New research by Ofcom into customer service satisfaction levels of the ten biggest communication providers has shown that consumers are least satisfied with the customer service provided by landline and broadband providers. The news comes following new rules that come in to force today which will require communication providers to do more to help consumers with complaints about their service. This includes having to provide information of dispute resolution services on all paper bills, and writing to customers whose complaints have not been resolved within eight weeks.
Ofcom received a higher level of complaints about TalkTalk who came out bottom of the overall satisfaction survey on customer service for their landline products, with only 53% of customers being satisfied and 24% stating they were dissatisfied. BSkyB came top with 66% satisfaction and 17% dissatisfaction. In terms of broadband, TalkTalk/Tiscali again came out bottom with 52% satisfaction and 23% dissatisfaction. Orange came top with satisfaction levels of 76% and dissatisfaction down at 11%.
Ofcom noted that for landline phone services, no scores were significantly better or worse than average, although BT and BSkyB had improved since 2009 on speed at answering the phone and keeping customers informed throughout the process. TalkTalk's low scores were mainly down to customers being unable to get through to the right person, the speed at answering calls, as well as a general dissatisfaction of the customer service advisor.
The feedback for TalkTalk in terms of the broadband service is similar to that of their landline service, whilst both BT and BSkyB received improved satisfaction ratings compared to 2009. The biggest change was Orange who went from bottom in 2009 (with the lowest satisfaction levels) to top this year.
"The research shows that there can be considerable differences in consumers' experiences of customer service. By publishing this research we want to give consumers an insight into the standard of customer service being offered across the communications sector. The more information of this kind consumers have, the more effectively they can exercise their choice."Claudio Pollack, (Consumer Group Director) Ofcom
Ofcom interviewed 3000 people nationally for their customer services stats and intend to repeat the process again next year to see how providers have changed. Unfortunately, they only include providers with at least 4% market share, which excludes many of the small providers who may offer better customer service, and won't be highlighted as such in this survey. 63% of broadband service issues are dealt with on the phone and 44% of these related to a specific fault with the service. Connection speeds were seen as the biggest issue, whilst 'bill shock' also seems to be increasing.
Our own Customer Service Awards based on regular survey of our users throughout 2010 show a slightly different picture. Orange took bottom place with our users giving orange just 37% satisfaction rating. BE and O2 came out on top within our Large ISP category, both of which were excluded from the Ofcom stats. The difference may come about from when the ratings were completed, with the thinkbroadband survey taking places throughout 2010. Current ratings show an improvement from Orange in this.