Almost Half Feel Customer Service Worse During Pandemic

A new survey of UK contact centre customers found 48% thought customer service had gotten worse

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Published: May 11, 2021

William Smith

Customer experience software provider Awaken Intelligence has carried out a survey of 750 contact centre customers in the UK regarding their experience with contact centres during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Buffeted by twin issues of changing working dynamics and increased demand, in general the picture was quite negative. According to the study, the top reasons for call centre irritation were numerous, including not being able to speak to a real person, high average wait time for the call, agents taking too long to resolve queries and not having the right knowledge and advice, as well as agents using scripts.  

Also aggravating was being transferred between departments, calls not being resolved, language barriers, having to repeat calls for the same, unresolved issues and not receiving a response on live chat/social media 

The Worst Industries for Customer Service 

Those surveyed also ranked the industries deemed to have the worst customer service, alighting on: 

  1. Utilities (18%) 
  2. Travel (14%) 
  3. Legal & Government Services (14%) 
  4. Consumer Goods (11%) 
  5. Finance & Banking (10%) 
  6. Insurance (9%) 
  7. Technology & Electrical (9%) 
  8. Entertainment & Hospitality (9%) 
  9. Vehicles & Transportation (7%) 

“The majority of those surveyed believe that service has worsened since the start of the pandemic, with utility services being portrayed as the worst providers for customer service,” said Justyna Chlopecka, Marketing Manager, Awaken. Finance and banking came out on top. 

Not being able to speak to a real person is the biggest irritation for customers, followed by long wait times, showing the need for contact centres to humanise their customer service and equip agents with tools to enable them to solve customer queries faster. 

The analysis also produced a list of the industries considered to possess the best customer service: 

  1. Finance & Banking (23%) 
  2. Consumer Goods (20%) 
  3. Entertainment & Hospitality (13%) 
  4. Utilities (11%) 
  5. Technology & Electrical (11%) 
  6. Insurance (8%) 
  7. Travel (7%) 
  8. Vehicles & Transportation (5%) 
  9. Legal & Government Services (3%) 

A clear gap emerged in terms of preferred method of contact, with 18–34-year-olds preferring instant messaging, 34–44-year-olds preferring emails, and those aged 45 and older preferring phone calls. 

“There is a difference in preferences when it comes to contact methods, suggesting that this is something worth paying attention to as a business, depending on the average age of your customer base,” said Chlopecka. 


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