KPMG CXOffering an exceptional customer experience is a growing priority for many businesses, and the reasons are clear. On almost all fronts, consumers are demanding more engaging, rewarding, personalized, and meaningful relationships with the brands they frequent.

In fact, customer experience has been called the new competitive battleground for marketers. This is increasingly becoming the arena where brands can differentiate themselves and gain a strong edge. And those that succeed can win higher levels of customer loyalty.

The problem is that even though most brands seem to understand and respect this approach in theory, many still seem to struggle with continuously improving their customer experience in reality.

This was one of the main findings revealed in a new report from KPMG Nunwood, a leading UK-based customer experience and voice of the customer solutions firm.

Now in its sixth year, KPMG Nunwood’s 2015 UK Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) Report, which analyzed over 10,000 consumer interviews to gain an in-depth look at UK customer experience, found that most brands across the region made little or no improvements over last year’s average score. 

Furthermore, brands across some industries including telecommunications and grocery retail actually saw declining customer experience scores.

"What we are seeing is that companies have a very short term view looking for signature actions or silver bullets that will have an immediate impact,” David Conway, Director at KPMG Nunwood, told Loyalty360. “Unfortunately these companies are discovering that customer experience has multiple moving parts all of which need to be moved forward systematically against a clear customer experience strategy. As a result they are having to go back, fix the basics and build a platform for experience development - this takes time."UK brands

Overall, the UK seems to be falling being leading brands in other countries. Average customer experience scores in the United States, for example, were 5% higher.

"UK businesses find it challenging to get things right for their customers,” said Tim Knight, Director at KPMG Nunwood. “Despite growing investment and boardroom focus, many firms still struggle to put the customer at the heart of their transformation efforts. Learning from the customer experience best practice of today’s leaders will be critical to competing in tomorrow’s market.”

It is not all bad news, however. The 2015 CEE report saw some succeeding, as four new brands moved into the UK’s top ten including, Richer Sounds, the Skipton Building Society, American Express, and Ocado.

In general, the brands that saw the most improvements over 2014’s scores were from the utilities and non-food related industries.

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