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Complaints cost UK economy £23 billion a year

by Lynne Campbell | Posted in Complaints management solutions | 10 April 2018
Complaints cost UK economy £23 billion a year

Citizens Advice has called for the government to simplify and improve processes for resolving consumer problems. A recent report by the organisation claims that 3.2 million people have taken time off work to deal with complaints and resolve issues with goods and services - with huge associated costs.

Gwennan Hardy, Policy Research Assistant in their Consumer and Public Services team, reports that dealing with issues and complaints costs the UK economy £23 billion a year:

“More than one in three (35 per cent) people are expected to face at least one consumer problem each year. The impact that these problems have on people’s lives is too often overlooked. Our research shows the real disruption and harm caused by these kinds of problems.

She adds: “People dealing with consumer problems lose an average of 22.5 hours as a result — adding up to a total of 1.2 billion hours for the UK population as a whole. As some of this represents time which would otherwise be spent at work, the impact on people’s budgets can be huge. Our research found that more than two in five (42 per cent) self-employed people earning less than £20,000 have had to take time off work to sort out a consumer problem.”

The findings highlight the need for organisations to have efficient systems that streamline customer complaints and help eliminate the stress for both parties.

When organisations 'embrace complaints' and look for the root cause, it provides an opportunity to improve complaint handling or other systems and processes.

Having a dedicated complaints handling system will go a long way to helping to resolve complaints in a compliant, consistent and efficient manner. 

Ken Naismith, Workpro Chief Executive comments: “We have sophisticated data capture and reporting tools in our Workpro complaint handling software that enable organisations to identify root causes for complaints. This facilitates continuous improvement and allows organisations to tackle the underlying problems that lead to complaints.

"This doesn’t just make for good customer service, it makes good business sense too because the cost of complaints erodes the “offending organisation’s” performance just as much as it costs the offended party.”

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