Ireland's CX Champions 2017

Credit Unions have emerged as the winners for the third year in a row in an annual survey of Irish brands based on customer experiences (CX).

In a Top 10 dominated by retail brands, Lush Cosmetics and An Post retained 2nd and 3rd position for the second year in a row in the survey which was carried out by Amarách Research on behalf of the CX Company.

The full report can be downloaded from The CX Company website here.

Today (Tuesday Oct 3rd) is international CX Day and the survey is being published to raise awareness of customer experience excellence in Ireland.

A spokesperson for the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU), which represents over 270 credit unions in the Republic of Ireland, said the organisation was humbled by the result.

“This is a hugely positive endorsement by the general public of the services we offer to members. Credit unions are different from other financial institutions, not just because we are not-for-profit, but because decisions are made at a local level and tailored to the individual needs of members.”

The top ten ranked companies

Brand

Sector

2017

2016

2015

Movement 2017 vs. 2016

Movement 2016 vs 2015

Movement 2017 vs 2015

Irish Credit Union

Financial

1

1

1

0

0

0

Lush Cosmetics

Retail

2

2

NEW

0

NEW

NEW

An Post

Retail

3

3

8

0

5

5

Amazon

Retail

4

28

15

24

-13

11

Boots

Retail

5

7

5

2

-2

0

Parcel Motel

Retail

6

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

Penneys

Retail

7

10

9

3

-1

2

Netflix

Entertainment & Leisure

8

38

32

30

-6

24

Marks & Spencer

Retail

9

9

NEW

0

NEW

NEW

Argos

Retail

9

39

NEW

30

NEW

NEW

Sam McCauley Pharmacies

Retail

9

4

13

-5

9

4

Michael Killeen, Chairman of the CX Company described the consistent success of the top three brands as remarkable.

“Customer Experience isn’t something you can switch on and off like a special offer. It’s a constant.  If it’s part of your culture, if genuine care for your customers is second nature to your staff you will earn their trust and loyalty. If it’s not you have to learn it and earn it. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these three brands are also Ireland’s most trusted brands. In that context, reports that An Post plans to close hundreds of branches will be of great concern to consumers.”

Travel a faller

“Top companies can make CX look easy, but when it goes wrong the results can be frightening. Look at Mytaxi/ Hailo. It was a star performer in the first survey in 2015. Now it’s one of the biggest fallers, tumbling 94 places to 137 and out of the Top 100. They didn’t get the drivers on board with the new app and now with the introduction of new charges and reports of declining service levels they may well struggle to get passengers on board as well.”

“Ryanair is down 38 places and also out of the Top 100 (115). Customers just didn’t believe its explanation of the way seats are pre-allocated. The flight cancellation story is a much more serious affair and will surely see the airline slide further” Killeen said.

Elsewhere in the Travel sector intermittent industrial action on trains and buses left many consumers stranded and undermined trust in brands such as Irish Rail, Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus while dissatisfaction with airport delays saw the Dublin Airport Authority fall 55 places to 109. On a more positive note Aer Lingus has maintained its top 30 position while Luas has repaired its reputation somewhat, climbing 38 places and back into the Top 100.”

Retail and the impact of digital

Retail, with 52 companies in the Top 100 and four in the Top 5 was the top performing sector this year. In fact Powercity was the biggest riser this year moving up over 50 places to number 50 in the table. One of the main drivers of Retail’s success and indeed that of the Entertainment sector was the rise of digital brands such as Amazon which jumped to number four. It was followed by a host of others including Parcel Motel, Netflix, Argos, YouTube.com, Google and Adverts.ie Interestingly one exception here was Facebook, whose integrity score suffered pushing them down 15 places to 124.

Killeen believes the Irish consumer has finally recognised digital’s positive impact in our lives. “What makes the digital brands stand out is their ability to humanise the experience they give customers through the use of data, demonstrating they understand their needs and expectations. While this is great news for consumers there is also a warning here for retailers doing business in Ireland.”

“Our research shows that the vast majority of consumers (62%) across all age groups interact in store or inbranch. However in the US many people are buying everything online – from their groceries to their lightbulbs.If we don’t love our customers online then that spend will evaporate out of the country to those, like Amazon, who are investing huge amounts in CX.”

Selected brands

Rank

Brand

Sector

Places from 2016

26

Laya Healthcare

Insurance

40

50

Powercity

Retail

54

56

Maldron

Travel

29

59

Clayton

Travel

29

68

VHI

Insurance

34

73

Electric Ireland

Utilities

22

76

Done Deal

Retail

36

82

Aviva

Insurance

35

85

Allianz

Insurance

51

89

Luas

Travel

38

102

Heatons

Retail

-55

106

Irish Rail

Travel

-30

121

Costa Coffee

Restaurant

-50

121

An Garda Siochana

Public Sector

-24

124

Facebook

Ent & Leisure

-15

131

Dublin Bus

Travel

-25

141

Sky

Telecoms

-20

144

Virgin Media

Telecoms

4

146

Bus Eireann

Travel

-51

148

AIG

Insurance

-2

149

Three

Telecoms

-12

150

Eir

Telecoms

-12

151

Greyhound

Utilities

-12

152

Irish Water

Utilities

-3

Telco’s Travails

The report found that  Telecoms had the lowest consumer tolerance level over any other sector. This is partially due to its absolute complexity and the customer journey involved. When a breakdown in service occurs it causes major headaches and hassle for the consumer. Killeen describes their customer service as dire.

“This sector is guilty of having a fixation with acquisition and ignoring the needs of current customers and in many cases holding them to ransom with inflexible contracts. The sector is a text book case of over promising – via expensive ad campaigns - and under delivering. One exception is Tesco Mobile, the only brand from this sector in the Top 100. It jumped 16 places to 31” he said.

Utilities, Insurance, Financials & Public Sector

Although operating in very different areas, these four sectors face many similar challenges including legacy issues, a challenging market environment and lack of investment.

One of the authors of the report, Cathy Summers who is Head of Insights & Planning at the CX Company says that while many of the companies in these sectors feature at or near the bottom of the table, some are making a concerted effort to break with previous poor past performance.

“While Utilities continue to be our lowest performing sector they are finally getting their acts together by focusing on their existing customers rather than the switching game  and managing customer expectations better. Electric Ireland is leading the way here but new entrants such as PrePayPower, Energia and Pinergy are starting to make headway.”

“It’s a similar story to some extent with Financials and Insurance. In the US and UK banks lead CX delivery and the penny has dropped with banks here that the consumer views CX as the key differentiator. AIB is the largest financial jumper this year joining Ulster Bank in 89th position in our table”

“The Public Sector has dropped one place in the sector ranking despite marginally increasing its overall CX score. A string of controversies including fake breath tests, financial irregularities and the speeding fine issue has seen An Garda Síochána fall 24 places” Summers said.

Supermarkets and Restaurant Sector

While Irish supermarkets stand out for CX delivery with three brands in the top 15, all of the main players dropped positions with the exception of SuperValu. The situation is more serious for restaurants with very few of them moving in the right direction this year. The sector has suffered greatly over the years due to a lack of investment and constant turnover of staff.

Summers says staff training will be key for both. “Both sectors need to put their employees first if they are to meet challenges from online and indeed from smaller more community friendly offerings. Both might do well to look at IKEA’s CX strategy which is based on ‘treating every customer as a guest’. The Company says its ‘Customer Experience Map’ helps the whole business to walk in their customers’ shoes. That is key to understanding CX” Summers concluded.

International & National Trends

Ireland is still lagging behind the UK and the US when it comes to customer experience excellence.  Ireland is 3% behind the UK and 9% behind the US, although there has been small improvements year-on-year. The US is very much the front runner, having seen a 4.5% uplift in their overall CX score in 2017.

Two brands in Ireland achieved an overall CX score higher than 8 (out of 10) in this year’s survey (Irish Credit Union & Lush). This compares to the most recent UK survey where four brands achieved this high score (First Direct, John Lewis, Lush and Emirates).  In the US 2017 survey 58 brands reached an overall CX score of 8 or more showing that they are global leaders in CX .

CXi

The CXi Report is published annually by the CX Company which is based in Dublin. The Report is based on a survey  of 2,500 consumers which is carried out on the company’s behalf by Amarach Research.  The CX Company offers a subscription based  service for Irish companies who want to grow and improve their business by learning from the experiences of their customers and by studying international best practice. This is the third year the CXi Report has been published. The authors of the report are Michael Killeen, Cathy Summers, Susannah Hewson (all from the CX Company) and Julian Douglas,CEO of Bright Way Up.

The Report

The CX Company helps businesses understand what great CX looks like and enables themto benchmark against the best in Ireland and abroad. Using a Six Pillar framework developed by KPMG Nunwood, the CX Company is able to scientifically score Ireland’s top brands on how successful they are at delivering brilliant CX. This framework and analysis can then be used to address specific business challenges such as brand differentiation, retention, loyalty and driving acquisition through advocacy.

In the last three years the CX Company has collected 115,000 Irish consumer evaluations of 170 brands across 10 sectors. The CX Company also has access to 1.4 million global consumer evaluations across 1,000 cross-sector brands based on seven years of research conducted by KPMG Nunwood.

Top 100 brands

 

Brand & Sector

Ranking

Movement

Brand

Sector

2017

2016

2015

Movement 2017 vs. 2016

Movement 2016 vs 2015

Movement 2017 vs 2015

Irish Credit Union

Financial

1

1

1

0

0

0

Lush Cosmetics

Retail

2

2

NEW

0

NEW

NEW

An Post

Retail

3

3

8

0

5

5

Amazon

Retail

4

28

15

24

-13

11

Boots

Retail

5

7

5

2

-2

0

Parcel Motel

Retail

6

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

Penneys

Retail

7

10

9

3

-1

2

Netflix

Entertainment & Leisure

8

38

32

30

-6

24

Marks & Spencer

Retail

9

9

NEW

0

NEW

NEW

Argos

Retail

9

39

NEW

30

NEW

NEW

Sam McCauley Pharmacies

Retail

9

4

13

-5

9

4

IKEA

Retail

12

14

38

2

24

26

M&S Simply Food

Supermarket

12

10

12

-2

2

0

Lidl

Supermarket

14

13

29

-1

16

15

YouTube.com

Entertainment & Leisure

15

57

48

42

-9

33

Smyths Toystore

Retail

15

25

32

10

7

17

Aldi

Supermarket

15

8

4

-7

-4

-11

IMC Cinemas

Entertainment & Leisure

18

33

19

15

-14

1

Google

Entertainment & Leisure

19

31

31

12

0

12

Specsavers

Retail

19

14

13

-5

-1

-6

McCabes Pharmacy

Retail

21

14

41

-7

27

20

Arnotts

Retail

22

22

56

0

34

34

Homestore + more

Retail

22

12

NEW

-10

NEW

NEW

Carraig Donn

Retail

24

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

Omniplex

Entertainment & Leisure

25

28

32

3

4

7

Laya Healthcare

Insurance

26

66

71

40

5

45

Aer Lingus

Travel

26

28

21

2

-7

-5

Citylink

Travel

26

5

32

-21

27

6

Hickey's Pharmacy

Retail

29

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

Debenhams

Retail

30

33

NEW

3

NEW

NEW

Tesco Mobile

Telecoms

31

47

62

16

15

31

Art and Hobby

Retail

31

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

Radisson Blu

Travel

31

74

32

43

-42

1

Adverts.ie

Retail

34

87

NEW

53

NEW

NEW

Dealz

Retail

35

22

22

-13

0

-13

Supervalu

Supermarket

35

41

27

6

-14

-8

Applegreen

Retail

37

50

73

13

23

36

StenaLine

Travel

37

51

55

14

4

18

Dominos Pizza

Restaurants

39

49

43

10

-6

4

Kilkenny Design

Retail

39

45

37

6

-8

-2

Lloyds Pharmacy

Retail

39

14

10

-25

-4

-29

Aircoach

Travel

42

20

17

-22

-3

-25

Passport Office

Public Sector

43

32

NEW

-11

NEW

NEW

Avoca

Retail

43

21

48

-22

27

5

Brown Thomas

Retail

43

45

50

2

5

7

Eason

Retail

46

33

29

-13

-4

-17

Odeon Cinemas

Entertainment & Leisure

47

18

20

-29

2

-27

Lifestyle Sports

Retail

47

75

65

28

-10

18

Topline

Retail

49

71

NEW

22

NEW

NEW

Powercity

Retail

50

104

53

54

-51

3

B&Q

Retail

50

51

88

1

37

38

Littlewoods

Retail

52

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

GameStop

Retail

52

79

66

27

-13

14

Mr Price

Retail

54

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

JD Sports

Retail

54

57

NEW

3

NEW

NEW

Regatta

Retail

56

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

Maldron Hotel Group

Travel

56

85

44

29

-41

-12

Next

Retail

58

37

NEW

-21

NEW

NEW

Tiger

Retail

59

26

NEW

-33

NEW

NEW

Dunnes Retail

Retail

59

43

NEW

-16

NEW

NEW

Tesco

Supermarket

59

54

59

-5

5

0

Clayton Hotels

Travel

59

88

NEW

29

NEW

NEW

DID Electrical

Retail

63

39

NEW

-24

NEW

NEW

Woodies

Retail

63

51

67

-12

16

4

Irish Ferries

Travel

63

60

15

-3

-45

-48

Butlers Chocolates

Restaurants

66

26

6

-40

-20

-60

Centra

Supermarket

66

65

64

-1

-1

-2

VHI

Insurance

68

102

114

34

12

46

O'Briens Off Licence

Retail

68

19

47

-49

28

-21

Topaz

Retail

68

79

71

11

-8

3

Dunnes

Supermarket

68

57

70

-11

13

2

Supermacs

Restaurants

72

60

50

-12

-10

-22

Electric Ireland

Utilities

73

95

105

22

10

32

Four Star Pizza

Restaurants

74

60

42

-14

-18

-32

Shaws Department Stores

Retail

74

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

Leisureplex

Entertainment & Leisure

76

85

NEW

9

NEW

NEW

Donedeal.ie

Retail

76

112

NEW

36

NEW

NEW

McDonalds

Restaurants

78

66

73

-12

7

-5

Milanos

Restaurants

79

69

56

-10

-13

-23

Peter Mark

Retail

79

6

53

-73

47

-26

Elverys Sports

Retail

79

56

44

-23

-12

-35

Aviva

Insurance

82

117

99

35

-18

17

Eddie Rockets

Restaurants

83

66

56

-17

-10

-27

Mothercare

Retail

83

33

22

-50

-11

-61

Allianz

Insurance

85

136

119

51

-17

34

DART

Travel

85

91

83

6

-8

-2

Harvey Norman

Retail

87

102

NEW

15

NEW

NEW

Energia

Utilities

88

107

107

19

0

19

Ulster Bank

Financial

89

83

108

-6

25

19

AIB

Financial

89

104

111

15

7

22

Abrakebabra

Restaurants

89

84

95

-5

11

6

Chopped

Restaurants

89

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

Carphone Warehouse

Retail

89

99

89

10

-10

0

TK Maxx

Retail

89

41

68

-48

27

-21

LUAS

Travel

89

127

22

38

-105

-67

Maxol

Retail

96

81

86

-15

5

-10

AA

Insurance

97

126

105

29

-21

8

Irish Life Health

Insurance

98

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

NEW

Phonewatch

Insurance

99

60

NEW

-39

NEW

NEW

Insomnia

Restaurants

99

77

68

-22

-9

-31

Prepay Power

Utilities

99

130

NEW

31

NEW

NEW

 


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