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Tapping US customer experiences

News, 03 April 2015

NEW YORK/LONDON: American consumers experience significantly better customer service than their British counterparts, according to a new survey of top-performing US brands.

Nunwood, a British customer experience management consultancy, sought to identify the top 100 US brands by the customer experience they provide but also wanted to see what UK brands could learn from best practice across the pond.

Based on 7,500 individual responses from US consumers, covering 225 brands, the research used six key measures to generate a customer experience score.

These measures – personalisation, integrity, time and effort, expectations, resolutions and empathy – were then combined with actual reviews from customers, rather than just their brand perceptions, as well as advocacy and loyalty.

USAA, the Texas-based financial services group, emerged as the top brand in America for providing "outstanding" customer experience while other well-known names also made Nunwood's top ten.

Publix, the employee-owned supermarket chain, was ranked second, followed by online retailer Amazon, fast food chain Chick-fil-A and, in fifth place, Disney Parks.

Rounding out the top ten were Edward Jones, the financial services firm, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Wegmans Food Markets, Costco Wholesale, the warehouse club chain, and Southwest Airlines.

Having accumulated the evidence, the report concluded that six of these top brands performed better than the UK leader, First Direct, the internet-based retail bank.

Furthermore, it said consumers were ten times more likely to deal with an "outstanding" company in the US than in the UK.

Overall, US brands were judged to be 5% better on average than brands in the UK and this was because "US CEOs appear to take customers more seriously", especially since the recession when many US brands decided to return to their core values.

Tim Knight, a senior partner at Nunwood, accepted that many UK businesses still do a good job, but suggested they could do better by learning from the US experience.

"Whilst there are many examples of great UK brands, excellent customer experiences occur more frequently and more consistently in the USA," he said.

"The way American CEOs run their businesses, their digital investments and business models provide rich sources of learning for UK brands with similar ambitions," he added.

Data sourced from Nunwood; additional content by Warc staff