Dialling the right number for telecoms customer service
Telecoms companies have traditionally had a poor reputation when it comes to customer service, but new research from Ofcom shows that overall the picture is getting better. Overall complaints against broadband, landline and mobile suppliers are falling, according to the regulator’s latest report which covers April-June 2012.
Topping the league for both poor landline (0.53 complaints per 1,000 customers) and broadband customer service (0.42 complaints) was TalkTalk. This continued its unwelcome record of being worst in each of the six quarterly reports that Ofcom has compiled to date, though on the positive side complaints against TalkTalk are reducing. In contrast Virgin Media received just 0.14 complaints per 1,000 customers and Sky only 0.10 for broadband services.
When it came to mobile service, 3 received most complaints (0.19 per 1,000 customers). Interestingly 95% of all mobile complaints came from contract customers, with too few from pay-as-you-go users for Ofcom to provide data on. O2, which suffered a major outage in the quarter still only attracted 0.05 complaints per 1,000 customers – potentially demonstrating that its social media response to angry users worked.
Looking beyond the data it is important to stress that the report details complaints received directly by Ofcom, so covers cases where consumers have normally failed to get satisfaction by complaining to their telecoms company. This means that companies are managing to deal with more complaints satisfactorily themselves, which is a heartening trend.
Most complaints revolved around service outages and billing issues. With increasingly complex network infrastructures problems will happen, but what customers want is to know that they will be fixed quickly. Up to date, consistent information is critical to keeping them in the loop. And this has to be available across multiple channels – after all, it is pointless asking a customer to check the website for updates when their broadband is down.
With a similar level of complexity when it comes to telecoms tariffs clear information is again central to making sure that customers understand what they are signing up for. Making sure they get the best deal for their needs at the start should reduce billing questions and complaints later in the contract.
As the Ofcom report shows customer service in the UK telecoms industry is improving – to keep this trend moving upwards operators need to ensure consistent, multi-channel information is available to customers, before and after they sign up