Today’s a big day for companies – it’s their chance to get hold of a Which? Award. Here we reveal the winners. What do you think of them, and do the awards make a difference to the products and services you use?
The Which? Awards are to companies what the Oscars are to actors – a chance to puff up with pride at their achievements and walk away with a shiny trophy for the mantelpiece (or in this case, the company cabinet).
But winning a Which? Award isn’t just about a lavish ceremony – companies get to shout about it for a whole year, using the logo in their marketing materials so consumers can see just how good they are. That’s gold dust to companies – and we’re happy about that – but we’re even happier about the benefits it has for consumers.
We know, from many conversations with companies over the five years we’ve been running the awards, that they are desperate to get their hands on one. Many quiz us about how we judge them – and act on what we tell them, which means a better product or service for everyone.
Some of this year’s winners, for example, showed that they had improved their price ratings, making their products better value for money than in previous years. Others had clearly upped their game with more Best Buys than before.
So how do we decide the winners?
In all but two categories, the awards are determined by Which? experts, who pore over the results of our own investigations, surveys and test results to select a shortlist and overall winner in each category.
The Which? Local Business of the Year and The Good Food Guide Reader’s Restaurant of the Year are judged slightly differently. We ask the public to vote (we’ve had over 250,000 for the best restaurant and over 100,000 for best business) and then The Good Food Guide and Which? Local choose the overall winner for their categories.
And the winners are…
Drum roll please, as we reveal this year’s winners:
- Best financial services provider – First Direct
- Best online retailer – Liz Earle
- Best home audio-visual brand and best portable media brand – Samsung
- Best large home appliance brand – Bosche
- Best high street retailer – Richer Sounds
- Best photography brand – Canon
- Best small home appliance brand – Philips
- Best travel company – Trailfinders
- Best supermarket – Waitrose
- Best mobile service provider – Tesco Mobile
- Best car manufacturer – Hyundai
- Which? Local business of the year: Mand Made Electricians in Sheffield
- Good Food Guide’s restaurant of the year – Orwells, in Henley-on-Thames
And there are some new awards this year, too, including two special ones – the Positive Change Award, which went to Barclays for consistently working to improve customer experience, particularly offering to pay out PPI on a no-quibble basis. They also reworked their staff incentive structure after it became clear that customers weren’t happy with sales tactics in banking.
And the Consumer Action Award was won by Co-operative Energy, a new player in the energy market who have pledged to put customers first, giving the energy market a well-needed shake-up.
So what do you think of our winners – would you have picked these companies or are there others that top your personal list? And do you take notice of the Which? Awards icon when you’re out and about?