The utility sector has seen the biggest drop in negative perception, narrowly escaping being ranked the worst for customer service.
A new survey revealed nearly one-third (32%) of respondents selected public transport and train operators as providing the worst customer experience.
Around 31% chose utilities – 9% less than a year ago. It is also said to be the most positive change among the 14 sectors the research covered, including banking, public services and broadband.
The survey found openness and honesty were the most valued traits (49%), followed by efficiency (43%) and reliability (41%).
It also revealed customers are nearly twice as likely to recommend a company or brand based on the quality of service (62%) than the price (35%).
Oliver King, co-founder of Engine, which conducted the survey said: “A lot less people think utilities provide the worst customer experience than last year, however, there’s still much room for improvement, particularly in the minds of women who are more likely to think the experience is poor.
He believes efforts to make switching suppliers quicker and price comparison sites making deals “more transparent” have influenced the result.
Mr King however adds more needs to be done: “Utility firms can’t afford to think about what’s important to their ‘average customer’ – that person doesn’t exist. Instead, they need to think of the different customer profiles and tailor the experience accordingly for each one.”
The banking sector saw the second largest drop (6%) in bad customer service.