Survey source: 1268 adults in Britain aged 18+ responding to an online survey from 18-22 Feb 2005. Nationally representative sample.

The new Service in Britain survey confirms that almost 9 in 10 adults have to make at least one complaint each year. It also reveals that they make a complaint to a service provider on average once a month, and also feel like complaining yet don’t get round to it four times a month. The major utilities, telecoms providers and supermarkets top the list of target organisations. Yet whereas supermarkets score well for loyalty, up to 20% of customers of power and telecoms providers are seriously thinking about switching.

• The average adult has made 12 complaints to service providers over the last year. Only 14% could think of no complaints made at all. Results reveal 4 times as many occasions when people have wanted to complain but didn’t get round to it. Men and younger adults are most likely to complain, whereas women and middle aged adults are more likely to bottle up their frustration.

• Of 20 sectors examined, those attracting the highest numbers of complaints include the power and insurance companies, with banks, supermarkets, telecoms providers and local councils also high on the list. The highest levels of frustrated complaints are to telecoms companies and Central Government, indicating that people have considerable concerns about these services, yet are unable to get them easily addressed.

• When a main service provider fails them, people say they are far more likely to tell family, friends and colleagues about their problem than make a complaint. This confirms the belief that complaints only reveal a small part of the damage caused by poor service, and the power of word of mouth recommendation.

• We looked in detail at claimed loyalty to a main service provider in 5 industries. Of these, supermarkets enjoy the highest levels of genuine loyalty. Banks also seem to have relatively good loyalty, but by contrast many more bank customers don’t want the hassle of reviewing their options, rather than being particularly happy with what they get.

• Across 15 service categories, people are least satisfied with the value they get from train companies: a third of users give a poor value rating whilst only 1 in 8 rates value highly. Local council services and buses also fair badly on the value for money measure. Supermarkets, banks and mobile operators are best rated for value.

• Satisfaction with service is usually rated better than satisfaction with value for money. This suggests that people now base supplier selection more on price whilst expecting good service as the norm.

- Release ends –

Further information

- The full results are available as an electronic report for £295 + VAT. These include detailed company ratings for supermarkets, banks, mobile and home telecoms operators and power suppliers.

- Andrew Smith Research works for a wide range of service sector clients.
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- Research Now! Is a leading provider of online research, and operates the Valued Opinions panel of 250,000 UK households.

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For more details contact:
Andrew Smith: 01372 817979

Published on: 12:00AM on 9th March 2005