The best and worst companies for customer service in the UK 2019

Which? ask 4,000 people in the UK about the customer service they’ve received from 100 UK retailers. As ever, there are large differences between sectors – airlines, telecoms and energy providers sitting at the bottom, while car maintenance, optometrists and supermarkets are at the top.

If you’re passionate about your customer service and experience there’s a lot of interesting points in there.

Image of man serving Ice Cream to illustrate improving your customer service gets you noticed

The fact that utilities providers are at the bottom isn’t necessarily a surprise – but individually most of them, like E.ON and British Gas, are investing heavily in improving their customer experience and are seeing great results. When they compare where they were with where they are now. But the world keeps turning and other companies are constantly evolving our expectations of what great customer service and experience are. So goalposts keep moving.

In terms of customer experience, your competitors aren’t the other companies that offer the same as you, it’s Amazon, DPD, Waitrose, First Direct, Lakeland, M&S and Waterstones. Companies that are offering a fantastic level of customer service and experience, and are setting your customers’ expectations.

What makes great customer service?

Looking at the results the number 1 thing is the people delivering the service.

Whilst I’m sure they’re all lovely, it takes much more than that to deliver consistently great customer service.

Hire the right people

Be clear about what kind of person you need to deliver the service and experience you’ve created.

Brand values

Your brand is what sets your business out from those around it. Have a clear set of values that support the experience and service you’re delivering, define what’s expected of everyone that works for the business, are clearly communicated and understood, and are linked to measurable behaviours. 

Systems and processes

Having the systems and processes in place that enable great customer service. Enable is the key word – they’ve got to great for the customer and the member of your team you’re expecting to deliver it. You can check what you’ve got in place by mapping your customer journey – overall, and then map your processes in a similar way, starting with those that are clearly in need of improvement.


Training needs to cover the brand values, the level of service you want to achieve and how to deliver it, as well as how to use the systems and the steps in the processes. It should be regular, not just during onboarding. Your team should know exactly what’s expected of them and what to do in every eventuality so they can respond to the customer’s needs quickly and accurately.

Employee experience

What happens on the inside of a business is reflected on the outside. If you want your team to look after your customers, you need to look after your team with the same attitude, at the same level. That starts at the job application and goes through to when they leave, and beyond.

Read Which?’s article here.

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