Less than 1% of shoppers think petrol stations deliver good customer service, according to a poll by Retail Eyes.

The National Customer Satisfaction survey of 5,712 UK shoppers revealed that only 0.8% of shoppers felt they got good service at forecourts.

Furthermore, 92% confirmed they had left an establishment before making a purchase after receiving poor customer service, which is 36% higher than Retail Eyes’ 2009 survey, and 74% agreed they would actually be prepared to pay more for a product if it meant they received a better service.

Tim Ogle, CEO at Retail Eyes, said: “Our survey has highlighted that there’s a real opportunity to use customer experience as a genuine point of difference to improve customer loyalty and repeat business.

“With the looming VAT rise consumers are continuing to be more considered in their spending decisions and businesses need to look at how every aspect of their business can deliver value to their customers.

“Customer service is going to be vital to survive and it’s clear from our survey that the first point of call should be ensuring staff are interacting correctly with consumers.”

Of the shoppers polled, 50% believe the best attribute for providing good customer service is “listening and understanding what the customer is looking for”. And when a shopper asks where to find a product, 76% expect to be taken to its location and not just pointed in the general direction.

However, overall impressions can be simply affected by staff appearance with 87% believing it will change their overall perception of the service.

Even up to the point of paying, customers still want to engage. Half of the respondents said that when they’re paying for a product they prefer to enter into some conversation other than that specific to the transaction.

When asked which sector delivers the best customer service, hotels came out on top with 27% by restaurants at 22%. Banks received 8% with pubs and bars only receiving 4% of the vote.