It has been revealed in a report that UK customer service complaints have hit their highest levels since they were started to get measured. This rise in complaints has cost British business an estimated 9 billion GPB a month.
UK Customer Satisfaction Index has revealed that the number of customer complaints has risen to 17.3% from 15.9% in a year, from July 2021 to July 2022. This is the highest level of customer complaints since 2008 when the measuring started.
But, it is not due to the lower quality of goods and services, because customer satisfaction (CSAT) is rising. This is all a result of improvements in the complaint and customer handling.
The biggest issue of all turned out to be supply chain issues and general shortages. These two reasons made up most of the complaints. And these complaints are not just harmful to the companies by tarnishing their reputation and driving the customers away. The fiscal damage they are causing is also pretty serious.
It is estimated that UK businesses are paying 9.24 billion GBP a month for additional worker hours due to customer complaints.
But, surprisingly, even though there is a never before seen number of customer complaints, the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) is 1 point higher than in July 2022. It is currently at 78.4%, which is the highest it has ever been. This increase is believed to be because of complaint handling, which has seen significant improvements over the last year.
One of the main contributors to the increased number of complaints was of course the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought the world to a halt for almost 2 years. The pandemic has not only affected the supply chains lagging behind their schedules but also agents getting burned out and customers being more frustrated than usual.
Another reason which contributed to the increased number of complaints is a change in customer preferences and expectations. Customers now see the quality of service, product, or experience as one of the main reasons for their grading. Especially in key sectors of telecommunications, retail – non-food, retail – food, insurance, and utilities. And brands were lagging behind on balancing customer experience with customer expectations.
Customer expectations are really high, and brands need to step up their game if they wish to please them. Customers want to talk to brands and companies through the same channels they use to talk to their family and friends. By engaging in these channels with customers, companies can reduce churn, improve brand loyalty, grow revenues, and improve their efficiency.
The question which arises is which action can a company take to face the issue of rising customer complaints?
A surprisingly large number of customers (35%) answered that they are willing to pay more for good service, and just a third of them (12%) answered that they are willing to overlook the customer service quality in order to receive a lower price. So companies need to find a perfect balance in order to please their customers.
One of the most areas to focus on is the rising cost of living crisis. One must address the mental, physical and financial welfare of their employees and understand that both they, and the customers are vulnerable.
The rising cost of living is making people choose what they spend their money on, so it might seem intuitive to keep prices low and attract more customers and keep the customer experience unattended. But this might be a wrong move because customer complaints might outweigh any advantage that a larger customer base provides.
There is no improvement without a good customer experience. When you miss on improving your customer experience, the company can end up with missed revenue, increased churn rate, strained customer relationships, and a basic lack of time and ability to answer to your customers' needs in a timely manner.