Eir, Ryanair and Facebook were the worst performers in a group of 151 companies rated for their customer experience during the past year, according to a new report.
The CXi Report is published annually by the CX Company and is based on a survey carried out by Amarách Research. A cross-section of Irish consumers were asked to give feedback on their experiences with more than 150 companies across 11 sectors.
Eir was the worst performing company, replacing Ryanair, which moved to 149th sport, just above Facebook.
All three along with the Department of Social Welfare, Irish Water, Sky and Virgin Media featured prominently in the list of companies which recorded the highest scores for failing to meet expectations during the pandemic.
Almost half of Eir’s customers (44 per cent) said the company failed to meet their expectations. This was almost double the number (25 per cent) who said the same about Ryanair.
Similar figures were recorded for the Department of Social Welfare (24 per cent), Irish Water (24 per cent) and Sky (23 per cent).
On average, companies met expectations for 75 per cent of customers, exceeded expectations for 16 per cent of customers and failed to meet expectations for 9 per cent.
Other companies which performed poorly and recorded big moves included GameStop, the Passport Service, the National Lottery, Adverts.ie and Abrakebabra.
Michael Killeen, the chairman of the CX Company, described Eir’s treatment of its customers as “appalling”.
“The telecom sector has been one of the poorest performers in our survey over the last seven years,” he said. “While Eir is the standout offender and seems more focused on making money for its owners rather than doing what’s right for their customers, its competitors Sky and Virgin would also recognise more work needs to done to deliver greater customer experiences.
“Go Mo provides a good example. The award-winning mobile phone company is the highest new entrant and the highest telecom company in this year’s table. Who owns it? Eir. That shows what is possible.”
Eir didn’t respond to a request for a comment on its poor ranking with customers.
In terms of the winners, pharmacies Hickeys, McCabes, Lloyds, McAuleys, and Boots all made the top 10, which may be attributable to the key role pharmacies played in keeping customers safe during the pandemic.
Smyths Toys moved up 30 places to claim second spot this year "thanks in the main to an innovative customer training programme and a highly efficient pick, pack and ship operation which they created in record time", the report said.
Two of the new entrants are coffee companies, Nespresso and Butlers Chocolates, “who both devised novel ways of serving customers who still wanted to treat themselves”.
Supermarkets continued to perform well. They were represented in the top 10 by Aldi, which replaced Lidl, indicating the important role they have played in the past year.
However, Ireland’s top performer for customer experience remains the Irish Credit Union, which has claimed pole position for the seventh year in a row. It is also the only brand to have maintained a constant presence in the top 10 since the survey began.
Some of the biggest jumpers in the 2021 league table included Energia, Lifestyle Sports, Free Now and An Post Money.
Ireland’s overall customer experience score fell by a record 4.4 per cent, according to the report, and is now at a seven-year low having recorded a cumulative decline of 10.8 per cent since 2015.
Report author Cathy Summers says the low score was a concern and that while companies have been battling the effects of Covid they now need to refocus their efforts on enhancing the customer journey and overall experience.
“Post-Covid indecision and fatigue appear to be taking a toll on companies and their approach to customer experience,” she said. “As a result, customers are losing out.”