According to a new study from Consumer Focus (conducted by DJS Research) nearly six out of 10 people complaining about Royal Mail services were dissatisfied with the way their complaint was handled.

The study also looked at complaints handling in five other service sectors, but it noted that Royal Mail had 1.2 million complaints from the public a year, more than twice the number of the big six energy companies in Britain combined.

Only 41% of those surveyed about Royal Mail were satisfied with their complaints experience, compared to 65% for legal services. However Telecoms companies were worst performers with just a 30% satisfaction level.

27% of those complaining about Royal Mail wanted services to improve, 22% demanded compensation, 21% wanted a refund… and 19% wanted an apology.

One of Royal Mail’s biggest problems was in giving customers enough information to deal with the complaint.

The study also highlighted the gripe among those who gave up on the complaints process before it was resolved that they felt they were dealing with “anonymous bodies in unreachable offices”. There were also several common themes emerging – irrespective of the sector – people wish to be treated as individuals and they want their loyalty recognised.

Prashant Vaze, Chief Economist at Consumer Focus, said under-performing in the handling of complaints could be bad for businesses by undermining their relationship with customers.

Referring generally to the sectors involved in the study, Vaze said some of the issues that “appear time and time again” among surveys of this kind were the lack of speed in which complaints are handled, and the tone of responses.

Royal Mail said that it was “always keen to further our customer experience”, but pointed out that the research behind the Consumer Focus report was based on data from March 2011, involving “just a few hundred people”.

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