Global consumers seek more personalisation from brands to improve the experience says new report

Travel and hotels, non-grocery retail and financial services are the industries paving the way in terms of customer experience globally, according to the latest research by KPMG International and the firm’s Global Customer Centre of Excellence (CoE).

The latest report – Customer First. Customer Obsessed – which surveyed over 84,000 consumers across 20 countries, found that those three sectors (travel and hotels, non-grocery retail and financial services) dominated top-ranking positions in 19 of the 20 countries analysed.

Travel and hotel brands came top in nine markets; non-grocery retail led in six, and financial services claimed four top-positions. In the UK specifically, it was first direct that British consumers considered best for customer experience, followed closely by Monzo, second, and Lush, third.

Six out of 20 brands retained their previous number one position in their respective countries this year, including: Singapore Airlines, ÖAMTC, Ernster, Martinus, first direct and Navy Federal Credit Union. Moreover, every brand that topped the analysis this year in their respective markets, featured in the top-20 in the preceding year’s analysis.

KPMG’s Customer Experience ‘Hall of fame’ – most effective brands in delivering great customer experience from the perspective of over 84,000 consumers:

Country* Brand Sector
Australia Singapore Airlines Travel & Hotels
Austria ÖAMTC Travel & Hotels
Brazil Verdemar Supermercado Grocery Retail
Czech Republic Air Bank Financial Services
Denmark BroBizz Travel & Hotels
France Mercure Travel & Hotels
Germany Hilton Travel & Hotels
Hong Kong Singapore Airlines Travel & Hotels
Italy Amazon Non-Grocery Retail
Luxembourg Ernster Non-Grocery Retail
Mexico Fiesta Americana Travel & Hotels
Netherlands Van der Valk Hotels Travel & Hotels
New Zealand TSB Financial Services
Norway Vinmonopolet Non-Grocery Retail
Poland iSpot (Apple) Non-Grocery Retail
Romania Samsung Store Non-Grocery Retail
Singapore Singapore Airlines Travel & Hotels
Slovakia Martinus Non-Grocery Retail
UK first direct Financial Services
US Navy Federal Credit Union Financial Services

Commenting on the findings, David Conway, Director at KPMG Nunwood, said: “The quality of customer experience is improving around the globe. Indeed, we recently found that the UK is recovering from the record low revealed in 2017, with more British brands playing catch-up as expectations continue to be redefined. There is no doubt that businesses are peddling harder to satisfy – if not exceed – customer wants and needs, with their efforts evidently paying off.

“While progress is of course welcome, it’s vital to remember that expectations continue to rise. In fact, top ranking brands in each country scored on average 12% higher than other brands showing the gap between customer expectations and what many brands are actually delivering.

“Disruption has hit all the industries, from retail to financial services, and the fallout has given way to new innovative operating models, with added focus on the customer and their respective journeys and overall experience. This is a trend that is only likely to continue, so brands must keep pace or risk becoming irrelevant.”

Brands in each of the 20 countries were ranked in six distinct areas referred to as the Six Pillars of Customer Experience (Personalisation, Integrity, Expectations, Resolution, Time and Effort and Empathy). The global analysis revealed that personalisation was the key driver of customer loyalty, being the leading pillar in 18 of the 20 markets. Conversely, on average, empathy – or achieving an understanding of the customer’s circumstances to drive a deeper rapport – was the component brands struggled most with globally.

Lisa Fernihough, Head of Financial Services Consulting at KPMG UK added: “For the second year in a row a financial services firm has topped the UK rankings, and globally four FS brands claimed top-spots in their respective markets. Whilst firms like Monzo, which ranked second in the UK, are introducing people to a new way of banking, it’s reassuring to also see some traditional players like Nationwide – which ranked seventh – continue to provide industry-leading customer experience.

“UK financial services, and especially banking is a highly competitive market. New innovations, products or rates are benchmarked daily and leaders don’t tend to stay ahead for long, but when it comes to customer experience, we are seeing a divergence to that trend, with the same few brands having appeared in the hall of fame for many years now.”