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Customer service 'is improving'


By Sarah Tawton

Almost a quarter of people think customer service is getting better, a new poll shows.

Some 23% of consumers said they believed service was improving - up from just 9% at the start of the financial crisis in 2008.

And although 29% think customer service is getting worse, this figure has more than halved from 64% over the same period.

Uncompetitive prices and poor product quality were among the reasons cited for poor service.

Poor service causes customers to switch energy providers

Others said they had suffered a bad attitude from staff and one in three felt their complaint had been poorly handled.

Poor customer service was more likely to convince customers to switch energy providers (9%) than banks (5%).

Online media was also found to have contributed to improvements in customer service.

Almost half of those surveyed said reviews on sites such as Amazon or TripAdvisor had influenced their opinion when buying or choosing products or services.

One in five people (20%) said they had complained or commented about poor service using social media.

'Businesses still have a long way to go'

The poll of more than 2,000 UK adults was carried out by Opinion Matters for the British Standards Institution (BSI).

It released the study to coincide with the launch of its revised customer standard BS 8477, which now includes more guidance around the use of technology, such as online and social media.

BSI head of market development for services, Dan Palmer, said: "Good customer service is a critical and essential element in customer retention.

"Although this research shows that customer service has improved greatly, businesses still have a long way to go in bolstering the loyalty of their customers.

"Businesses need to work smarter to stand out from the competition and to meet customer expectations. Standards such as BS 8477 can help them to get there."

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