UK companies lose up to 1 billion man hours every year chasing IT service providers

Inadequate customer service is costing UK businesses more than one billion wasted man hours every year according to research revealed today by Rackspace Hosting, the open cloud company.

The Rackspace IT Industry Service Report, the first annual snapshot of IT service quality in the UK, found that in 39 per cent of company IT staff are estimated to be losing around one working day or more per week on tackling IT problems and chasing suppliers. However the problem is not isolated to technology teams, with general employees also losing an average of almost five hours per week due to IT service issues.

This waste of resources has huge productivity implications, making it unsurprising that that IT customer service is now a key issue for CIO’s. Almost half (48 per cent) of respondents reported that customer service has become an increased priority over the last 12 months, while over a quarter (27 per cent) already regard customer service to be a top priority.

Taylor Rhodes, Managing Director, International at Rackspace said: “A staggering amount of man hours are being wasted by UK businesses as they struggle to manage and control IT service issues. CIOs are taking note however and it is encouraging to see service being acknowledged as a crucial factor in procurement decisions along with parameters such as price, security and uptime guarantees.”

UK businesses switch providers if customer service is not up to scratch

Although the average score for IT service satisfaction amongst enterprise IT decision-makers interviewed was a relatively high 7.2 out of 10, a total of 69 per cent of respondents have dropped IT suppliers in the past 12 months because of customer service shortfalls.

“Our report shows that ‘satisfactory service’ is no longer good enough. Seven out of 10 of the respondent UK companies have voted with their feet in the past year and changed suppliers because of poor quality service,” continued Rhodes. “In today’s highly competitive business environment, customer support is a crucial factor, which is precisely why Rackspace champions a culture of ‘Fanatical Support’. The results revealed today prove that many IT suppliers in the UK today are not rising to the challenge and are quite rightly losing out on business as a consequence.”

‘Why are we waiting?’ ask UK businesses

The most common causes for complaint relate to IT suppliers having an inadequate level of interaction with their customers, rather than issues of a technical nature. A poor response time to faults (32 per cent) and a low quality of communication (32 per cent) were the most commonly reported customer support failings.

Moving forwards, it is clear that IT organisations need to take a customer-centric approach if they want to win and retain business. This view is supported by Stephen Mann, Senior Analyst, Infrastructure & Operations, Forrester. In a recent blog post Stephen stated:

“Forrester’s research shows what a difference customer experience can make to a company’s success. Rackspace is such a company – it has differentiated itself through service.” Mann continues that “Rackspace exemplifies the benefits of employing the right kind of people (‘obsessive’ about what they do) and shows how this competitive differentiator has translated into business success. They rely on capable people, not limited and rigid processes operated by “scriptbots,” to support their customers.”

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