Top 50 Call Centres winners announced

12th November 2012

Dignity Caring Funeral Services is the UK's
Top Call Centre for Customer Service
The UK's only annual contact centre benchmarking study reveals continuing
raising of the bar for the industry yet again

LONDON: 12th November 2012: Dignity Caring Funeral Services achieved the highest overall score in the biggest ever benchmarking exercise for customer service within UK contact centres. The study, part of UBM's 'Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service' programme, shows the continuous raising of the bar by the UK contact centre industry, with the highest level of performances attained in the programmes' 5 year history.

The Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service programme revealed that overall 96% of customers got through to call centres on their first attempt. An impressive 96% of callers felt that their enquiry was completely resolved. And the number of calls put on hold fell by half from 2009 to just 9% this year with only 3% of all calls being transferred. Furthermore, 73% of callers to the programmes' top ten performers said that the call enhanced their perception of the brand.

As part of the initiative to identify the best performers and to improve the perception of contact centres amongst the general public, research company GfK made tens of thousands of mystery shopping enquiries to more than fifty of the UK's leading contact centres, across nine sectors – Retail, E-retail, Travel Services, Insurance/Financial Services, Banking/Credit Cards, Telecoms & Media, Utilities, Service Providers and Public Services. The Top 10 performing centres for 2012 are listed below, along with their scores.

The UK's Top Ten Call Centres for Customer Service

1 Dignity Caring Funeral Services 95.60% 6 Royal Mail Door-to-Door 92.93%
2 Charles Tyrwhitt 95.31% 7 Charities Aid Foundation 92.87%
3 DPD 94.68% 8 Nationwide 92.86%
4 The White Company 94.38% 9 General Medical Council 92.45%
5 heateam 93.69% 10 ASDA 92.42%

Overall Top 50 scores

This is the first time Dignity Caring Funeral Services has topped the list with an impressive 95.6% including coming first in best combined call and email, nudging ahead of Charles Tyrwhitt, DPD and The White Company.

"To win 1st place in four categories, including the Best Contact Centre for Calls & Emails – particularly when competing against some of the UK's most recognised brands – has been a cause of great pride for us. Being part of the Top 50 has inspired and motivated every member of staff to demonstrate their personal commitment to customer service. We believed that we should be the best contact centre in the Top 50 and we have worked tirelessly to achieve this. We've participated for the last four years, achieving a top five finish each year."
Dignity Caring Funeral Services

The strongest performing sector in the UK's Top 10 Call Centres for Customer Service was the e-retail sector. The top performing e-retailer was Charles Tyrwhitt once again with a score of 95.31%, outperforming this sector's strong average rating of 93%.

Setting the standard amongst banks was Nationwide with a score of 92.86%, performing more than 5% better than the average score for this sector. The public sector saw the General Medical Council lead the way with 92.45% and Best Western Hotels with 91.72% for the travel industry.

In our 4th year of assessing the email performance of UK contact centres, Royal Mail Door-to-Door performed best with an impressive score of 92.9%.

As customers are already spending more of their time online (57% of all consumers go online as the first step when looking to resolve an enquiry*) looking for answers to queries about products and services, businesses have increasingly understood the need to be available to serve these customers on their chosen channel – the internet. While the online experience has historically been limited to websites, FAQs, web contact forms, and email, more and more organisations are now shifting their focus to live online interactions with their customers in the form of social platforms and webchat. To mirror this growing trend, the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service were proud to announce the launch of a brand new form of customer experience benchmarking in the form of webchat. E-retailer Charles Tyrwhitt performed best with a score of 95.31%.

The criteria used to evaluate the contact centres took into account all aspects of customer service, including time to get through to a customer service representative, queue management, automated IVR systems, politeness, knowledge and friendliness of call centre staff, as well as how quickly enquiries were resolved.

Relaunch of our best practice programme
The annual study, now in its fifth year, aims to raise customer service standards across the contact centre industry. Each contact centre was rated using more than 50 criteria across five key areas of service - timeliness, ease of use, reliability, staff knowledge and personalised service – and awarded a customer service rating in percentage terms.

The 'Top 50' has been acutely aware of the ever improving role the contact centre plays within the overall service proposition of businesses, and with operations often handling enquiries for calls, emails, chat and social, the customer service team really are the heartbeat of companies.

The 'Top 50' is currently embarking on fresh research that will provide guidance on what excellence looks like across multiple-channels and as such we are now relaunching our brand as the 'Top 50 Companies for Customer Service', reflecting the well earned position that the contact centre now has in leading UK businesses.

Ashley Williamson, Head of Partnership, Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service, commented: "The appetite amongst the top performing UK companies to outperform their service standards year on year is nothing short of inspirational. Over the last 5 years of running this programme I have seen UK companies raise the bar for service so high that Top 50 Call Centres really can demonstrate that they genuinely do put their customers first. As of next year we will now be the Top 50 Companies for Customer Service: this move really does reflect the changing value the contact centre plays at the heart of businesses' customer service operations. I'm looking forward to another 5 years of improvement and continuing to reward and recognise those organisations who really do make a difference to the companies and customers they serve."