NEW YORK/LONDON: The number of top US brands judged to be delivering outstanding customer experience has more than doubled since last year, a new study has revealed.

What's more – and in a sign of how much ground UK brands need to make up – US consumers are said to be 15 times more likely to have a great customer experience than their British counterparts.

That is according to KPMG Nunwood, a specialist customer experience firm headquartered in London, which surveyed more than 7,500 American consumers about 257 US brands and compared the results with an earlier survey in the UK.

KPMG Nunwood reported that more than half (58) of the top 100 US brands were found to be delivering outstanding customer experience this year, up from about a quarter (24) in 2016.

An equivalent survey in the UK found that only four brands achieved the same degree of service, meaning brands in the UK are lagging by a factor of 15.

KPMG Nunwood reached its conclusion after testing brands on both sides of the Atlantic against six measures of customer experience – personalisation, integrity, time and effort, expectations, resolutions and empathy.

Coupled with advocacy (likelihood to recommend) and loyalty, the company then assigned a score to each brand where 8+ represented outstanding customer experience.

Overall, the top 100 brands in the US achieved an average score of 7.75 out of 10 whereas the average in the UK was 7.33. That meant US brands extended their lead over UK brands to 6% over the past year.

Financial services firm USAA topped the US rankings this year, followed by Disney Parks, Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, Amazon and Southern Company, the Georgia-based utilities group. Meanwhile, retail bank First Direct came top in the UK.

Commenting on the findings, KPMG director David Conway said: "Customer experience is undoubtedly a more mature discipline in the US, so it's no surprise that UK brands are clearly being outpaced by their US counterparts – and fast. Technology is moving at a lightening pace and so too are customer expectations.

"To avoid being left behind, brands need to seamlessly integrate both their human and digital capabilities, whist maintaining their focus on customer experience."

Data sourced from KPMG Nunwood; additional content by WARC staff