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Study: Rising satisfaction in UK T&M sector

February 10, 2020

There was good news for the telecommunications & media sector in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKSI). Although the average customer satisfaction (CSAT) score across all sectors dropped by 0.8 points YoY to 76.9 points, the T&M sector saw an average rise of 0.4 points – the only sector to see an increase.

The media industry is split between two categories: T&M and Leisure, with integrated telecoms and media businesses included in the former and standalone media industry companies in the latter.

The top performing T&M company was the MVNO GiffGaff, which climbed 2.1 points to a CSAT of 82.8, making it the 14th best UK organisation for customer satisfaction. In 15th place overall was Netflix, the highest placed standalone media sector company and the second-placed company in the Leisure category, which achieve a score of 82.7, down 2.4 points on last year.

The other two media sector companies that made the top 50 were 31st placed Odeon Cinemas, which achieved 81.2, an increase of 1.8 points on its previous year’s score, and Spotify Leisure which scored 80.4, a drop of 0.8 points since last year, making it joint 45th.

Although no firms in the Leisure category were amongst the top 20 most improved, five of the 14 telecoms companies (36 per cent) in the study improved by 2 points or more and four firms made it into the ‘most improved’ category:

  • Sky Mobile gave a stonking performance – raising its score from 73.7 in January 2019 to 78.7 – a huge 5.0 point improvement
  • EE (including T-Mobile and Orange) improved its score from 73.3 to 76.8 – up by a very respectable 3.5 points. The mobile firm is obviously having a positive effect on its parent BT, which also raised its score, from 67.9 to 70.9 (up 3.0)
  • The Utility Warehouse improved its score from 74.0 to 77.1 up 3.1

In terms of meeting customer expectations – which drives CSAT scores – the study found that only 2.9 per cent of customers in the Leisure sector couldn’t use their preferred channel, which compares favourably with T&M sector firms (7.1 per cent) and utilities (7.7 per cent).

More than a quarter of customers (25.8 per cent) in the Leisure sector also said they’d happily pay more for excellent service, compared to 15.2 per cent who said they just wanted a ‘no-frills’ offering. However, the Institute of Customer Service says that this represents a drop of more than 2 points of customers willing to pay for a premium service compared to July 2017.

“Excellent customer service matters because it delivers better financial results, helps improve productivity and creates trust,” notes Joanna Causon, Chief Executive of the Institute of Customer Service. “Our research shows that organisations who consistently outperform their sector’s average customer satisfaction have achieved higher revenue growth, EBITDA and revenue per employee than others.”

“With differentiation and retention now firmly related to better customer experiences, rather than simply prices or products, it’s very important to focus on how firms are doing compared to peers within their own sector, but also to firms operating in other sectors,” advises Teresa Cottam, Chief Analyst at industry analyst firm Omnisperience. “Excellent experience provided in the retail sector, in particular, is increasingly raising the bar and driving up customer expectations across all sectors.”

The UKSI surveyed 45,000 UK customers, with more than 3,000 responses by sector. Telecoms and media companies that were studied include: BT/EE, Cineworld, GiffGaff, Netflix, NOW TV (studied for the first time), O2, Odeon Cinemas, Plusnet, Sky, Sky Mobile, Spotify, TalkTalk, Tesco Mobile, Three, TicketMaster, Utility Warehouse, Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone and Vue Cinema.

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