UK adults spend nearly 2 weeks every year waiting for services, reveals survey

Omnibus polling for KANA Software has found that the average UK adult spends a ‘fraughtnight’ — or nearly two weeks — each year waiting for service, making complaints and using digital communications to direct their ire at companies that provide poor service.

The poll found that an astonishing two weeks each year – equivalent to the amount of time typically taken for a summer holiday – are lost by every adult simply trying to get the service they need or expect from private and public sector organisations.

The poll also found electronic communication is increasingly important as a conduit for complaining in the UK, enabling consumers with their famous British reticence for face-to-face confrontation to “voice” frustrations on other platforms. Only 15 percent of those polled said they complained face to face. One-quarter of those polled said they used multiple channels to complain, with one in 10 using three or more channels.

KANA suggests that technological solutions to time wasted on complaining are being overlooked by tens of thousands of companies and public sector bodies. Time wasted could be simply and affordably eradicated if companies improved their IT systems to avoid duplication and direct enquiries to the person best equipped with proper knowledge to handle each customer’s issue or request.

Customer inertia is no longer the certainty it has long been perceived to be by market-leading service providers. Mobility and social media have created a forum for debate about service and a reservoir of advice for shoppers seeking better experiences. Millions of consumers take to Twitter every day, and few show any reluctance to complain if they aren’t getting the service they desire.

The poll found that the average UK consumer has used 7.4 channels of electronic communication in the past six months. Amongst 18-to-24 year olds, this figure rises to 8.4 channels. The figure is lowest in the 65+ age bracket, but even this age band uses 6.2 methods of electronic communication.

The top six methods of electronic communication by UK adults:

1. Email (used by 90 percent)

2. Mobile phone calls (used by 83 percent)

3. Text messages (used by 79 percent)

4. Communication through company websites (used by 75 percent)

5. Fixed line phone calls (used by 69 percent)

6. Facebook (used by 67 percent)

According to the research, Twitter has been used by 24 percent of the UK adult population in the past six months.

One of the most interesting findings is the extent to which the 65+ age bracket is comfortably embracing new communication methods. Ninety-three percent of 65+ year old respondents use email, whilst 83 percent use the fixed line phone. More than half of 65+ year olds use Facebook (51 percent) and 11 percent use online chat.

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