Customer service questionnaire results
We set up an online questionnaire to find out exactly what Watchdog viewers think of the customer service they experience every single day.
So - did you say it's getting better or worse? And when it's bad do you just sit back and take it or have we in Britain finally learned how to complain?
Huge response to the online questionnaire
Our questionnaire was open for just under two days but we had a massive response with 7,120 logging on to answer our six questions.
We went to meet a few people who know all about good service, a Saville Row tailor and the Duke of Edinburgh's barber. They stressed how important it is to know the customer and to ensure that their expectations are met.
But is this kind of customer service the exception or the norm these days? We asked two experts what they thought of the standard of customer service in the UK.
She says: "In the UK, I've experienced some of the best customer service in the world. I've also experienced some of the worst. People are much more aware of the importance of good service to their customers. The customer is absolutely king, customer care is the most important thing you will ever, ever get in the business."
Why customer service should be improving
Sarah Willingham is an entrepreneur who has made a fortune in the restaurant trade and believes that customer service needs a lot of improvement.
Sarah says: "Well, sadly, I think that at the moment, in the economic environment when actually it ought to be getting better, I think a lot of companies fall very, very short."
Customer service is getting worse
The results from the Watchdog questionnaire are clear. Nearly three quarters said that customer service is getting worse - 5,169 of you. Just 437 thought it was getting better and the rest said it was about the same.
Just 28 people told us they never experience poor customer service and around half, well over 3,000 people said they came across it every single week.
Sarah Willingham said she wasn't surprised by this result. "I think what's happening is that businesses now are seeing customer service as something that costs them lots of money, like training, customer service is the same thing and so they're outsourcing it. They're not focusing on it at all."
So what do we do about all that bad service? It used to be that the British didn't like to make a fuss. But has that all changed?
Nearly half of the people who took part in the online questionnaire said that when they get bad service they do nothing. They take it on the chin and leave it at that.
Most people would complain
But, perhaps, as a nation we're changing. Because even more of you - 3,626 - said you would complain.
Those of you who complained tended to have the worst service from phone, TV and broadband providers and especially the utility companies.
But although bad service can crop anywhere there's one place where, you told us, you get it the most: over the phone. Almost two thirds of the people who took part in our questionnaire - 4,618 of you - said the most annoying customer service they'd come across was when they were dealing with a company helpline or call centre.
Bad service can crop anywhere. But there's one place where, you told us, you get it the most: over the phone. Almost two thirds of the people who took part in our questionnaire - 4,618 of you - said the most annoying customer service they'd come across was when they were dealing with a company helpline or call centre.
"To me, by the time we've got to the call centre we already have a problem," said Deborah Meaden.
"Customer service should be about getting the service right in the first place. And I think to kind of subcontract that out to a call centre can sometimes be the wrong thing to do.
"It doesn't matter who deals with it as long as they have the authority, the power, the understanding to actually get to the bottom of and deal with your problem and quickly."
There's no doubt about it - it's how you're dealt with over the phone that really gets you the most. And what's more annoying than a company that just won't answer?
We've put some of the worst offenders to the test. Watch the customer service phone test report to find out just how long some of them kept us hanging on the line.