Transport sector sees customer satisfaction travelling in the right direction

22nd Sep 2015

Despite provoking the ire of commuters and tourists because of long delays and poor customer service, the transport sector is showing signs of change, with customer satisfaction levels reaching their highest point since July 2013.  However, the sector sits in ninth place, out of 13 sectors analysed in the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), suggesting there is room for further improvement.

The latest UKCSI, published by the Institute of Customer Service, reveals that the transport sector has improved customer satisfaction by 0.8 points over the past 12 months – an improvement that is better than the national average (0.2 points), but still lower than the score of 73.1, achieved two years ago.

According to the UKCSI this improvement has been driven by a focus on pricing, the quality of the online checkout process and support available via websites.  Complaints in the sector are also down – 8.8 percent of customers registered a complaint in the past 3 months, compared to 9.7 percent one year ago.

Ten organisations within the sector improved their scores in the latest UKCSI, whilst 8 saw their scores fall. Virgin Atlantic, Thomson and Jet2 were the best performers, also appearing in the UKCSI top 50 organisations, across all sectors.

Customer service on a journey
Despite the progress, there is still room for improvement.  The data shows, for example, that of the 28 metrics analysed in the UKCSI, the transport sector falls behind the national average in 27 areas.  Additionally, 41.6 percent of customers claim they had a problem but did not report it – meaning that some issues remain unresolved and unknown.  Worryingly, 62 percent of those who did not report a problem said they kept quiet because they felt ‘making a complaint would make no difference.’

The data also suggests that if organisations in the transport sector focus on making offline ticket purchasing and travelling easier for customers, there would be a considerable uplift to their overall score.

Speed of service continues to remain a problem for the sector – with customers giving the sector a score of 74.1, compared to the national average of 75.9.  When asked about quality and efficiency customers give a score of 72.0, compared to 76.0 across all sectors. 
The latest UKCSI goes on to indicate that the greatest opportunity for improvement is with face-to-face interaction between customers and staff, highlighting the importance of staff engagement and customer service training. For example, the most common response to a complaint by an organisation in the Transport sector is either ‘an apology’ or ‘disinterest’, an inconsistency that is damaging the reputation of many businesses in this sector.

Regional differences
Analysis shows that there is a polarisation of views and satisfaction levels, depending on where customers live.  Those based in Scotland are the most satisfied with transport companies, and those in the South West, the least content.

“The gap in customer satisfaction levels is clearly closing between transport and other sectors, suggesting that efforts to improve service levels are beginning to have a positive effect.  However, there is clearly a polarisation of performance, with some organisations succeeding through a sustained focus on service whilst others struggle to adapt and compete,” says Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service.

“Driving the next phase of improvement will be harder still, yet our report highlights the areas where leaders in this sector should focus to deliver the greatest returns.   One of the areas to focus on is securing feedback because, if problems remain unknown, it becomes harder to keep customers happy.  It is also critical for the transport sector to continue building on a culture of customer service at board level and filter this down through the organisation, providing training and support to members of staff to allow them the opportunity to deliver the best customer service.”


Notes to editors
For further information please contact:

Nathan Field / Michael Creane / Tom Ingoldby (Chameleon PR)
E: [email protected]
T:  020 7680 5500

About The Institute of Customer Service
The Institute of Customer Service is the professional body for customer service delivering tangible benefit to organisations and individuals so that our customers can improve their customers’ experience and their own business performance.  The Institute is a membership body with a community of over 400 organisational members – from the private, public and third sectors – and over 5,000 individual memberships.  For more information about the Institute of Customer Service go 

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