September 07, 2011

UK Customer Satisfaction Index for Restaurants and Automakers Shows Stagnation


With the poor economy comes some odd changes in customer satisfaction rating, a new research report in the UK has found.

The report, called the National Customer Satisfaction Index UK: Results for Automobiles, Full-Service Restaurants and Limited Service Restaurants, found that, after a flat first quarter, the National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSIUK) fell for the first time in two years. The slip corresponds to a small drop in UK GDP economic growth rates.

Customer satisfaction rates for full-service restaurants fell to 78, while satisfaction rates for fast-food type establishments rose slightly for the second year, up one point to 75. Analysts believe that since economic factors are more important to customers during a down economy, people believe that fast food offers better value than local restaurants.

“This is similar to what we find in the United States, where the gap in customer satisfaction between full service restaurants and fast food outfits is also shrinking,” said Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI and professor at the University of Michigan. “As long as the economy remains fragile, this is a trend that will continue.”

“Not only is the price of a meal becoming more important because of tight household budgets, but the cost of many basic foods is increasing as well. The fast food business is better equipped to handle this than smaller and locally-owned restaurants. Unless full service restaurants can provide significantly higher levels of quality and service, many of them will disappear from the marketplace. This is what’s happening in the U.S. already and we may see more of it in Great Britain as well.”

For specific U.K. limited service restaurants, Greggs topped the list with a score of 76, followed by Nando's at 76 and coffee chain Starbucks at 74. At the bottom was Burger King with a score of 66.

In the automobile industry, customer satisfaction scores went exactly nowhere for the second year in a row, remaining static at 79. Among specific car makers, Audi (which is owned by Volkswagen) tops the heap with a satisfaction score of 83, followed by Toyota at 82 and Volkswagen (minus its Audi brand) at 81 percent. Renault rounded out the bottom of the list with a score of 74.

The full report results may be found here.  

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Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves