British businesses are failing to provide adequate customer service via email, according to web hosting firm Fasthosts.

Fasthost’s survey of 1,300 UK customers found that 78 percent of British consumers have felt let down by a slow response to a customer service email enquiry, while 89 percent of this group defected to a competitor brand as a result.

Fasthosts’ research also suggests Britons are an impatient bunch. According to the findings, the average consumer sends three emails before receiving a satisfactory response, but most of us are only willing to wait 24 hours for a reply. One in five gives up after only 12 hours.

Furthermore, women are more patient than men, with 12 percent prepared to wait up to a week, compared with only 7 percent of men. Interestingly, men are statistically more likely to receive a quicker response (21 percent regularly receiving a reply within six to 12 hours).

Mark Jeffries, CTO of Fasthosts said: "British businesses really need to sit up and pay attention to their response rate for customer emails, or risk losing their customer base to competitor brands. The public suffers real stress from slow or sub-standard email replies so it is no surprise they feel so strongly about the issue."