Tourism customers are taking advantage of digital methods to interact with organisations through websites and social media.
The UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), the national measure of customer satisfaction published by the Institute of Customer Service, found that 44% of customers – the highest proportion in any sector surveyed – used online methods for their last transaction with a company in the tourism sector.
Tourism rates sixth out of 13 sectors for customer satisfaction with a UKCSI score of 80 (out of 100), 2.9 points higher than the national average of 77.1 UKCSI also asked customers whether the organisations they dealt with met their expectations. The tourism sector performs better than most exceeding the expectations of consumers 22% of the time and only failed to meet expectations for 9% of people.
The index demonstrates a close correlation between customer satisfaction and loyalty; those in the sector that achieve higher UKCSI scores relative to their competitors receive, on average, higher rates of intention to remain a customer, repurchase and recommend.
Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service commented: “There is a clear link between customer satisfaction and business performance. Companies that are performing well are delivering across the range of 28 customer priorities assessed in the UKCSI and are able to improve their loyalty rating which is strongly linked to improved performance. In this sector organisations have the potential to differentiate using service, especially through an integrated approach with a strong online presence.”
The tourism sector performs better than most sectors in preventing problems occurring for customers; 7.3% of customers said they have experienced a problem, significantly less than the national average of 12.8%. However tourism customers were much more likely to report a problem; 80% of them did so compared to 73% for the average across all sectors. The most commonly cited problems were quality of goods/ services (cited by 37% of customers) and suitability (30% of customers).
Jo added: “In an industry where experience is everything it is extremely important that those working in this sector are consistently meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations. The high use of social media by customers means that organisations need to constantly monitor customer feedback, in order to resolve issues, understand future needs and protect and enhance their reputation.”