A new report shows that the number of complaints resulting in a financial award reached an all-time high in 2017

There has been a dramatic increase in the amount of compensation being paid to consumers by telecommunication firms in the UK, according to a new report. The percentage of complaints that result in financial awards has risen since last year to 82%. That represents a year on year increase of 15%.

The communications sector has seen a huge rise in complaints, which are up 132% (from 12,715 to 29,503) on last year, as operators struggle to keep up with customer expectations in the age of 4G.

“Consumers will no longer accept a poor customer experience, hidden costs, or sub-standard services – and organisations that aren’t keeping up are paying a heavy price,” said Shashi Nirale, SVP and general manager for EMEA at Servion.

“Paying out for the majority of customer complaints is simply not sustainable. Businesses must look at new ways of engaging with customers – using new technologies such as AI and robotics – to ensure they receive personalised, up-to-date and efficient service. Those that fail to do so will see profits fall, as increasingly disloyal customers seek out their competitors.”

The report found that the main causes for complaint were levels of customer service, billing and contract issues. Telcos should look to automate their complaints handling procedures where possible in order to overcome these common problems.

The most common financial award was £50, the report found. However, the more worrying trend for telcos was that these good will payments did not seem to be stemming the tide of customers wishing to take their business elsewhere.