Britons complained more about their treatment at the hands of businesses last year than any other on record, according to a long-running consumer survey.

Issues with supply and service were most likely to cause trouble.

A number of the issues were related to COVID-19, according to the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).

The survey from the ICS found 13% of people had made a complaint in the past year.

This is up from the 11% figure reported six months ago.

The ICS survey is carried out twice a year, and was launched in 2008.

Availability, suitability, and quality the main issues

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Some 10,000 people were asked about their experiences with businesses and how they interact with them.

As well as a rise in complaints, the ICS found 16% of people had experienced problems with a brand’s service in the past six months.

And 34% of customers said they would be willing to pay more for better service – the highest proportion recorded.

Research found customers experienced greater problems with availability, suitability, and quality/reliability of goods and services, compared with 12 months ago.

However, a greater range of businesses were found at the top of the poll for best customer service.

The top 10 rated organisations

  • Pets at Home
  • first direct
  • Saga insurance
  • UK Power Networks
  • Timpson
  • Skoda UK
  • John Lewis
  • Nissan
  • Greggs

Getting what you pay for

Jo Causon, CEO at the ICS said: “There is no easy remedy for rising prices and shortages of goods, so we must all become better at dealing with delays and disappointments.

“Although satisfaction with complaint handling and overall satisfaction has improved, we need to address wider service chain issues if we are to improve the nation’s performance and productivity.”

She continued: “More customers than ever before are willing to pay a premium for quality service.

“This suggests there is an opportunity to invest in delivering the real value that customers expect and deserve.

“Those that have made our top 10 make it easy to contact the right person, and build trust that they truly care about their customers.

“Against the backdrop of a challenging economy, a strong service offering is an increasingly important battleground for brands to differentiate themselves and drive stronger financial performance.”

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