What Are Our Biggest Customer Service Gripes?

Customer service has changed quite a lot in the past few years, with the availability of more options like web based chats or customer service via Twitter and Facebook, as well as more traditional things like call centres. While in some ways this has led to better experiences, it seems that we still as a region, and as a nation, believe that most businesses don’t provide us with the quality of customer service we deserve.

It is well known to anybody who is in business that treating your customers as valuable people is intrinsic to keeping them, and that customer retention is vital, however within large organisations it seems that this message gets lost on its way down to the people who devise customer service processes, and the representatives who actually deal with customers.

Statistics reveal what some of our biggest gripes about UK customer service are, and here, we take a look at why these things are frustrating for us, and probably costing the businesses who exhibit them business, too:

When Customer Service Isn’t Accessible

73% of customers in the UK have stopped doing business with a company because they simply couldn’t get the customer service they wanted. Examples of their reasons include becoming frustrated with automated systems on customer service phone lines, having to repeat their information to several people as they get transferred between departments, and the perception that the people they were speaking to didn’t have their customer information readily available, so they had to interact with them for too long explaining their history. These statistics should trouble businesses, who would also benefit from quicker call handling and better customer record access for their representatives. What may be even more annoying than all of these, however, is when it is difficult to find a customer service number at all – a problem so common that there is even a third party service at contacttelephonenumbers.com that helps people find numbers for some of the UK’s biggest companies.


Sometimes customer service isn’t about people with issues or complaints, but about making it a pleasant experience to do business with a company in the first place. While Brits have a reputation for being polite about queuing, statistics reveal we are getting less patient, and will now view a wait of more than two minutes in a physical or telephone queue as frustrating or unacceptable – down from five minutes in previous studies. 51% of UK consumers also admitted that sometimes they won’t even go in a shop if it has a big queue.

Unfair Fees and Charges

One of the main reasons people contact customer service for organisations like banks and service providers appears to be unfair fees and services, with 22% of people listing these as their main customer service problem. Adding fees where it isn’t really fair can seem like an easy revenue stream for businesses, but they may be doing themselves more harm than good by damaging their reputation, increasing complaints, and leading customers to walk away.

What are your biggest customer service gripes? Let us know in the comments!


Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on petejwhite.com

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