By Daniel Hunter

Customer service in the UK has plateaued for the first time, according to the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI).

The overall UKCSI has levelled out over the last year, achieving 78 out of 100 in July 2012 and 77.9 in July 2013.

Yet, this masks considerable movement in organisations’ scores, with consistent high performers racing ahead.

The UKCSI is the national measure of customer satisfaction, from the Institute of Customer Service (ICS), which gauges the quality of UK customer service each year. July 2013’s sample includes 30,683 responses from 9,890 customers.

Waitrose (88.5) and first direct (87.2) continue to score highly. Meanwhile, M&S (non-food) appears in the top five for the first time with a rating of 86.7 while Sainsbury’s Insurance has greatly improved (76.2 in July 2012 to 81.1 in July 2013).

John Lewis is the highest scoring organisation overall and appears in the UKCSI top five for the third consecutive year, achieving 90.8 out of 100.

The retail industry continues to dominate the UKCSI, with non-food retail scoring 84.4 out of 100 and food retail 81.6.

“Despite some strong performances over the last six months, the fact that UK customer satisfaction has levelled off suggests that organisations could be doing more to improve their customer service," Jo Causon, Chief Executive of the Institute of Customer Service, commented.

“In a fast-paced, recessionary world, consumers have become increasingly discerning and more willing to act if they experience poor service. As a result, those dynamic organisations that are adapting to changing customer needs are continuing to out-perform their competitors.

“The success of both established brands with a reputation for service, as well as more recent challengers, demonstrates that customer service is a key differentiator that enables organisations to respond in tough economic conditions.”

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