‘Customer complaints costing UK businesses £9bn a month’

Dissatisfaction with services and products has reached record levels

Net Hero Podcast

Consumer and customer complaints have reached record levels recently, costing British businesses £9.24 billion each month in staff hours.

That’s according to research by the Institute of Customer Service, revealing that 17.3% of UK customers are currently experiencing issues with a service or product – the highest level since recording started in 2008.

Global supply chain issues and skills shortages are deemed the key contributors to this trend, as businesses struggle to cope with ongoing financial and workforce issues.

More than 10,000 consumers have been polled across 13 sectors to gauge how customers are feeling about their services.

Distribution Network Operator UK Power Networks (UKPN) was the top company in the UK for customer service, according to the report – followed by Timpson, John Lewis, Tesco Mobile and Suzuki to make up the top five.

UKPN has achieved the milestone due to swift compensation payments to customers who had their power cut off during Storms Eunice and Franklin earlier this year – the company received high ratings for trust and transparency.

However, across the UK there are record labour shortages – with 1.3 million unfilled jobs currently available. This has led to a spike in customer dissatisfaction, as companies struggle to provide competent customer service with not enough staff to work the hours.

Jo Causon, CEO at The Institute of Customer Service, said: “Many businesses are already struggling to deliver consistent levels of service hampered by staff shortages, supply issues and geopolitical upheaval.

“Organisations cannot avoid these issues. They will need to develop service strategies that are responsive to evolving customer needs but also protect short and long-term business performance.

“UK business is suffering from a loss of productivity owing to the time spent resolving customer complaints and service failures. For me it’s clear that a carefully calibrated focus on service is crucial to boosting performance and addressing the broader challenges of societal polarisation, inclusivity and wellbeing.”