrity, or of minimising a customer’s effort by creating more frictionless interactions.

Commenting on the findings, the report’s author David Conway, Director at KPMG Nunwood, said:

“Many British brands have focused intensely on customer experience, but it would appear that the majority of their efforts have yet to be recognised. Of the brands that are bucking the overall trend in this year’s analysis, one key commonality stands out: these businesses are customer insight driven.

“Improving customer experience is about far more than investment alone. Customer insight must be fully embedded into business strategy. That increasingly requires looking beyond mere surveys and focus groups, and instead fully utilising the breadth of digital, social, operational, financial and behavioral signals that firms have access to. Decisions on improving customer experience need to be based on facts, not intuition."

While retail (especially grocery) remained the leading sector in this year’s analysis, financial services firms secured three of the top-five places in the rankings.

Jon Holt, Head of Financial Services at KPMG adds,

“Whilst pretty much all firms still have a way to go when it comes to customer experience, it’s promising to see two banks take the top spots. Banks and wider financial services providers are waking up to the fact that consumers want hyper personalisation and convenience. People want a car, a house, a holiday, not a savings account or an insurance policy. Financial services as a whole has to adjust to a world where the end customer is front and centre of their products, distribution channels and business models. Customers want instant, digital services and they know the value of their custom.”


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Simon Wilson, KPMG Corporate Communications

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1)  Of the 315 UK brands included in KPMG Nunwood’s 2018 UK Customer Experience Excellence analysis this year, 71% (224 brands) scored a CEE score** of between 6.5 – 7.5, which is deemed average.

2)  KPMG Nunwood’s Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) score is a weighted average of each brand’s score, as mapped against The Six Pillars that drive brand advocacy and loyalty (Personalisation, Time and Effort, Resolution, Integrity, Expectations, Empathy).

3)  KPMG Nunwood – The Six Pillars of Customer Experience comprise of the following:

Personalisation – Brands using individualised attention to drive an emotional connection 

Integrity – Brands being trustworthy and engendering trust

Expectations – Managing, meeting and exceeding customer expectations 

Resolution – Turning a poor experience into a great one 

Time & Effort – Minimising customer effort and creating frictionless processes 

Empathy – Achieving an understanding of the customer’s circumstances to drive a deep rapport

Notes to editors:

KPMG Nunwood 2018 Customer Experience Excellence, sector-by-sector performance: 

 Ranking   UK Sector   2017 CEE score   2018 CEE score
1 Grocery Retail 7.37 7.42
2 Non-Grocery Retail 7.32 7.36
3 Financial Services 7.26 7.30
4 Restaurants and Fast Food 7.17 7.17
5 Entertainment and Lesiure 6.95 7.13
6 Telecoms 6.79 7.00
7 Travel and Hotels 6.87 6.89
9 Logistics 6.59 6.67
10 Public Sector 6.24 6.24


Methodology of the KPMG Nunwood 2018 UK Customer Experience Excellence Centre (CEEC) analysis: KPMG Nunwood surveyed over 10,000 consumers in July and August 2018 on various aspects relating to customer experience. Brands are ranked in order according to their CEE score. The CEE score is derived via a weighted average of the brand’s score for each of The Six Pillars. This weighting is calculated by the relative importance of each pillar in driving two commercial outcomes KPMG Nunwood measures in the analysis: advocacy and loyalty.

About KPMG Nunwood: KPMG Nunwood provides full-service customer insights, journey mapping and leadership strategy, helping clients create real business results.

KPMG Nunwood’s Customer Experience Excellence Centre (CEEC) is one of the largest international studies of customer experience best practice. It focusses on researching, analysis and applying customer experience best practice from around the world.

 Further reading: 

• In June 2018, KPMG highlighted that the quality of customer experience is directly linked to revenue growth, with brands delivering best customer experience achieving 54% higher revenue growth. More information can be found here.

• Last year’s KPMG Nunwood UK Customer Experience Excellence report – The Connected Experience Imperative – can be found here.

About KPMG in the UK

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