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Telecoms companies and local authorities, such as council tax and housing departments, are among some of the worst ranking sectors in the UK for customer service, according to new research.

Telecoms firms fared the worst of any sector in the customer service rankings, scoring an average 3.92/10. Holiday and leisure businesses came out on top with a score of 6.84/10.

Financial (6.8/10) and healthcare companies (6.66/10) came completed the top three, while local authorities came second from bottom with a score of 5.81/10.

The research of 1,000 adults in the UK, conducted by Echo Managed Services, looked at their customer service preferences with with everyday service providers and their customer service frustrations.

Just under 20% of respondents said that everyday service providers are generally poor at communicating with customers, scoring four or less. The three biggest causes of frustration when speaking to customer service providers in complicated situations were unhelpfulness or poor attitude, inability to provide answers, and those who are impolite or disrespectful.

Other frustrations include being kept on hold on phone calls (56%), automated messages (17%), overseas call centres (7.5%) and inarticulate staff (3%).

The report concluded that while customer contact technology has evolved hugely in recent years, the human touch is still favoured by consumers, with 53% of people preferring to deal with service providers either face-to-face or over the phone.

Email and communication through a company website was the preferred option for 36% of consumers, while just 3% cited social media as their first preference.

Moncia Mackintosh, customer services director at Echo Managed Services, said: "While ever-evolving technology is providing us with the potential to reach more customers than ever, in ways that are convenient for them, our report has highlighted that it's crucial we don't lose the human touch. Customers are now more empowered than ever to make contact choices which suit them, as a result of the myriad of communication channels available to them - from telephone and email, to social media and web self-serve.

"But despite this ever-increasing channel choice, it's clear from our research that some sectors are getting customer contact wrong. Consumers are citing various frustrations when speaking to everyday service providers, so we're hoping our report will provide some food for thought for organisations and their customer communications strategies moving forward."