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Customer service complaints hit 6-month high: People tired of Covid ‘excuses’

Customer service complaints hit 6-month high: People tired of Covid ‘excuses’

The number of complaints about poor customer service in the last six months was at its highest level since 2009 and customers are tired of Covid being used as an excuse, according to new research.

The UK Institute of Customer Service has released new research revealing people were initially tolerant of delays and other issues as businesses fought to cope with the effects of the crisis, but the blanket excuse was no longer sufficient.

The sectors with the biggest issues were transport, local public services – such as GP surgeries, councils and police services, and telecommunications, the survey suggested.

A quarter of those asked said that some organisations had used Covid as an excuse for poor service.

Jo Causon, the institute’s chief executive, said: “Saying ‘because of Covid’ is not a good phrase,” Organisations must not hide behind this blanket statement.

Causon said that many businesses had responded admirably to the difficulties created by the pandemic. She said that managed queuing systems, such as inviting people to call at quieter times, was one area of success.

Delays in deliveries had also arisen owing to the container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March, and border issues as a result of Brexit.

Keith Povey, director of marketing of review and customer insights platform, Feefo argues that with the 19th July just round the corner, now is the time for businesses to reinvigorate their customer service to achieve long term success and the key to doing this is through meeting the demand for instant communication.

“Having spent more time online during the past year people have become more vocal, with customers 29% more likely to leave feedback now than before the pandemic,” Povey said. “This sheer volume of inbound communications has made it incredibly difficult for brands to respond constructively, or analyse the trends emerging from the disruption to our normal routines. This has led to customer experience ratings falling across all sectors, sometimes by as much as 18.5%.

“We’re living through a watershed moment for marketers. Most restrictions on our behaviours are due to lift on July 19th and customer expectations for their experiences with brands will be sky high. It’s important for brands to get ahead of this paradigm shift and satisfy the customer’s desire for instant communication and exceptional service, as well as developing their smart tools to understand the evolving sentiments behind purchase decisions.”


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