In Depth

Best and worst UK companies for customer service

Ryanair is voted worst for customer service for the sixth year in a row

Online bank First Direct has been named the best UK company for customer service, while customers rated budget airline Ryanair the worst, according to a new poll.

The bank topped narrowly beat kitchenware retailer Lakeland and Marks & Spencer’s traditional clothing and homewares arm to top the rankings n a poll carried out by consumer magazine Which?.

The survey asked around 4,000 members of the public to rate the customer service at 100 well-known UK brands, says the BBC. Questions included how the companies made them feel, how helpful staff were, and how well they handled complaints.

Supermarkets also performed well as a sector, scoring an average customer service rating of 78%. Waitrose was the top supermarket on 85%, but even the lowest-rated – Lidl – outperformed the highest-rated airlines and energy providers.

“It’s those firms that have gone out of their way to prioritise customer service as a key part of their business that have topped the survey,” said Which? editor Harry Rose.

And at the other end of the scale, Ryanair passengers said they felt undervalued by unhelpful staff and the company’s complaint-handling procedures.

Half of customers polled gave the budget airline the lowest rating possible, branding the airline “greedy”, “sneaky” and “arrogant”. Which? quoted one customer as saying: “Ryanair seems to make things deliberately difficult in order to make more money out of its customers.”

It is the sixth year in a row that Ryanair has come last, and is an unwelcome PR blow for the airline as its pilots in the UK strike for a second day over pay and conditions.

Fellow airlines British Airways (83rd) and EasyJet (79th) also received disappointing ratings in the poll.

As well as airlines coming in for criticism, customers also expressed a low opinion of telecoms providers. Virgin Media, TalkTalk and BT all ended up in the bottom five. Respondents said that Virgin Media was “greedy” and that BT staff were “aloof”.

“There’s a bit of complacency in some of these companies,” said Rose. “Customers should hold them to higher standards, they shouldn’t put up with it.”

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