Service levels in the travel and leisure industry are slightly above the national average but customer satisfaction levels across all sectors have started to drop in the last year, according to the Institute of Customer Service.


Figures revealed during an Aspire Business Breakfast at the V&A Museum, hosted by Kuoni and sponsored by Celebrity Cruises and Holiday Extras, showed travel and leisure achieved a rating on average of 80 out of 100 compared to a UK average of 77.


Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, said: “Travel and leisure sits slightly above average. There will be those over 80 and those well under.”


The institute’s customer satisfaction index, which surveyed 12,000 individuals across 13 different industries, also showed that customers satisfaction levels overall had improved over the last five years but worryingly, had started to fall in the last 12 months.


Part of this could be due to increasing demands and expectations of consumers, but she warned: “In many cases we have taken our eye off the ball.”


She added: “There is a relationship between customer satisfaction and performance. If it’s starting to fall that’s not going to be great.”


The service industry makes up 78% of the country’s gross domestic product, according to Causon.


“It’s a really significant driver in the performance of the UK; 70% of people are employed in customer or customer-facing roles so the industry is critical,” said Causon.


The top performing service sector is retail with companies such as John Lewis and Marks & Spencer’s food stores demonstrating there is a “direct correlation” between high level of customer service and financial performance.