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Customer Satisfaction is up – but so is the time customers take to get issues resolved…

The Institute of Customer Service show issues with resolving complaints

The ICS provides results of customer service survey

The Institute of Customer Service yesterday released survey results revealing that the overall level of customer satisfaction has increased. But the survey of more than 10,000 customers also shows that customers are having to work harder to explain.

In short, it’s taking customers more time and effort to get results from the companies they contact. For example, more than half the people surveyed (51%) say we have to get in touch with businesses more than twice to get issues resolved, in the event of a problem.

The increase could be due to higher volumes of customer transactions as the economy improves. However, the increase in effort needed to resolve an issue highlights the need for businesses to do more. The Institute of Customer Service CEO, Jo Causon, says “To turn this around, a greater focus should be given to making things easier and less cumbersome for customers”.

Businesses need to do more about training their staff from the shop floor up to the board and changing the ethos of how they deal with complaints, looking in particular at more modern and popular ways of complaining, such as email, webchat and social media.

Comment on the customer service results

Marcus Williamson, editor of the website, which provides contact details for CEOs, is not surprised by the results. He says:

“We’re seeing customers not getting the answers they want from customer service because those staff are not well trained or because they are not empowered to make a different to the customer’s experience. In these cases, an email to the CEO can get the action that’s needed to make a difference”

Consumer expert Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! is not surprised by the results. She has seen an increase in people wanting advice on what to do next when they haven’t got redress at the first stage. She says that this is down to poor training and also people not knowing their legal rights. For example one key law she quotes is The Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015, which replaced the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, amongst others, which people still try and use. “People need to know and quote appropriate legislation, as under the CRA customers are entitled to services carried out with reasonable skill and care, goods that are as described, are fit for purpose, are of satisfactory quality and be durable.”

5 Tips for efficient and effective complaining:

  • You have 30 days from purchase to claim a refund, after this time you may be offered a repair or replacement. (Consumer Rights Act 2015)
  • In the first instance write to the customer services department politely and objectively so that you have a written record of evidence. Then escalate to the CEO if you are not happy with response or if you have waited more than 10 working days for an answer. He/she will not necessarily respond personally but your case will then be escalated to the Executive Customer Services team to be resolved.
  • Quote the relevant laws.
  • Say what you want to happen, refund, explanation, apology, etc.
  • Say what you will do if not satisfied with the response, such as going to the relevant ombudsman or Small Claims Court.

Top 20 Tips on efficient and effective complaining

Institute of Customer Service video on the results:

Customer satisfaction in the UK

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


For  lots more help advice, information, tips, laws and template letters GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!


By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

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

3 replies on “Customer Satisfaction is up – but so is the time customers take to get issues resolved…”

Hello, I am currently complaining about an erroneously taken DD to the insurance company who took it. As I paid by card, my next payment is due 24th March, so they took a duplicate which the bank told me about. I also found on my online account with the insurance company a default letter telling me that if I don’t pay again by 16th March, my policy will be cancelled. They have not posted this letter to me, despite me ticking for everything to be posted to me, but assume I am automatically going to sign in on my Saturday to their website. This has resulted in charge of £25.00 and bank charge of £35.00. It took me two hours to sign into their website just to find out how to contact them, as my password did not work because I was too stressed to recall it. I found out how to do this, my rights under the DD guarantee and followed some of the tips on your site, thank you. I got a drogo response…accepting an error was made but, oh get’s my fault for making the card payment, as instructed by them on renewal, for the first month, as the DD WAS in their words in flight. They have reset my DD, but there are now extra charges for some imagination missing payment that does not exist. As there is not a default, nor a missing payment, what are they on about? They screwed up the DD through their error. Simple. They don’t even acknowledge now the default letter, the extra charges or responsibility. I am now also thinking have they lost my payment, so confusing and full of jargan was their response.

Reading further some tips in your book, I have complained again, this time to someone more senior, a named person…about the original problem, the way it was handled and the other subsequent consequences. I have also asked for a plain English response and explanation. I have further asked for the charges to be paid and the default letter deleted. I have also asked for confirmation of my future DD PAYMENT as the original schedule has been altered. I have also charged a fee for my time. I am willing to take this further, but am worried about court fees as my husband and I are on a very limited budget. I may have a twenty one year old car, but that does not give these silly people the right to dismiss or blame me for their errors.

I would just like to thank you for your tips and time in making such a wonderful helpful book. Many thanks. I will let you know if I have any better response and success. Thanks again. You are what we call a People’s Champion.

Hello, reporting almost success. At first I was not getting anywhere as it takes eight weeks to get a response normally. I needed the default letter cancelled first so I persisted. I have had this removed so the idiot computer dose not automatically cancel my policy from 16th March because nobody told it otherwise. I have had experience of this happening a while ago when a previous company lost several payments while my husband was critically ill in hospital. LV lost seven payments in nine months. I had a direct line to a manager who forgot to intervene afterwards and stop the policy being cancelled. Thankfully I was not driving at the time. So the first thing I have been anxious about was this default letter.

The company have stopped default letter, found my missing payment, admitted error and taken full responsibility for the direct debit error. As they now said they would take my next payment on 17th as normal, which is also incorrect however, I had to contact again and remind them it was 24th March as per my Schedule and agreed dd date, which is not movable as this is when my medical pension goes in. Yes, got an immediate apology…his mistake and a new correct Schedule. So all the errors are now corrected. This could have been sorted a week ago had not someone doing overtime interfered and made matters worse by blaming me. I have spent a whole week on this and my time is valuable. It’s now about getting them to pay the bank charge and for my time and inconvenience and my anxiety. They know about my anxiety, it’s on the insurance proposal form as I am on medication, which does not always work. These are one of the few companies who don’t ask for a medical assessment for people with mental health problems. So finding new insurance would not be easy and besides they also happen to be the cheapest. I won’t be renewing next year…not after this. I have a twenty one year old car. I would rather sell it and use a taxi than go through any more needless stress from insurance companies. Thanks again for your help.

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