LONDON: One third of UK consumers claim to have cancelled a service or stopped using a brand because of the poor customer service they have received a new survey has found.

Harris Poll surveyed 2,053 adults for ClickSoftware, as part of a global report looking at the frustrations consumers face when dealing with companies. Fully 69% of respondents had taken some action, whether demanding to speak to a supervisor (46%) or giving up altogether on the product or service (34%).

A smaller proportion (13%) admitted to losing their temper and shouting at a service representative, while others adopted possible more persuasive tactics to deal with them including lying (9%), crying (4%) or begging (3%)

Utility companies and communication service providers were the worst offenders, cited by 32% and 29% of those surveyed. Central government and banking were also sources of frustration but, at 18% and 15% respectively, far fewer people had encountered problems here.

Billing disputes were a common complaint, with half of consumers affected typically having to spend an hour resolving an issue. ClickSoftware calculated that the cost to individuals of having to take time off work to sort out such problems amounted to £500 per person per year, or £15bn nationally.

"This is a timely reminder for businesses that customer service is still one of the biggest factors in attracting and retaining customers," said Robert Williams, vp/UK & Ireland, ClickSoftware.

"Bad customer service is costing business up to a third of their revenue, and the knock on effect is that people are having to take precious holiday time just to deal with things that could and should be sorted much more easily," he added.

Separate research from the Aberdeen Group showed that service organisations with a more-than-90% customer satisfaction rate achieved an annual 6.1% growth in service revenue, 3.7% growth in overall revenue, and an 89% level of customer retention.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff