Ofcom says firms need to “up their games” in complaints handling

Communications regulator reveals latest figures on customer satisfaction

Ofcom has just released its latest figures on broadband customer satisfaction in the UK.

Level of satisfaction with broadband services

The survey found that:

“Overall, 83% of broadband customers are satisfied with their service (similar to last year: 80%), while 13% had reason to complain in 2018 (down from 15% in 2017).

TalkTalk scores below the industry average on several measures, with its broadband customers less likely to be satisfied with their overall service and less likely to recommend their provider to a friend.

TalkTalk customers are also more likely to have a reason to complain, less likely to have their complaint resolved on first contact, and less likely be satisfied with how their complaint is handled.”

Last year TalkTalk was found to be joint worst with Virgin Media. Followers of me on Twitter will know that I was not shocked to see VM at the bottom.

The BBC reported that “A spokeswoman for TalkTalk said the data showed an “improving trend” on the number of complaints.” But on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ofcom’s director of market intelligence, Ian Macrae, pointed out the obvious saying “It’s hard for TalkTalk to hide from the fact that their customer service isn’t up to scratch”. He also added “”We absolutely think that the firms need to up their games in the way they handle complaints.”

chart showing Talk Talk above average for complaints

Plusnet (owned by BT) complaints more than doubled in the last quarter of 2018 when it experienced problems with the launch of a new billing system.

The report describes how only HALF of those who make a complaint are happy with the result. This is no surprise to me given the large number of times I still get asked to help with telecom complaints. The total number of complaints to Ofcom about broadband actually fell by 23% in the survey.

Level of satisfaction with mobile services

The Ofcom survey on mobile services showed little change from the previous year.

93% of mobile customers are satisfied with their overall service (last year this was 91% so a small increase) and 3% said they were unhappy.

This is probably due to it being easier to change contracts (no email addresses to worry about unlike your broadband provider!) and yearly contracts. The 3% are probably those who are in a contract that they can’t yet leave. The survey reported that:

“Giffgaff and Tesco Mobile customers are more likely to recommend their provider to a friend. Their customers also have above-average satisfaction with value for money (97% for giffgaff and 92% for Tesco Mobile, compared to an 87% average).

Most likely to recommend chart

Vodafone customers, on the other hand, are less likely to be satisfied with value for money (82%), while Virgin Mobile customers have below-average satisfaction with how their complaint is handled. Both companies are also less likely to resolve complaints on first contact.”

Sky Mobile, a newcomer to the market, entered the league table for the first time and did so with the fewest complaints.

I am surprised to see EE where it is. It is the only company that I have left and never returned to in any sector wholly due to its poor customer service. That was a couple of years ago, perhaps they have since improved.

Complaints to Ofcom overall

Complaints to Ofcom about broadband firms actually fell by 23% last year from the previous year. Complaints about mobile companies fell by 15%.

However, satisfaction with mobile reception is increasing across the board (87%, up from 84% last year).

Sky is the least-complained about provider across all four services – broadband, landline, mobile and pay TV. I have to say it is also the company about which I hear fewest complaints.

Graph of providers with satisfaction levels over quarters

 

 

 

 

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said:

“Shabby service can be more than just frustrating; it can have a big impact on people and small businesses who rely on being connected.

When you’re shopping around for a phone or broadband service, quality can be just as important as price. This information can help buyers make the right decision.”

Table of providers and satisfaction levels

Ombudsman Services

Matthew Vickers, chief executive of Ombudsman Services, which is approved by Ofcom to resolve broadband and phone complaints, said:

“For many people, broadband and phone access is an essential utility like energy, so it’s vital that providers offer good customer service and fix problems quickly when they do happen.

“Consumers can escalate unresolved broadband and phone complaints to us after eight weeks and, if their provider is signed up to our scheme, we will investigate. If we uphold the complaint, we will require the company to take action to put things right.

We are keen to work with communications providers to help them improve their complaint handling and customer service more generally, in order to raise standards across the industry.”

The future for telecoms complaint handling

The Ofcom report notes that the handling of customer complaints could be improved “across the industry”, with only half of those who make a complaint to any provider ending up happy with the result.

I’ve said for many years that the communications sector is the worst for communication! Companies make it difficult for people to contact them. For example, a few months ago I was trying to deal with something on Twitter with Virgin Media and was actually told to contact them during certain times of the day. The person responding couldn’t actually answer the simple question! Ridiculous!

And how about Vodafone, a huge multinational communications provider, which does not even have an email address available to reach its customer service department? It isn’t alone.

I regularly hear about the whole complaints process with any telecom provider being tedious. I’m yet to see or hear of anyone who has said that customer service from their provider has improved at all. Ever!

Further help

If you are experiencing a problem with your telecom provider or think you are likely to in future, then bookmark this page!

lap top on woman's knees phone in one handAll you need to know about complaining to telecom providers is full of links to different posts with lots of information and advice about various situations and what to do to get solutions.

 

 

 

 

The best-selling  bookbook Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!  gives more information, advice, tips, consumer laws, rights, regulations, stories and template letters for complaining about the telecom and numerous other sectors.

Help for business

The Complaining Cow logo, complaints, consultancy, speaker, workshops and moreHelen Dewdney is The Complaining Cow and has the ear of many customers. She helps businesses improve customer complaint handling and customer service to improve complaint handling through customer perspectives and challenge to gain and retain customers. If you are interested in working with Helen see Services for a variety of innovative solutions to your business needs. You can contact her with your own ideas too of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complaining about goods and services – all you need to know

Consumer rights and how to use them when complaining about goods and services

There are loads of posts on complaining about goods and services on the blog. Here for ease are links for you to find the information most relevant to your issue.

Using consumer law to complain about goods

A Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – the main law covering faulty goods and services

What you need to know about the Consumer Rights Act 2015 digital content additional information

How to use the Misrepresentation Act 1967 all areas of the Act

The Acts of law protecting you from poor service & faulty items particularly useful for items and services purchased before 01 October 2015

Stories about using consumer rights to complain about goods

When flowers aren’t delivered: What to do a quick story regarding complaining flowers not delivered.

BHS customer care mistakes which made it look like it didn’t care! Although BHS is no more this story covers what you can do when a piece is missing from a product and you don’t want to take the item back, you want the piece!

How to beat Uncle Tom Cobley’s customer service a story of the rare occasion when it may be better to deal with the manufacturer

How to complain about an item over a year old and how not to be fobbed off

Rip Off Britain faulty goods

Complaining about services

A Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – the main law covering faulty goods and services

How to use the Misrepresentation Act 1967 all areas of the Act

The Acts of law protecting you from poor service & faulty items particularly useful for items and services purchased before 01 October 2015

Stories about using consumer rights to complain about services

How to get the cream (without being a clot!) a story of complaining about poor service when wanting a cream tea!

When flowers aren’t delivered: What to do a quick story regarding complaining flowers not delivered.

Not such an Easylife customer service a story about perseverance and complaining on principle

How to complain about deliveries

What happens when a business doesn’t prepare for a promotion story of how a delivery was late, then packaged badly causing damage. The claim.

Your rights, mail order, online and deliveries all you need to know regarding how to complain about purchasing items off premises

Deliveries ITV news with Martin Lewis, Helen Dewdney & Peter Handley

All you need to know about unsolicited goods what you need to know if you have received items that you didn’t order

Rip Off Britain shopping online

How to complain in different specific sectors

Electricity pylon Everything you need to know to complain about energy problems

 

All you need to know to make a complaint about energy posts about your additional rights specific to the energy sector for various situations

 

lap top on woman's knees phone in one hand

 

All you need to know about complaining to telecom providers posts about your additional rights specific to the telecom sector for various situations

 

 

Look out timber frame on a beach "researching, booking and complaining aabout holidays and flights. Tips, ideas and your rights"

 

All you need to know about booking/complaining about holidays/flights/travel posts about your additional rights specific to the travel sector for various situations

 

How to take complaints further

How to contact CEOs when and how to get contact details of CEOs and how to write a letter to a CEO

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): What it all means post that explains what it is all about and how you can use it.

Landing in court with Ryanair warning about using AviationADR when dealing with aviation complaints

Ombudsman Omnishambles and More Ombudsman Omnishambles the research reports looking at how some ADR schemes such as the one run by Consumer Dispute Resolution Limited which used to run The Retail Ombudsman and lost the title are being approved and monitored.

Rip Off Britain Independent reports

Tips on complaining effectively

Top 20 Tips How to complain effectively! Lots of tips and advice to making sure you always get what you are entitled to when you complain

Top 20 Tips for Complaining Effectively

How to write a letter of complaint a sample formal letter  of a complaint written regarding an issue with Sharps fitting a bedroom.

Everything everyone needs to know about call centres the secrets of how they work and how to beat them

What happens when a business doesn’t prepare for a promotion outlines how you can get to the front of the queue of complaints.

Why you suck at complaining (and what you can do about it) not good at complaining? The reason and what to do about it may be here!

Why you should write not ‘phone to complain effectively whenever you can you should write not phone, here’s why.

Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow BBC Breakfast TV Discusses How We Complain in the UK

7 Common fob offs that companies use to not give refunds! typical fob offs companies use to stop you asserting your rights and how to address them!

15 Great words to use in complaints helpful to use in those emails!

10 Types of Complainer Which Are You? check yourself out!

How to Complain Effectively

How to use social media to complain

The twitter symbol How not to complain on Twitter

Is social media an effective method for complaining?

5 ways how not to use Twitter to complain (and 5 ways how you should)

 

Questioning why you should complain

7 Questions you should ask yourself if you don’t complain!

Warning: How not complaining drives up fat cat profits!

Complaining in the EU

What did the EU do for consumer law? various consumer laws that cover you when shopping in the EU.

What to do when your flight is delayed – the full guide everything you need to know about delayed and cancelled flights, your rights and how to take matters further and a warning should you use AviationADR

Look East interviews Ryanair CCO and Helen Dewdney

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For more advice, consumer laws and template letters GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

 

Nearly everything you could ever need to make a complaint about anything!