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UK citizens demand reform of public customer service

16th Jul 2013
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Brands may be sighing with relief to hear that they’re not alone in facing criticism for poor service as new research has revealed the public sector is equally frustrating customers.

According to Aspect’s survey of over 1,000 UK consumers, 38% of complaints made to public sector organisations within the last year were unresolved and just 3% said they can recall a good customer experience with a public sector organisation over the past year.

Overall, the customer service benchmarking report showed that public sector institutions ranked as the second worst offenders for unresolved complaints, beaten to the first spot by credit card providers.

And of those complaints with public sector organisations that were resolved, a staggering half of customers were dissatisfied with the outcome, the survey showed.

Aspect’s Mark King said: “Maximising the resources available for citizen engagement has never been more important. Due to continual reforms, changing political parties and differing public opinion, the sector as a whole is under constant scrutiny – not just in terms of the money that is spent and where, but how organisations engage with UK citizens at a regional and national level too.”

However, whilst just 9% of consumers said they are ‘extremely satisfied’ with the overall service they receive from public sector organisations, 42% claimed to be ‘satisfied’ with a further 42% claiming to be ‘neutral’.

So how exactly are consumers taking their complaints to the public sector? The findings showed the telephone is the most popular communication channel (47%), followed by email (39%) and a letter (7%).

Despite the growing trend for consumers to take to social media to vent their frustrations, 54% of those surveyed said they would not use social media to contact a public sector organisation as it would not deliver the desired response

King added: “Organisations, especially those within the public sector need to be enhancing their customer engagement efforts through effective technologies which facilitate the service citizens have come to expect today, and therefore demand.”

Findings from the same report launched last week also revealed that the majority of consumer expectations still aren’t being met. A third of consumers (32%) said they had a bad customer experience in the last year, with two instances on average, with 67% of these unhappy customers going on to make a formal complaint. 

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