Customer Insight

Created and published in house by TLF Research. Customer Insight magazine is our way of sharing features, case studies and latest thinking on creating an outstanding customer experience. All designed to inform, stimulate debate and sometimes to provoke. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy creating it!

July 18 UKCSI

By Sarah Stainthorpe, Client Manager, TLF Research

The UKCSI, from the Institute of Customer Service (ICS), is the benchmark measure of customer satisfaction across 13 sectors of the UK economy. For over a decade it has provided us with a biannual snapshot of how UK consumers are feeling, and allowed us to understand the impact of recession, reputational damage, and the individual winners and losers in terms of customer experience in each sector. As the ICS put it “The UK Customer Satisfaction Index gives a unique insight into the quality of customer service in your sector. So you can see who’s leading the pack, and how you measure up.”

Latest Headline Results

The second UKCSI report for 2018 was released at the beginning of July. As ever there’s a lot of detail to dig into, and we’ve pulled together some of the highlights. The full Executive Report, published by ICS, is available to download free on their website.

For more detail, including scores for all named organisations, it’s also possible to purchase in-depth reports on each sector.

Overall Satisfaction

The overall customer satisfaction score is 77.9 (out of 100), this is 0.3 points lower than this time last year and the first time since January 2015 that two consecutive UKCSI scores have shown a decline in overall satisfaction.

Amazon, a consistently excellent performer, is the highest rated organisation, with a score of 86.7. Jaguar is the most improved from July 2017, with a score increase of 6.8 points to 81.6.


Figure 1: Overall UKCSI trend


Satisfaction by Sector

In line with the slight overall drop in score, most sectors have suffered a slight fall in customer satisfaction, the biggest exception being the financial sectors which have both increased their scores, with Banks & Building Societies achieving their highest score ever. Transport has seen the biggest drop in satisfaction, meaning it is now the lowest scoring sector and at its lowest point since January 2015.


Figure 2: Change in UKCSI by sector, July 2017 - July 2018


Satisfaction by Region

Customer satisfaction has decreased in every country and region of the UK since this time last year. The North of England has the highest average satisfaction score of 78.9 and Scotland has the lowest with 76.9:


Figure 3: Satisfaction by Region, July 2018


Key Differentiators

What makes the biggest difference between the top performing companies and the rest? The top five show the importance of service and being seen to care for customers…


Top 10 Companies

Remaining Companies

Speed of responses (text/webchat/social media)






Cares about their customers



Helpfulness/competence of staff



Ease of getting through (phone)




The top 10 companies also scored highly on ‘% of getting things right first time’ (88.2% compared to remaining organisations score of 79.4%) and complaint handling (7.1 compared to remaining organisations 5.7).

What does UKCSI mean?

The UKCSI continues to show the importance of customer experience, and the strength of the links between customer satisfaction, loyalty, and market performance. Organisations which consistently outperform their sector show stronger growth and sales, as well as improved levels of trust and reputation.

UKCSI should be seen as the best indicator of how good a job UK companies are doing of meeting their customers’ needs. If the slight dip we’ve seen over the last two waves continues then we can expect to see a serious impact on the performance of those organisations who are letting their customers down. As ever, though, some organisations and even some sectors are able to buck the trend, and will reap the rewards of their investment in the customer.

The UKCSI methodology

Twice a year TLF Panel, on behalf of ICS, conducts an online survey of its nationally-representative panel of UK consumers. Panellists are asked to rate their experiences of a particular organisation they have dealt with in the previous 3 months with the UKCSI score for each company being the average of its customers’ satisfaction scores, and the score for each sector being the average of all customers within that sector. The results for July 2018 are based on 45,000 responses in total, 3,000 from each sector except for Transport and Utilities which are based on 6,000 responses each.

The questionnaire, scored by customers on a 1-10 scale, covers professionalism, quality and efficiency, ease of doing business, timeliness, problem solving and complaint handling as well as attitudes towards trust and reputation. The questions are based on research into customers’ priorities which has been periodically updated since the launch of UKCSI.


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