Travel branded ‘second worst’ for customer service, research finds

The travel sector has one of the worst reputations for customer service, new research has found.

Customer care outsourcer FM Outsource asked 1,000 people about performance of 10 business sectors, including travel, banking, insurance, hospitality and fashion retail, when it comes to customer service.

Those polled were asked to rate each sector, taking into account the experiences of people they know and those they’ve read about online as well as their own.

The research found that the travel sector was one of the most likely to be rated poor or extremely poor (29% against an average of 20%).

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The travel sector came second lowest to the utilities sector (32%).

Respondents were also asked to rate the quality of customer service delivery from good to poor based on their experience.

The travel sector was again one of the most likely to be rated poor or extremely poor (21% against an average of 17%), whereas banking and grocery were most likely to be rated as good or very good.

Nearly a third (31%) of consumers have told friends or family to avoid a brand following a negative customer service interaction, and 26% have left a critical review online.

The research also revealed that the vast majority – 80% – of consumers believe that poor delivery of customer service reveals a brand’s general lack of care towards its customers.

Chief commercial officer Martin Brown said: “Our findings show that, as far as consumers are concerned, the travel sector currently offers one of the lowest standards of customer service and therefore has one of the worst reputations.

“Airlines are currently undergoing a very challenging time following the effects of the pandemic, with thousands of customers awaiting refunds and compensation for cancelled or rescheduled flights.

He added: “Travel should be an enjoyable experience for all and frustratingly this year the experience has been very stressful for many customers, largely due to the way customer service teams have handled the disruptions.”

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