Eight travel businesses have been ranked as among the 50 best UK companies for customer service.

Trailfinders topped the travel sector’s representation in joint 12th place with a score of 83.3 on the list compiled by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).

Virgin Atlantic was rated in joint 14th position followed by Saga Holidays (25th), Premier Inn (31st), Center Parcs (36th), Expedia (joint 41st), and Hilton and Haven Holidays (joint 45th).

Amazon.co.uk topped the overall rankings with a customer satisfaction score of 86.6.

The ICS asked more than 10,000 people to assess their experience of individual organisations they have dealt with in the previous three months, rating the companies on factors such as professionalism, quality and efficiency, ease of doing business, timeliness, problem solving and complaint handling.

Customers said that staff competence was the most important factor – up from 11th place in 2010 – followed by staff “doing what they say they will do” and good service on the phone.

Staff attitude and behaviour is much more important to customers now than five years ago, according to the study.

The condition of delivered goods and speed of response in writing still matter, but to a lesser degree than in previous years.

ICS chief executive, Jo Causon, said: “Core ingredients of excellent customer service – employee competence, attitudes and behaviour – have become even more significant differentiators,” said

“Mass marketing or a ‘one size fits all’ customer experience is delivering diminishing returns and diluting valuable customer relationships.”

She added: “While the multi-channel environment demanded by customers has the potential to offer a faster more flexible service, it can also exacerbate problems if not done correctly.

“Challenger brands, often unencumbered by legacy systems and processes are gaining on their larger competitors by offering straightforward, personal, seamless and quick service experience. 

“This is reshaping the competitive environment around customer service and removing barriers to entry to create a real opportunity for smaller organisations to succeed against larger rivals.”