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Complaints increasing & customers want better service!

The Institute of Customer Service has released its annual UK Customer Satisfaction Index today, 25 January 2022 and reveals that complaints are up!

The report comes out twice a year, this was my analysis of the figures in July last year.

man talking across table to coupleImprovements in complaint handling

The report this year reveals that consumers have experienced some significant improvements in complaint handling.

However…! 16.4% of consumers say that they have experienced a problem with a company in the last year. This may indicate that people are getting better at complaining and doing it more often. It is not necessarily that customer service is getting any better!

It is difficult to tell if there really is an improvement or whether the complexities of the COVID-19 context changes things. At the beginning of the pandemic we were seeing more tolerance of poor customer service and consumers making allowances. As time has gone by consumers’ no longer tolerate the “COVID excuse.

Complaints to companies on the increase

The number of customers who made a complaint to a company increased to 13.1% from 11.7% in the previous year.

The research also showed that 34% of customers will pay for better service. This is an increase of 4.5 percent compared to a year ago and 8.1 points more than in the January 2020 UKCSI. Customers who prefer excellent service, even if it costs more, have higher levels of satisfaction with organisations than other customers.

Invest in customer service

I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall when I try to advise businesses on investing in customer service!

It doesn’t always have to cost more, because in the long run the investment will mean more satisfied customers who do the heavy lifting of the marketing for them. More satisfied customers and less time spent on dealing with issues means increased sales!

Improve ethical choices

The research further showed that “significant numbers of customers deliberately choose an organisation for a range of ethical reasons, especially a focus on customer service, local relevance and or commitment to environmental sustainability.”

Consumers are demanding more from companies which need to step up their game to survive. They want better customer service and for companies to do more to commit to environmentally friendly practices.

What do consumers want?

The report sends out a loud and clear signal to companies. Consumers want better service and they are prepared to pay for it. Consumers are frequently time poor and companies need to realise that consumers value their time and would rather pay for better service than pay less and be inconvenienced.

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Join the Facebook Group Customer Service: Compassion, Care and  Integrity  A private group where you can give and get support, advice and share good practice on how to improve complaint handling.

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By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

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