Supermarkets are doing a better job of communicating with their customers in a meaningful way than other businesses, with consumers rating them well above firms in all other industry sectors, according to the new Customer Intimacy Index produced by database marketing specialist GI Insight.

The Index also indicates that companies in some predominantly retail sectors like clothing and home furnishings/DIY brands need to do a much better job of creating personalised, well-timed and relevant communications, particularly for older consumers.

The 2013 GI Insight Customer Intimacy Index, compiled from a survey of over 1,000 UK consumers, scores a range of sectors according to the level of knowledge of the individual that companies in those industries demonstrate in their customer communications. The overall average was set at 100.

Supermarkets came out far ahead of any other sector with a score of 132 –The Index indicates that industries with frequent transactions andstrong loyalty programmes are most successful at relating to their customers in a relevant way. Clothing brands come across as distinctly average with a score of 100, firms in the home furnishings/DIY sector scored 21% below the average and holiday, travel companies were only just above average, with a score of 105.

Banks showed a marked improvement since the previous Index, moving past Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to second place in the table with a score nine points higher than in 2010.

Andy Wood, GI Insight’s Managing Director, commented: “Overall, most companies are falling especially short of the mark when it comes to older consumers. The result is that companies – particularly those operating in sectors that tend to be very youth-oriented such as fashion – risk alienating customers who have greater disposable income.”

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