Dealing With Contact Centre Customer Complaints

Author: Justyna Chlopecka | Date: 11/11/2021

Contact centres have always held an important role for businesses and their customers. However, since the start of the pandemic, they have really proved their worth with face-to-face contact reduced drastically almost overnight.

But how have contact centres coped with this sudden rise in demand and change of working dynamic as many agents work from home? We surveyed 750 UK contact centre customers to determine their attitude towards contact centres in the last twelve months. Which industries are succeeding in customer service and which are struggling to keep customers happy?

Who Has 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%)

Finance and banking providers were the top scorers, with 23% of respondents declaring the best customer service from this industry.

However, the youngest and oldest demographics (18-24 & 54+) stated they had received the best service from consumer goods.

Who Has the Worst Customer Service?

  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%)

18% of those surveyed declared that the utility industry has provided the worst customer service since the pandemic hit.

18-24-year-olds voted the travel industry as the worst.

Top Reasons the Public Are Irritated with Contact Centres

We asked respondents to rank their biggest contact centre related annoyances from 1-10, below are the top reasons why customers are irritated.

  1. Not being able to speak to a real person
  2. Average wait time for the call
  3. Agents taking too long to resolve your query
  4. Agents not having the right/current knowledge and advice
  5. Agents using scripts/impersonal responses
  6. Being transferred between departments
  7. Calls not being resolved the first time
  8. A language barrier with the agent
  9. Having to call for the same, unresolved issues
  10. Not receiving a response on live chat/social media

Speaking to chatbots or pre-recorded lines is the number 1 irritation for the public when it comes to calling contact centres, showing that even in a technology-focused world, we still prefer speaking to a human.

Long wait times and average call length are no new annoyance for customers and have been a regular occurrence for decades. Speech analytics is just one of the ways contact centres are addressing this issue.

First call resolution is imperative to keeping the customer happy and the public is highly irritated with their issues not being resolved quickly.

When given the opportunity to state any other irritations not listed, there were common, repeated responses:

  • Rude agents
  • Terrible hold music
  • Being cut off
  • Repeating yourself

By using contact centre quality assurance, these grievances can be tracked, monitored and addressed to reduce inadequate agent performance.

What Is the Preferred Method of Contact for Customers?

Email was crowned the winner of the most preferred method of contact for customers with their providers, followed by phone, instant messaging and social media coming in last.

However, this doesn’t discount the importance of all contact methods. 18-24-year-olds prefer instant messaging. 35-44-year-olds prefer email and 45+ still prefer a phone call.

How Does the Public Feel About Customer Service Since the Start of The Pandemic?

48% of respondents feel service has gotten worse, 37% feel it is the same and only 17% have experienced better customer service.


Finance & banking were declared the best customer service provider since the start of the pandemic.

Utility providers are considered the worst when it comes to their customer service during this time.

Not being able to speak to a real person irritates the public more than anything else when it comes to contact centres, followed by long waiting times.

Email is the preferred method of communication for the public, with phone conversations coming in the second place. However, this varies between age demographics.

Predominantly, the public believes that customer service has gotten worse since the start of the pandemic.