Travel sector has ‘worst customer service in UK’, according to survey

Travel sector has ‘worst customer service in UK’, according to survey

New research suggests that the travel sector has the worst customer service in the UK.

The survey, commissioned by ratings and customer insights company Feefo, suggests customers think service in travel is worse than the leisure and hospitality, retail sectors.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the 2,488 UK respondents said there was bad customer service in the travel industry, compared to 57% in leisure and hospitality and 54% in retail.

Only 21% of the respondents said there was bad service from energy companies, with 19% saying insurance firms offered poor service and 15% criticizing the service of telecoms firms.

Matt West, chief marketing officer at Feefo, said: “It’s interesting to see that the travel sector doesn’t fare well in the service ratings. Perhaps this is because travel is often such an emotional and significant purchase for people, therefore the customer experience becomes that much more important.

“It is however encouraging to see some businesses sectors including energy, telecoms and insurance have fared better than other industries, and suggests these companies have been taking customer feedback on board and working hard to improve their offering.”

Nearly three quarters of respondents said customer service in the UK was ‘poor’ while only 10% said it was ‘good’ and 16% said it was ‘average’.

Their biggest bugbears were:

  1. Robotic/scripted responses from customer service agents – 82%
  2. Conflicting advice from different agents – 80%
  3. Foreign call centres/agents that are hard to understand – 77%
  4. Long hold times – 68%
  5. Rude staff – 65%
  6. Numerous call switches/referrals to different teams– 62%
  7. Expensive call centre numbers – 59%
  8. Lack of resolution – 55%
  9. Long timescales to resolve problems – 54%
  10. Lack of available management to escalate problems – 46%

West added: “Considering how much emphasis UK businesses now place on customer service, the fact that UK service levels don’t appear to be hitting the mark is likely concerning many companies. It should encourage us to ask the question of whether we are doing enough to collect and understand feedback from our customers, listen to what they have to say and make effective changes based on this.”

Asked whether the UK should take inspiration from other countries, 67% said America’s customer service could teach the UK how to set the standard, and 25% felt lessons could be learned from European customer service.

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