UK consumers not afraid to act on poor customer service 

More than two thirds (69 per cent) of Britons have acted on their customer service frustration by demanding to speak to a supervisor or stopping using a brand altogether, research finds.

More than two thirds (69 per cent) of Britons have acted on their customer service frustration by demanding to speak to a supervisor or stopping using a brand altogether, research finds.

As a result of poor customer service, nearly half (46 per cent) have demanded to speak to a supervisor and over a third (34 per cent) have either cancelled their service or stopping using a company, according to an online study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of ClickSoftware.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults, which looks at the frustrations consumers face when dealing with companies, finds utility companies come top in the league with nearly a third (32 per cent) of people naming them the most frustrating industry to deal with for service issues.

In a year where energy companies have been blighted by billing problems, over half (52 per cent) of Britons who find utility companies among the two most frustrating spent over an hour trying to resolve an issue, such as dealing with a billing problem or loss of power, with 4.3 hours the average time people had to wait.

Communication service providers come a close second with over a quarter (29 per cent) of people fed up with the time they wasted, followed by central government (18 per cent) and banking (15 per cent), third and fourth respectively.

UK workers are having to take time off to attend to matters during their working hours to resolve issues. The study reveals a total loss of nearly £15 billion a year, and an individual loss of almost £500 per person.

According to the research, one in ten (13 per cent) have been driven so crazy by poor service they have admitted to losing their cool and yelling at a service representative.

Robert Williams, vice president of UK & Ireland at ClickSoftware says the study is a timely reminder for businesses that customer service is still one of the biggest factors in attracting and retaining customers.

Bad customer service is costing business up to a third of their revenue, and the knock on effect is that people are having to take precious holiday time just to deal with things that could and should be sorted much more easily.’

Aly Pinder, senior research analyst at Aberdeen Group says that satisfied customers help drive retention and profitability for service organisations.

‘Our research found those that reached a 90 per cent+ customer satisfaction rate achieved an annual 6.1 per cent growth in service revenue, 3.7 per cent growth in overall revenue, and an 89 per cent level of customer retention,’ he adds.

‘Considering the high cost to the bottom line, there is no justification for under-performance. Service organisations of all sizes should consider adopting tools to improve forecasting, planning and invest in mobile tools to provide field workers better access to information and the ability to communicate in real-time.’

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