The Customer Experience Top 100 compiled by Nunwood, a customer experience management business, is based on an online survey asking some 7,500 consumers about their customer service experiences in the past six months. Brands are then rated to create the CEE Metric, a weighted average of the six 'pillars' of experience excellence: personalisation, time and effort, expectations, integrity, resolution and empathy.
The results saw Amazon drop from first to fourth place while Starbucks did not feature at all. Both companies have received adverse publicity regarding their tax arrangements.
"No matter how good you are at managing your day-to-day operations, you also need to manage reputational risk because that plays a big part in people's mindsets and how they feel about you as a brand," Nunwood director David Conway told Marketing Week.
That extended to the financial sector where the Cooperative Bank dropped off the list having been in the top ten last year. Conway attributed this to the bank's enforced rescue after it announced a £1.5bn hole in its balance sheet.
He also observed a shift from bigger financial institutions to "smaller, more niche operations that people felt would be more trustworthy". He pointed to M&S Money, at number 23 in the list, as an example. "People trust the [retail] M&S brand more than they trust the big high street banks," he said.
Overall, British brands took nine of the top ten spots, with John Lewis being followed, in order, by the QVC shopping channel, First Direct bank, Virgin Atlantic airline, M&S Food, Lush beauty brand, grocery retailer Ocado, Marks & Spencer stores and grocery retailer Waitrose.
The presence of Amazon, QVC and First Direct in the top ten showed that a lack of face-to-face contact was no barrier to delivering a good customer experience. Conway described Amazon as the "benchmark of online service" which consumers now expected everywhere.
The fastest-rising brand was Butlins, the holiday park firm, which leapt from 165th spot to 14th position, helped by a change in internal culture and an upmarket repositioning
Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff