Mainz, 09.11.2023 - On 8 November 2023, the time had come again: for the fourth time, companies were honoured for their particularly high customer service quality in their respective industry as "Customer Service of the Year 2024". At the award ceremony at the Gibson in Frankfurt, a total of 13 winners from different categories were honoured with the award. In order to receive the seal, the competition participants had to fulfil two criteria: firstly, they had to achieve at least 60 out of 100 possible points in the overall ranking of the audit and secondly, they had to be the strongest company in the respective category. The seal is only awarded once per sector in order to maintain exclusivity for the winners. The competition also takes place in Spain, England, Morocco, Tunisia and France. Every year, hundreds of companies across Europe are awarded the honour.
The 13 winners of the "Customer Service of the Year 2024" award
COMPANY - BRAND - CATEGORY
- Union Tank Eckstein GmbH & Co. KG - UTA - Fleet and mobility management
- Bike Mobility Services GmbH - - Lease a bike - company bike leasing
- Smart Europe GmbH- Huawei - smart - Automotive
- Abbott GmbH - Diabetes Care - FreeStyle Libre - Medical devices
- Vodafone GmbH- Vodafone - Telecommunications
- Michelin Reifenwerke AG & Co. KGaA - Michelin - Tyre manufacturer
- IONOS SE - IONOS by 1&1 - Hosting services
- Weltbild GmbH & Co. KG - Weltbild.de - Mail order business
- Rituals Cosmetics Enterprise BV- Rituals - Cosmetics
- kauf-unique.de - kauf-unique.de - Furniture trade
- Sparkasse Bremen - Bank
- Centre Parcs - Tourism
- Back Market - JUNG SAS - Back Market - Refurbished products
The test phase
Companies from 16 categories took part in the mystery enquiries from 22 May to 30 July 2023. More than 7,200 tests were carried out over a period of 10 weeks. The customer experience was measured in detail based on up to 15 criteria, such as the evaluation of basic soft skills, the quality of the exchange and the waiting time or accessibility.
How does a test work? During the test phase, mystery testers confront the customer service of the participating companies with a test series totalling 225 enquiries. These are divided into 140 calls, 45 email enquiries, 15 internet navigation tests (incl. login area & app), 10 social media enquiries and 15 chat enquiries.
Customer service as a success factor
Where customers feel comfortable and experience good service, they will buy again. In the annual study, Customer Service Barometer 2023, over 90% of consumers agreed with the statement that good service has an influence on repeat purchases.
This is also the view of the award winners. Martin Huegli, General Manager Europe at Back Market, knows that customer service is an important channel between consumers and companies: "Over the last few years, we at Back Market have made customer service our top priority and have taken an ambitious step to serve all customers directly and consistently with "Customer Care by Back Market" (CCBM) - a bold and unprecedented move to ensure we can improve the customer experience and exceed our customers' expectations (...) Over the next few months, we will be introducing a number of innovations to make the customer experience even faster, more seamless and more enjoyable across the board. " Rommy Höfler, Head of Customer Relations at Rituals, is also convinced that the "feeling" that a brand should convey is largely based on the work of the service team: "Whether you visit our shops, talk to our customer care team online or place an order via our app, you will always have the same Rituals experience, which makes it distinctive. We recognise that the key to excellent customer service is to look after our people. They are the ones who really make a difference, whether on the phone, online or in our shops. The emphasis is always on creating personal relationships. We are deeply indebted to our thousands of dedicated employees around the world who fulfil this commitment every day. It's all about our people; they are the true champions in our organisation."
Results in detail
The most successful participant performed particularly well in the overall analysis of the results across all channels. With an overall performance of 89.5 out of a possible 100 points, tyre manufacturer Michelin leads the ranking. The highest score of the entire competition was achieved on the social media channel, where IONOS performed with 100 points. Across all participants, the average overall result was 68 points (+5.5 points compared to the previous year). The average of all award winners is 75.7 points (+3.1 points compared to the previous year). Overall, the results of the participants range from 37.4 to 89.5 points (previous year 35.3 to 85.9 points), so there is a clear range. These results include both successful and unsuccessful tests. For example, the test is cancelled on the e-mail channel if the enquiry is not answered after 4 days. The test then receives 0 points and is included in the final score with a negative weighting. The "unsuccessful" tests are an important indicator of a company's accessibility. At this point, the competition has shown that good accessibility separates the wheat from the chaff and was often decisive for better overall results on the respective channels. This was particularly evident for many companies on the telephone and email channels. Similar to last year, it can be deduced that one of the biggest challenges for many companies is still accessibility.
Performance on all 5 channels:
On the telephone channel, there was an improvement of +6 percentage points compared to last year. On the e-mail channel, the quality declined slightly (-2 percentage points). Thanks to telephony and an improvement on the internet, social media and chat channels, the average of participants is +5.5 points higher than in the previous year.
Average performance of all subscribers per channel (test year 2022 vs. 2023)
2022 -> 2023
Internet navigation: 89 -> Internet navigation: 92
Telephone: 63 -> Telephone: 69
E-mail: 61 -> Email: 59
Social media: 65 -> Social media: 72
Chat: 48 -> Chat: 57
Average accessibility of all participants per channel (test year 2022 vs. 2023)
2022 -> 2023
Internet navigation: 99 % -> Internet navigation: 99 %
Telephone: 83 % -> Telephone: 86 %
E-mail: 75 % -> Email: 76 %
Social media: 77 % -> Social media: 86 %
Chat: 67 % -> Chat: 72 %
Among the participants, the Internet navigation channel once again leads the ranking this year with 92 percentage points, followed by the social media channel with 72 percentage points. Chat brings up the rear (57 percentage points). Despite improved accessibility, this still proves to be the contact medium with the greatest potential for optimisation across all participants. In live chat, as well as in communication with the chatbot, personal elements in particular, such as addressing the customer by name, can be further expanded. In terms of accessibility, chat is the weakest of all channels, although, according to the "Customer Service Barometer 2023" study (consumer study on customer service usage), it is used by many customers precisely because of its uncomplicated accessibility. The requirement for a "feasible test" for chat is to speak to an employee within 3 minutes of opening the chat window. Many companies were unable to fulfil this requirement.