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Quality of customer service

Published 21|07|11

Executive Summary of Findings

Background

  • Ofcom (Office of Communications) is the regulator for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services.
  • In October 2009, Ofcom commissioned a study to understand the quality of service offered to customers of broadband, mobile, fixed line and pay TV providers. This involved research to understand satisfaction with the quality of service that customers receive from their providers. The results of this research were published in the July 2010 Quality of Service document [see http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/topcomm/qos-report/]
  • In order to track supplier performance and measure any change in performance, GfK was commissioned to conduct a second wave of the research in February 2011. The results are shared in this report, and reflect consumers views based on their most recent contact with their provider in the last three months (i.e. approximately mid November 2010 to mid February 2011).

Findings

Overall satisfaction with customer service

  • UK providers of landline, broadband, mobile and pay TV services continue to provide a satisfactory contact experience in the majority of cases. However, 1 in 5 in each of the fixed and broadband markets, and one in ten in each of the mobile and pay TV markets were dissatisfied with the quality of customer service. Around two thirds of consumers would welcome impartial service rating advice on providers; this rises to around three quarters amongst dissatisfied customers.
  • Satisfaction with customer service remains lower in the broadband (57%) and landline (58%) sectors - compared with mobile (69%) and pay TV (66%) - and dissatisfaction is increasing. This would seem to be related to the higher proportion of complaints in the landline and broadband sectors, which typically result in higher levels of dissatisfaction.
  • Key provider differences in each sector are:
    • Landline: Sky achieves the highest levels of satisfaction, while TalkTalk is rated below average. Satisfaction with Sky and BT has improved since 2009.
    • Broadband: Coming from behind the other providers in 2009, Orange now achieves the highest customer satisfaction level, while overall satisfaction with TalkTalk is below the market average.
    • Mobile: Improvement for T-Mobile and Orange since 2009, although no one provider dominates.
    • Pay TV: Improvement in Sky satisfaction and adviser ratings, and increasing dissatisfaction with customer service and declining loyalty for Virgin.
  • Encouragingly, ratings of various aspects of providers customer service have generally strengthened since 2009, with the exceptions of Virgin mobile and TalkTalk landline.

Impact on loyalty:

  • Delivery on customer service appears to have a direct impact on customer loyalty, with improved customer service having notably increased loyalty for Sky in the landline sector and Orange in the broadband sector. Similarly, weaker performances by TalkTalk and Virgin mobile have resulted in customers claiming to be less likely to stay with these providers.

Contact profiles (number of enquiries and/ or complaints):

  • There are relatively fewer contacts to landline providers, compared with other sectors. Contacts in the broadband sector have increased relative to 2009, and decreased in the pay TV sector.
  • There is some variation in the overall profile of contacts by sector, with a greater proportion of billing queries in the landline sector and more faults enquiries in the broadband sector. General queries are more dominant in the mobile and pay TV sectors.

Issue resolution:

  • Most respondents said that issues raised were subsequently resolved - although in many cases this required more than one contact. However, faults & repairs in the broadband and mobile sectors, and billing queries in the landline and broadband sectors, are less fully resolved.

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