RTÉ has dropped to the bottom of the league table of 150 brands in the latest annual Customer Experience report compiled by the CX Company.

It comes in the wake of the payments controversy at the organisation and other issues that have come to light since the summer.

RTÉ's overall customer experience - CXi - score fell by almost a fifth, which was the biggest fall recorded by any brand over the last three years.

The broadcaster's trust score fell by 25%.

RTÉ Director-General Kevin Bakhurst said: "While we are naturally disappointed with the results of the survey, we are very much aware of the negative impact the events of these past months have had on RTÉ's reputation, something I am absolutely determined to fix.

"We continue to work hard to restore trust in the organisation.

"We are doing this by being as open and transparent as we can, by cooperating fully with reviews commissioned by the minister, by conducting a number of reviews ourselves, such as the review of RTE's two previous Voluntary Exit Programmes, and by supporting our employees as they continue to deliver important, engaging and valuable news and current affairs, drama, live sport, entertainment and more to the public every single day."

The majority of respondents surveyed referred to the payments controversy, with most saying it had led to a breakdown of trust between them and the station.

Cathy Summers, CEO of the CX Company, said the fallout demonstrated why trust was the most important element of customer experience.

"Trust is at the heart of every customer interaction and without trust there is no customer relationship. It is built up over time and should never be taken for granted," she said.

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However, Ms Summers said that the situation was salvageable, as demonstrated by other brands in the past that managed to move from the bottom of the table up the rankings.

"In 2021, the Passport Service fell from a top 20 position to 87th. This year it improved its score by over 16% and was the biggest jumper in the table, moving from 86th to 18th," she said.

The CXi Report is based on an annual survey of 2,500 people, which is carried out on behalf of the CX Company by Amarách Research.

Companies are evaluated for their performance under six key 'emotional drivers', as well as on the basis of value, affordability, and the role of employees in the customer experience.

Public sector organisations performed poorly with the sector coming second last of the 11 categories.

Others to record a poor ranking this year include the HSE (tied 138) and the Garda Síochána (137).

The national car testing service, NCT, also fell down the rankings (tied 138), with respondents citing the unavailability of tests, backlogs and long delays.

The Irish Credit Union topped the poll for the ninth year running.

The financial institution also managed to improve its score, widening the gap between it and the brands that followed it in the top ten.

The Customer Experience report's top 10

Ireland's overall CX score rose by almost 5% this year, buoyed by strong performances from companies in the supermarket and retail sectors, with representatives of both making up 26 of the Top 30 rankings.

The report said 85% of companies and organisations recorded improved scores in this year's rankings.

Pharmacies continue to perform well making up three of the top ten companies, with Allcare coming in second, Life Pharmacy at tied sixth and Hickey's eighth.

All three are part of the Uniphar Group.

Power City, which recorded the second highest score for the positive impact of their staff, breaks into the top ten for the first time this year, claiming third position.

Smyths Toystore (4) Specsavers (5), Laya Healthcare (T6), M & S Simply Food (9) and Dunnes (10) have all been in the top ten previously.

Among the biggest gainers in the latest league table were the Passport Service, Aer Lingus and Smyths Toystore.

'Naturally disappointed'

In a statement, RTÉ Director General Kevin Bakhurst said the organisation would continue to work hard to restore trust.

"While we are naturally disappointed with the results of the survey, we are very much aware of the negative impact the events of these past months have had on RTÉ's reputation, something I am absolutely determined to fix," he said.

Cathy Summers told Morning Ireland that trust was on the one of the most important elements of the customer experience.

"It's one of the things that's built up with every single interaction that you have. It's like any relationship, but it's very fragile and it's easily broken," she explained.

"Building it up can take a long time and it can be costly, but there is still hope," she said.

On the performance of the Credit Union which topped the table for the ninth year running, Ms Summers pointed to the fact that it had managed to increase its score this year to the highest it's ever been.

"They remain embedded in the community, they've got a broad network but they really have been able to adapt to Covid and how customer expectations have changed."

"They've developed good digital solutions and they're well placed to deliver mortgages," she concluded.