There is perhaps nothing quite as exasperating as bad customer service, and a recent survey carried out by uSwitch shows that Brits get more than their fair share of it: 65% of consumers say they regularly experience poor customer service.
Eighty-three percent report regularly wasting time on hold, while six in 10 report encountering poor staff attitude.
While the number of people being subjected to long lines, bad attitudes, or shoddy service isn’t surprising, the number willing to speak up about it is. Only 27% of consumers say that they will ‘complain without fail’ when dissatisfied, and 10% rarely or never complain at all.
Letting them get away with it
The reasons consumers claim they do not bother voicing their unhappiness are varied: 60% don’t complain because they say there is no point, and that their complaint won’t make a difference; 58% can’t be bothered, saying it’s not worth the hassle.
A quarter of consumers don’t speak up out of fear, either due to lack of confidence, feeling intimidated or because of a previous bad experience involved with complaining.
Is anybody listening?
Exactly half (50%) report having had their problems resolved right away ‘at times’. Meanwhile, 36% say they had to persevere with their complaint because they were initially dismissed. About 20% had to pull out the big guns — including taking their issue to an Ombudsman or arbitrator. One per cent went so far as to take legal action.
Almost half of consumers report facing some obstruction from a company when trying to complain, while another 32% had to endure rudeness. Almost a quarter of survey respondents say a member of staff refused to provide their name.
The impact of poor service
Back in February, it was reported that only four in 10 trusted their energy supplier. This number had dropped by 5% in less than two years, with poor customer service being noted as contributing to this decrease. Customers said their energy supplier was ‘unhelpful’ and ‘guilty of poor communication’ when it came to important information about their energy bill.
Know your rights
Many consumers’ willingness to complain has to do with the kind of company they are dealing with.
Nearly 70% ‘feel confident’ about complaining to a retailer, including high street shops and supermarkets. That number drops to just 55% when it comes to complaining about utility companies. And less than 40% will speak up when dissatisfied with a Government department.