NPS reveals UK's most recommended brands
Among the brands most recommended by consumers in the UK are First Direct, Samsung, Saga, Tesco Mobile, Churchill and Apple, according the '2011 European Net Promoter Benchmarks Report' from Satmetrix.
Based on independent research by Satmetrix, co-developer of the Net Promoter Score (NPS), the report charts customer experience rankings for banking, car and home insurance, internet service, mobile phone carriers, mobile phone handsets, computer hardware, televisions, and utilities throughout the UK, France and Germany.
"Now in its second year, the benchmark report highlights that many companies have retained their number one spot, and in many cases have widened the gap between themselves and the worst performers," noted Robert Salvoni, managing director for Satmetrix International. "But it's high time the board room realised that a company's ability to deliver a superior customer experience relative to its peers is a crucial indicator of customer retention and new customer acquisition through positive word of mouth."
Salvoni asserts that, in a world in which consumers are encouraged to switch suppliers at the click of a mouse, and in which personal recommendations have become the most trusted source of information, focusing on providing a customer experience that drives positive conversations has become business critical.
The study encompasses NPS rankings and underlying drivers for nine industry sectors, as follows:
- Banking First Direct retained its crown in the banking sector having also led the 2010 benchmark. Once again it was the clear winner ahead of eight other banks in the study: Barclays, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Nationwide, NatWest, RBS and Santander. First Direct's NPS of 61% was a remarkable 19-point improvement on last year and 61 points ahead of the sector average which hovered at 0% (meaning that the average UK bank has as many detractors as it does promoters). It was a massive 95 points clear of the sector laggard, Santander, which earned an NPS of only -34%, on the back of re-branding following acquisitions of Alliance & Leicester and Abbey.
- Utilities New to the benchmark this year, companies providing electricity services in the utilities sector were characterised by low scores, reflecting weak customer engagement and recommendability for the sector. The average score was -35%, lowering the bar considerably for competitors. The best performing provider was Scottish and Southern energy at -19%, 36 points ahead of nPower which came in last place at -55%. Other energy providers included within the survey were British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, and Scottish Power.
- Car Insurance Saga kept pole position in the car insurance customer experience stakes ahead of competition from sister company AA, Admiral, Aviva, AXA, Churchill, Direct Line, Swinton, Swiftcover, Tesco and Zurich. Saga outperformed the industry average of -6% by 20 points with a NPS of 14%, similar to its winning score last year of 17%. However, it was in a statistical dead heat with AXA's online division, Swiftcover, which was new to the benchmark this year.
- Home and Contents Insurance Churchill was the top dog when it came to home and contents insurers across the UK. However, overall scores in this newly added sector averaged -20%, indicating significant room for improved engagement and customer experience. Churchill's winning score was only -8% with the worst performing brand scoring -38%. Other brands that were included were: Aviva, AXA, Direct Line, MORE TH>N, Swinton and Zurich.
- Internet Service Providers Sky and Virgin Media continued to jockey for position at the head of the ISP sector, coming in with nearly identical scores again this year: Sky at 14% and Virgin Media at 13%. These brands led competition from: AOL (run by Talk Talk), BT, Orange, and the Talk Talk brand. Although comparatively lower than other industries, a score of 14% was 20 points higher than the sector average of -6% and 44 points ahead of the brand delivering the worst customer experience.
- Mobile Phone Carriers In the extremely competitive mobile telecoms market, Tesco Mobile stole the top position with its addition to the benchmark this year, displacing its joint venture partner and last year's leader, 02. Tesco Mobile had an NPS of 28%, 20 points ahead of the sector average of 8% and 36 points ahead of last place in a field that also included: 3 Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, and sister-brands Orange and T-Mobile which came together in July 2010 as a joint venture of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom to strengthen market positions in the UK.
- Mobile Phone Handsets The Apple iPhone won the best customer experience by a landslide in the handset and smart phone category. Despite its issues with the iPhone 4 at launch, Apple's army of fans scored them even higher this year at 69%, up from 67% in 2010. Other handset manufacturers included in the study were: LG, Motorola, Nokia, RIM/Blackberry, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. Apple's score of 69% was 74 points ahead of last place and 50 points ahead of the industry average.
- Computer Hardware Apple had the highest score relative to competitors Acer, Dell, HP, Sony and Toshiba in the computer hardware sector at 69%, more than double the industry average of 27% and 58 NPS points above the lowest score of 11%.
- Televisions Samsung replaced Sony in top position for 2011 among TV manufacturers, and also beat competition from LG, Panasonic, Philips and Toshiba. Samsung scored an NPS of 35%, but in a sector where all major providers garnered positive Net Promoter Scores, with an average of 23%.
Each company's Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is based on its customers' likelihood to recommend the company's product or service. NPS is calculated as the percentage of customers who are 'Promoters' (rating the company 9 or 10 on a zero-to-ten point scale), less the percentage who are 'Detractors' (rating 6 or lower). The full benchmark reports are available to purchase directly from the Net Promoter web site - click here.