European businesses are failing to meet customer expectations due to ineffective use of customer-relationship management, or CRM, technology, and UK consumers are suffering the most.
More than half of consumers feel customer-service operations are ineffective, according to research commissioned by Oracle.
Britons are the most likely to criticise customer service, with 40 percent of respondents rating the service provided by call centres as ineffective.
Common complaints include long call queues, having to repeat queries to different people and receiving differing answers.
Thirty-nine percent of respondents said telecommunications companies are the worst offenders for poor service, while 37 percent said financial-service organisations are the best.
Call-centre managers said better information and staff training are the best ways to improve customer service, but more than half said they had no plans for online self-service portals, despite customer demand.
Loic le Guisquet, senior vice president for CRM at Oracle, said that the technology exists to address these failings and companies should apply intelligence to data they hold in order to meet expectations.
Analyst house Gartner recently came out with seven ways in which businesses could improve customer service, including acting on customer feedback and being more accessible to customers.
Other tips included personalising products and experiences and changing employee attitudes to address customer issues more effectively.
The Oracle research covered 1,500 consumers and 250 contact-centre managers across Europe.