Top 10 companies for customer service: First Direct and John Lewis slip down as Pets at Home takes the crown and Skoda and Timpson blast up the ranks
- Pets at Home has been crowned the best business for customer service
- First Direct and the John Lewis Partnership have slipped in the rankings
- Total number of customer complaints has reached highest on record
- Received dismal customer service? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
First Direct has lost its crown as the company with the best customer service levels in the country, fresh data has revealed.
Pets at Home has pipped First Direct to the post and been hailed as the top business when it comes to satisfying customers, the Institute of Customer Service said.
The pets retailer has surged from seventh place to first place in the ICS’s latest rankings, while the John Lewis Partnership has been pushed down from second to seventh place.
Top 10: The top 10 best companies for customer service, according to the ICS
Saga Insurance has climbed from 27th place to take third place in the latest customer service league table, while Timpson has jumped from 127th to fifth place.
The 10 companies topping the index for customer service represent a wider range of sectors than ever before, breaking the traditional retail stronghold, and there is an increased presence among the top 50 from financial services and automotive brands.
The ICS said: ‘The gap in customer satisfaction between the top 50 organisations and other organisations in the ICS is widest for complaint handling, speed of service and providing reassurance.’
While the likes of Pets at Home and First Direct have fared well when it comes to customer satisfaction, today’s data also reveals that the number of customers complaining about shoddy service has reached its highest ever level over the past year.
The survey found 13 per cent of people had made a complaint in the past year, up from the 11 per cent figure reported six months ago.
First place: Pets at Home has been crowned as the best firm for customer service this month
The ICS, which has run the index since 2008, attributes this spike to the impact of Covid-19 on product availability and reliability.
Many companies have also trimmed down their telephone customer service helplines, leaving customers to deal with online ‘chat’ services or email systems with lengthy response times.
Out of around 10,000 people surveyed, the ICS found 16 per cent of people had experienced problems with a brand’s service in the past six months.
Thirty-four per cent of customers said they would be willing to pay more for better service, marking the highest proportion ever recorded.
Jo Causon, chief executive at the ICS, said: ‘The latest UKCSI results demonstrate the complexities of the current environment, with relationships between brands and customers becoming increasingly challenging.
‘There is no easy remedy for rising prices and shortages of goods, so we must all become better at dealing with delays and disappointments. Although satisfaction with complaint handling and overall satisfaction has improved, we need to address wider service chain issues if we are to improve the nation’s performance and productivity.’
She added: ‘More customers than ever before are willing to pay a premium for quality service.
‘This suggests there is an opportunity to invest in delivering the real value that customers expect and deserve.
‘Those that have made our top 10 make it easy to contact the right person, and build trust that they truly care about their customers.
‘Against the backdrop of a challenging economy, a strong service offering is an increasingly important battleground for brands to differentiate themselves and drive stronger financial performance.’
Slipping: The John Lewis Partnership has fallen from second to seventh place in the rankings