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Broadband providers customer service performance
Thursday 05 April 2007 18:06:09 by Andrew Ferguson

How good or bad a broadband provider is at customer service is very important. No one can guarantee a problem free service, but when things go wrong we all want a competent and quick resolution to our problems. To this end we have published a round-up of the customer service ratings broadband users have voted for between February 2006 and February 2007.

The ratings seem to reflect a growth in the amount of discontent within the broadband community in the last year or so, particularly since the widespread introduction of rate adaptive up to 8Mbps products. While we are aware that any ratings system is likely to attract the disgruntled more than the happy users, a drop from 58.1% on average to 49.5% seems significant. Hopefully by sending out rating reminder emails to registered users each month we will attract a good cross section of broadband users, rather than just those having problems.

Provider Feb 06 Aug 06 Feb 07 Change to..
Rating Sample Rating Sample Rating Sample Aug 06 Feb 07
AOL 53% 5152 49% 5455 46% 2084 -4 -7
Be 54% 727 67% 342 70% 723 +13 +16
Biscit 66% 52 64% 66 33% 68 -2 -33
BT Total 57% 8027 50% 15846 50% 8305 -7 -7
Bulldog 47% 3170 41% 1334 38% 745 -7 -9
Demon 59% 1163 67% 2104 51% 1117 +8 -8
Eclipse 77% 1269 65% 1489 57% 1390 -12 -20
Entanet 78% 195 73% 206 73% 419 -5 -5
F2S 53% 2323 55% 817 53% 867 +2 0
Griffin 75% 70 66% 92 67% 64 -9 -8
Homechoice 64% 1117 60% 375 59% 218 -4 -5
IDNET 83% 134 80% 96 85% 177 -3 +2
Karoo 56% 279 53% 162 48% 302 -3 -8
Madasafish 66% 711 74% 615 68% 492 +8 +2
Metronet 49% 523 58% 240 - - +9 -
Mistral 52% 39 64% 125 57% 150 +12 +5
Namesco 78% 220 82% 307 64% 314 +4 -14
Newnet 74% 235 77% 155 75% 227 +3 +1
Nildram 80% 1247 72% 866 63% 1163 -8 -17
Orange 52% 3930 47% 5555 44% 7759 -5 -8
Pipex 63% 4210 51% 4747 45% 4309 -12 -18
Plusnet 63% 3086 50% 2714 51% 2611 -13 -12
Prodigy 50% 88 64% 55 41% 56 +14 -9
Sky n/a n/a 43% 3867 49% 3331 n/a n/a
Supanet 82% 784 79% 489 69% 400 -3 -13
Talk Talk 40% 1166 34% 4283 40% 3427 -6 0
Tiscali 46% 5269 45% 9813 42% 5075 -1 -4
UK Online 55% 1272 59% 440 53% 396 +4 -2
Virgin (Cable) 58% 12646 53% 9914 54% 6773 -5 -4
Virgin (ADSL) 62% 1883 53% 3508 45% 2713 -9 -17
Zen 89% 2105 87% 897 76% 1149 -2 -13

The monthly averages over this period are:

  • February 2006: 58.1%, sample size 63,092
  • August 2006: 50.7%, sample size 76,974
  • February 2007: 49.5%, sample size 56,824

The results indicate that the sharpest drop was in the period up until August 2006, which coincides with the launch of the 'up to 8 Mbps' IPstream Max product. This rate adaptive product created an explosion of problems for users who previously had stable connections which may now run faster, but at the expense of stability. Invariably it seems broadband and wholesale providers were not ready to support users in this area and give guidance on the changes to their telephone wiring that can help to improve the stability of a connection.

The results are not all bad news. Up until February 2007, a few providers appear to have pleased their customers, namely Be, IDNET, Madasafish, Mistral and Newnet and improved their customer service experience. Some broadband service providers though do need to pay attention to how they handle customer service, the worst performers appear to be Biscit, Eclipse, Namesco, Nildram, Pipex, and Virgin's ADSL based services (formerly Virgin.net) which all showed large drops in customer service performance.

Of course any survey is a snapshot of the time the votes were cast, for up to the minute feedback talk to others who are using the service on places like our forums.

Comments

Posted by JohnUK over 10 years ago
The number one question here is.

Will BT learn their lesson when they rollout ADSL2+ on 21CN?

The ADSL1 rollout was frankly appalling and BT was nowhere near prepared nor tested properly for it.

I just hope thye learn their lesson from this for future rollous...
Posted by keith_thfc over 10 years ago
Incredible to see be* as the only 'major' ISP with any significant increase over the year, especially when you consider their support is outsourced.

No suprise to see Pipex fare so poorly. That's what happens when you focus more on marketing spin than actually keeping existing customers informed/happy.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 10 years ago
Excellent article that makes very interesting reading. I believe this is 10 times more useful then any silly watchdog, Ofcom etc etc figures. You cant argue with what a user actually thinks :) No real shock from reading these forums at the providers that came out on top and those that came out bottom. Great article, many thanks to the staff here for collating all the votes from the previous months, nice work :)
Posted by kamelion over 10 years ago
would be interesting to see f2s'and nildram's results before pipex took over
Posted by uniquename over 10 years ago
Re Andrew's comment in the article about Aug 06 and ISPs not being geared up to help users re stability/wiring. Very true. But my hobby-horse is that Max also made it feasible to download huge amounts, where even 2Mb did not.

So users do it, and the results are enormous costs to ISPs using BT Centrals and congestion all over the network.

Hence the introduction of FUPs and shaping. Plenty of forum threads about those though, so let's not clog this comment area up with a repeat discussion. :)
Posted by rjohnloader over 10 years ago
Now Mistral has joined karoo and Eclipse as part of the Hull Corporation Telephones - sorry Kingston Comms - stable it'll be interesting to watch their decline. Eclipse will pay me £40 to refer a new customer. My view is if the service was good and improving I'd do it for free.
Posted by brendalana over 10 years ago
Would you believe my ISP — Orange (smtp.rangehome.co.uk) — automatically blocks my e-mails with "Transsexual" and its drivatives in the Subject... apparently for no legitimate reason the proper and correct medical term "Transsexual" and its derivatives are black-listed... and... Orange online help rejected my queries vis-a-vis the blockage because they included the term "Transsexual..."

Orange doesn't know the term "customer service" when it comes to performance...



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