Digital-first brands leading the way in customer experience

A recent report from KPMG’s Customer Experience Excellence Report has revealed that customer experience has dipped for the first time since 2017, registering a 1% fall in 2021. This comes after an initial rise during the height of the pandemic in 2020. 

Despite customer experiences not meeting consumer expectations thus far, KPMG’s report revealed that the brands which are offering a focus on environmental and social issues, are leading the way in experiences. As consumer behaviours change, brands are under expected to solutions to match expectations.  

A survey in which 10,000 UK consumers took part in, saw Starling Bank ranked as the number one company in the ‘KPMG Customer Experience Excellence Top 10; with Lush and John Lewis making the top three. This list compiles the top 100 companies in 2021. The list in full: 

1.    Starling Bank 
2.    Lush 
3.    John Lewis 
4.    QVC UK
5.    American Express 
6.    Pharmacy2U 
7.    Joules 
8.    M&S Food 
9.    M&S 
10.    Samsung Store 

KPMG have come to the conclusion via calculations, that 56% of brand interactions are taking place using digital technology. 

“For the leading brands, all customer experiences are now ‘digital first’,” says KPMG UK head of customer consulting Tim Knight.

“Technology advancements means engaging with consumers no longer just means ‘lowest cost’, but also ‘most human.’ These digital businesses are faster, more agile and more emotionally engaging, which sits at the heart of their growth.”

However, focusing fully on technology may not be the answer to guaranteeing better experiences; focusing too much on technology could see business lack in other areas.

“This points to structural issues in how they understand the customer, how they have adapted to the new market and their focus on real value, rather than rolling out platforms and chasing efficiencies,” added Tim Knight. 

KPMG UK head of consumer, leisure and retail Linda Ellett, believes one of the reasons why supermarkets and fast food chains ranked highly, was because of their customer service during the disruption caused by Covid-19. 

“Grocery retailers were a lifeline throughout the pandemic, rising to the challenge of keeping people fed and focusing intently on consumer needs,”

“The question now being grappled with is how they can transform this into long-term loyalty – most people shop at multiple grocers and continue to do so. With the growing preference from consumers for online shopping, supermarkets are having to rethink their physical offering in earnest if they want to maintain footfall in their stores going forward.”

With the surge of online shopping set to continue in the fall of 2021; thanks to Black Friday and the Christmas season; consumers will be on the lookout for brands that have a commitment to sustainability. According to KPMG, more than two thirds of customers (68%) under the age of 34 say they will pay more for goods from companies with strong sustainability principles.