Nearly half (47 per cent) of those surveyed have boycotted a company that has let them down, while more than three-quarters (77 per cent) share their bad experiences with family and friends.
Some 47 per cent file a complaint, and 26 per cent post a review online, according to the YouGov survey of 2,082 people.
According to 22 per cent of respondents, it’s utility companies that offer the worst customer service, followed by high street retailers selected by 21 per cent.
James Hammill, head of apprenticeships at training provider Kaplan, which commissioned the survey, says the research is a ‘wake-up call’ for businesses, which should consider the wider damage to their reputation.
‘With the race to capture consumer cash more competitive than ever, good customer service has never been so important,’ he suggests.
Staff talking to each other when a customer is waiting for assistance was the biggest irritant for 48 per cent of respondents.
The Institute of Customer Service’s director of strategic marketing and communications, Duncan Baker, says, ‘Good customer service means, among other skills, attending to queries quickly and efficiently, adopting the correct tone and manner and sensing the customer’s needs immediately.’