More and more people in the UK are going online to communicate with businesses in the tourism industry and it seems that they are pretty satisfied with the service they get on these channels, according to recent research.
The UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) study, compiled by the Institute of Customer Service, found that 44% of tourism customers used a digital channel in their last interaction with a company in the sector. This was the highest percentage of online customers measured across industries, the institute said. Meanwhile, 7.7% of tourism customers who reported a problem with their service did so via social media, which was again the most of any industry.
Out of the 13 sectors analysed, tourism was ranked sixth in terms of customer satisfaction. Respondents gave the industry an overall score of 80 on a scale of 1 to 100, or 2.9 percentage points above the national average of 77.1.
The tourism sector also fared well in terms of customer expectations and a company's ability to address them adequately. The sector performed better than most other industries again, providing better-than-expected service 22% of the time and failing to meet the expectations of just 9% of people.
Tourism companies also seem better at preventing problems for customers: only 7.3% of consumers said they had encountered an issue against a national average of 12.8%. Clients in this sector, however, were more likely to report a problem, with four out of five doing so, higher than the average rate of 73% for all sectors. Poor quality of goods/service and suitability were the most common reasons for complaints, as mentioned by a respective 37% and 30% of customers.
As would be expected, some tourism companies perform much better than other industry players. This trend was reflected in the report, which pointed to a 26-point gap between the company ranked at the top of the table and the one placed at the bottom.
The index also highlighted the fact that customer satisfaction often goes hand in hand with loyalty, with companies ranked higher than competitors usually enjoying a greater percentage of customers planning to continue using its products, to repurchase and to recommend them to friends and family.
Companies with higher UKCSI rates meet more of the 28 customer priorities outlined by the institute, chief executive Jo Causon said. And they have a greater potential to boost their loyalty rating, which is generally associated with improved performance. According to Causon, sector players have a great chance to win a solid competitive edge using service, especially if they adopt an integrated approach that encompasses a strong digital presence.