American companies improved the quality of their service in the past year, according to almost half of 179 chief executive officers and human resources executives of Fortune 500 companies surveyed by Paul Ray & Carre Orban International, an executive search firm.But 44 percent said service quality remained the same, and 10 percent saw a decrease in quality. Among 10 industries, health care ranked lowest, while the telecommunications, technology, and hotel/leisure industries all got high ratings from over 80 percent of respondents. Low on the list were the automotive, financial services, retailing, and airline industries. While 52 percent of the respondents thought United States companies in general offer "very good" service, 44 percent rated service "only fair."

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