New nationwide report reveals the extent of consumer dissatisfaction


14 October 2004

New nationwide report reveals the extent of consumer dissatisfaction

  • Leaders and laggards of customer service highlighted
  • Consumers vent their frustration at failing service levels and believe several sectors are suffering from low standards.
  • Retailers and food industry also coming increasingly under spotlight over food labelling concerns

A new report issued by BSI today reveals the extent of consumer dissatisfaction with service levels and standards across several industry sectors. The report highlights that consumers believe many sectors are suffering from low standards. Sixty four per cent of respondents believe call centres have low standards whilst builders and estate agents fare almost as badly with 46% and 44% respectively believing they also fail the standards test.

Sectors that UK Consumers believe to have low standards 

  • Call Centres 64%
  • Builders 46%
  • Estate Agents 44%
  • Taxi/Cab operators 40%
  • Plumbers 38%
  • Mobile Phone Operators 34%
  • Utility Companies 34%

In many cases the perception of poor standards was based on recent personal experience over the past twelve months. Almost half of respondents (46%) had experienced a poor quality of service from call centres, with one in every five having had a similarly bad experience from banks and financial institutions (21%), utility companies (21%) and mobile phone operators (20%). In addition to this almost one in every five had a poor experience when dealing with retailers (19%) and taxi and cab operators (17%).

It appears consumers are also keen to see more responsible behaviour amongst food manufacturers and retailers, with nearly three quarters of respondents (72%) finding labelling and nutritional information on food or drink products misleading. Ninety two per cent of respondents would support moves to standardise labelling and representation of nutritional information on products. Women are more concerned over food labelling issues than men. Seventy seven per cent of women were concerned over the labelling of food and drink products - 67% of men voiced similar concerns.


Percentage of consumers who would support or oppose plans to standardise labelling and representation of nutritional information on food and drink products %

Strongly support


Tend to support


Tend to oppose


Strongly oppose


Don’t know


Indeed it also appears that consumers put quality of product or service before price, with over 52% or respondents claiming they would not hesitate to pay more for a product or service with a quality mark. Seventy per cent of respondents would be more likely to buy a product or service that had a quality mark.

Mike Low, Director of British Standards, commented "What this research reveals on World Standards Day is the wide range of consumers’ concerns. BSI is working closely with many of these sectors who are anxious to improve their standards to meet the expectations of their customers. "


Notes to editors

During October 2004, independent research house YouGov surveyed over 2,000 consumers nationwide for BSI. For a copy of the full report please contact Matthew Flanders on 0207 861 3188

BS ISO 1002 complaints handling process benefits the customer by responsive treatment of their complaint while the organization is given the tools to focus on problem areas pointing to opportunities for improvements and savings. It is suitable for use by organizations of any size and in all industries.

Wilma Tulloch on +44 (0)20 8996 6330 OR
Marc Edney on +44 (0)20 8996 6330