Customer complaintsThere were 38 million customer complaints about products and services in 2013 meaning there was a complaint every 1.2 seconds, made by dissatisfied customers about products or services. According to Ombudsman Services, which helps resolve disputes between consumers and providers, the energy, broadband, mobile companies and property sectors had the highest number.

Who complains, and what about?

It was found that British people were 32% more likely to submit a customer complaint this year than they were last and that the most commonly complained about sectors were energy, retail and internet telecoms. However the Ombudsman research also found that over 40m issues were not complained about, showing that a large percentage of people still don’t put a complaint forward.

 Why do people still refrain from making complaints?

Ombudsman services found that customers felt it ‘wasn’t worth the hassle’ to complain about an issue they had had. They also felt as though the companies wouldn’t listen or have time to deal with the complaint. Furthermore the legal process was found to daunt customers, only 6% of customer complaints were addressed in the small claims court.

The influence of social media on customer complaints.

More than a quarter of consumers who complained about a product or service shared their customer complaint on social media, which could be accountable for ombudsman services double in customer complaints over the past year. More than 1,805 complaints were made in December, a 106% increase on last year. Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said: “Given that consumer trust in companies is low, the time is right for businesses to embrace third parties as a means of resolving disputes.

“The research shows that nearly a third of people would be more willing to buy a product or service from a company offering such a service, so transparency clearly has a big role to play in shaping consumer opinion and enhancing brand image.”The figures were obtained from a survey of 2,023 people.Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “Although more customers are complaining about poor service, too many are still put off, which is why we’ve launched our free consumer rights website full of advice.”Businesses need to improve their customer complaints procedures but the law also needs to be made simpler and clearer so that consumers who fail to get a satisfactory response to their complaint can take their case to an ombudsman or the small claims court.”The Consumer Rights Bill, which is making its way through Parliament, will update various consumer laws and will introduce new rights for consumers and businesses, including a set 30-day time period to return faulty goods and get a full refund.

How PSS Can Help

Many organisations find that although they have invested in the right technologies they have not deployed them in a way that makes them fully effective. Our expertise helps ensure that your platforms, systems and applications deliver the benefits they were intended to.

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