The telecoms industry has topped a list of the worst sectors for customer service.

Telecoms came top closely followed by energy, banks and building societies and retail, with the building trade making up the top five.

The league table of shame comes on the back of new research showing eight in ten Brits are frequently enraged by poor customer service, with not being able to talk to a human and having to repeat the same predicament several times amongst the biggest bugbears.

A quarter of adults believe the UK’s general levels of customer help are under-par. Pushy sales tactics are the biggest bugbear of all, with 56 per cent of people finding aggressive and obnoxious marketing techniques an insult when they just want to have a decent bit of customer service.

Researchers found millions of us see red when we telephone through to a service line only to be met with someone who can barely speak English. Getting through to India when you want to talk to someone in the UK and having robotic responses to questions can irritate the most patient of people.

Daniel Attia, CEO of YOPA, which commissioned the study of 2,000 adults, said: “Customer service is something most of us have to deal with on a daily basis, so it’s worrying to see that so many people have had a bad experience.

“It’s clear from these findings that there is a distinct lack of communication between services and consumers. It’s bewildering to me, that in an age where the internet and technology is breaking down barriers, that so many customers are being fobbed off by call centres and automated telephone lines. The poor-performing industries identified in this study are ripe for disruption.

“The customer should be at the heart of the sales process, empowered by technology. All most people want from a customer service department is a prompt and stress-free solution, no hidden fees and politeness – which shouldn’t be too much to ask.”

Standardised replies also cause anger amongst many adults, who find it difficult managing their temper when staff are unable to deviate from the rules and regulations of the company. Understandably then, companies and staff who show little or no flexibility also bother a large number of respondents.

Something which really bothers adults is when new customers are given preferential treatment – usually cheaper rates and bigger discounts – over old. Many of those polled have chosen to change companies after finding they were being over-charged simply for being an existing customer.

Call centres in general feature highly in the top 50 list of bugbears, as do unsolicited emails and mail. When it comes to going in-branch for help and advice, customers take great insult when sales assistants chat to one another and ignore the person in front of them.

Daniel Attia from YOPA continues: “A customer-led overhaul is long overdue. With increasing numbers of people switching companies due to poor customer service, the businesses that do choose to go the extra mile to create a good customer experience will reap the benefits.

“As we’ve seen with the energy and telecomms sectors, bad customer service can completely destroy the public’s trust in an industry, especially when those companies aren’t held to account.

“My industry, estate agency, comes sixth on the list of the worst industries for customer service.

“This isn’t surprising, when according to research from the National Association of Estate Agents, sixty per cent of home buyers and sellers claimed to have faced problems with their estate agents.

“At YOPA, our local estate agents are motivated first and foremost by five star customer reviews on a third party website – Trustpilot. Because of this, we know that our customers will always get the highest possible level of service, and our agents know that they can be publicly held to account. That’s what the TripAdvisor generation have come to expect.”

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