By Claire West

The retail industry remains the strongest performing sector for customer service, with internet retailers stealing a march on their high street competitors, according to the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI).

Online fashion retailer, ASOS, achieves the highest overall customer satisfaction in the Index, with almost 92 out of a maximum score of 100, equalling Amazon’s record high score set in January of this year.

ASOS is closely followed by Amazon and online bank, First Direct, in the overall customer satisfaction stakes.

The picture across the UKCSI as a whole is positive, as customer service in the UK continues to improve. The average score across all organisations is 78 out of 100, up slightly from 77.4 in January 2012. An impressive 44% of organisations scored above 80.

Since January, every sector included in the UKCSI improved its rating, except local authorities (74.8), which remained consistent with its January score of 74.9.

Non-food and food retail lead the UKCSI sector performance rankings, with local service providers narrowly behind (81.5). Other strong industries for customer satisfaction include automotive (80.9), leisure (80.8) and tourism (80.5). Financial services, including banking and insurance, scores above 78.

Sectors scoring below average (achieving between 72 and 75) include local authorities, national government services, telecommunications, transport and utilities.

The UKCSI is the national measure of customer satisfaction. The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) gauges the quality of customer service in the UK by surveying 26,000 consumers each year.

Jo Causon, Chief Executive of the Institute of Customer Service, comments: “The overall improvement in the UKCSI is an encouraging indicator that organisations are continuing to prioritise and invest in customer service.

“However, the increased diversity in customer satisfaction reflects customers’ growing sensitivity to the experience they receive in a challenging economic climate.

“With less disposable income, consumers are far more discerning. In this environment, service will be the key differentiator, helping to deliver a tangible impact on customer retention, loyalty, and ultimately, the bottom line.”