Travel and customer service

By | Category: Travel news
angry person

there are more customer service issues in travel than other industries © Dan Sperrin

Feefo, the customer ratings company, has undertaken some research which appears to show that the travel sector has the worst customer service in the UK.

Nearly three quarters of responders said customer service in the UK was ‘poor’ while only 10% said it was ‘good’ and 16% said it was ‘average’.

Almost two-thirds of UK responders said there was bad customer service in the travel industry, compared to 57% in leisure and hospitality and 54% in retail.

The gripes that responders had with the travel industry included

  1. Robotic/scripted responses from customer service agents – 82%
  2. Conflicting advice from different agents – 80%
  3. Foreign call centres/agents that are hard to understand – 77%
  4. Long hold times – 68%
  5. Rude staff – 65%
  6. Numerous call switches/referrals to different teams– 62%
  7. Expensive call centre numbers – 59%
  8. Lack of resolution – 55%
  9. Long timescales to resolve problems – 54%
  10. Lack of available management to escalate problems – 46%

None of this is new. Back in 2005, the Customer Care and Measurement Company began the first of its annual examinations of complaint handling in the UK. It found that that the travel industry had high complaint levels but, even more concerning, was the fact that when people had a complaint they made their friends and workmates aware of it much more than if it happened in any other industry.

The gripes that people listed are similar – apart from point two – to those that all industries have showing that our complaints have broadly been the same.

What the Feefo research doesn’t do is look at how complaints were handled by travel companies and whether customers felt satisfied after the complaints we considered by companies. This is why completion of those online or paper surveys that companies give people on holiday or travelling are important. Most companies pay a lot of attention to those answers and comments in the way they handle contracts with their suppliers like hoteliers, airlines and excursion providers.

What will be interesting is to see if travel companies improve their customer service when the next Feefo analysis is made in 2017.

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