Rude staff and long queues keep customers dissatisfied

Rude staff and long queues at the checkout are to blame for growing customer dissatisfaction with service in shops, according to a report published today. Overall, the number of people complaining about service in at least one shop they visit has soared from 26 per cent in 1992 to 43 per cent this year.

DIY and electrical goods stores are the worst offenders, followed by shoe and clothes shop, the survey published by the National Consumer Council disclosed.

Places with the most satisfied customers are hairdressers and barbers' shops, where service was rated good or very good by 90 per cent of customers - closely followed by chemists.

Supermarkets come third, leapfrogging local grocers and newsagents for the first time, with 86 per cent of customers reporting good service.

Major bugbears cited by shoppers are queuing at checkouts or not enough tills being opened, and staff who are rude and unhelpful or too pushy. Poorly-trained assistants are also a source of irritation - particularly in DIY and electrical goods stores.

The only area of growing customer satisfaction is prices, with fewer shoppers complaining of either high or rising costs now than five years ago.

The survey into shopping trends also disclosed that Britain is not a nation of shopaholics. People visit the shops less now than five years ago - although this does not mean they are spending less.