The problem leaves half of customers ‘angry and stressed’, while a fifth admit to feeling ‘powerless and desperate’.
The survey of 1,300 adults reveals that the inability to find contact details is the biggest customer service bugbear, with 77.2 per cent of people finding it a problem, while being held in a telephone queue comes a close second at 77.1 per cent. Other gripes include ‘staff with heavy accents’ (56 per cent), ‘bad on-hold music’ (42 per cent) and inflexible office hours (40 per cent).
Real-time live dialogue with a business using live chat, online forums or call-me-back facilities is in high demand, with 90 per cent of consumers wanting this type of communication.
However, 92 per cent of businesses currently do not offer such facilities, and 42 per cent have no plans to introduce them, according to a separate survey of 260 UK small and medium-sized companies.
Most tellingly, over a third (35 per cent) of businesses in this survey say there is no need for such services as their customers are ‘not interested in communicating online’.
Andreas Gauger, CEO of 1&1 Internet, comments: ‘There is a clear discrepancy between how consumers and businesses value internet-based customer service.
‘Consumers now place a high value on the ability to talk to businesses in real time online, and businesses of all sizes need to respond to this trend or risk losing sales.’