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Ofcom customer satisfaction survey results 2022

Half full or half empty?

Ofcom has revealed the results of customer satisfaction with telecom providers in its yearly research. In 2021 it found that “only half of customers were satisfied with how complaints are handled. Call-waiting times and complaints-handling are areas of particular concern.”

“On average, one in five broadband customers, one in ten mobile customers and one in 20 landline customers said they had reason to complain about their service or provider in 2021.”

I’m far from surprised that fewer than half of customers who complained to their mobile, broadband or landline provider were satisfied with the way their issue was handled. The fact that Ofcom reports that most complainants had to contact their provider more than once to get a resolution reflects what I regularly hear from consumers.

In 2021 just 37% of broadband complaints, 40% of landline complaints and 43% of mobile complaints were completely resolved on first contact.

Source: Ofcom
Source: Ofcom
Source: Ofcom

What difference does two years make?

Mobile providers

In 2019 the average hold time was 1 minute 18 seconds, in 2020 2 minutes 7 seconds and in 2021 the average time that mobile customers had to wait to speak to someone in customer services was 2 minute 15 seconds. It is clear that delays are increasing.

The Ofcom research showed that “O2’s mobile customers were kept waiting the longest on average last year – 3 minutes 59 seconds, up by 1 minute 42 seconds since 2020. BT Mobile, EE, iD Mobile and Vodafone’s average call waiting times were also longer in 2021 compared to the previous year. Three was the quickest to answer customer calls, averaging just 16 seconds.

Tesco Mobile and Virgin Mobile managed to reduce their wait times in 2021, but Sky Mobile and Three were the only mobile firms to cut their times to pre-pandemic levels.”

Only Plusnet, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone reduced average wait times to pre-pandemic levels. Average wait times for broadband and landline customers in 2019 were 2 minutes 16 seconds, in 2020 4 minutes 9 seconds and 2021 2 minutes 16 seconds. KCOM customers however wait an average of 8 minutes 53 seconds.

Average call waiting times by mobile provider

graph
Source: Ofcom

Landline and broadband providers

Only Plusnet, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone reduced average wait times to pre-pandemic levels. Average wait times for broadband and landline customers in 2019 were 2minute 16 seconds, 2020 4 minutes 9 seconds and 2021 2 minutes 16 seconds. KCOM customers however wait an average of 8 minute 53 seconds.

Average call waiting times by broadband and landline provider

graph
Source: Ofcom

Ofcom responds – as it does every year…

Ian Macrae, Ofcom’s Director of Market Intelligence, said:  “When things go wrong with your phone or broadband service, it’s incredibly frustrating if you have to wait on hold for ages to get it sorted, or if your complaint is handled badly.”

“As we emerge from the pandemic, some companies need to up their game when it comes to resolving problems”

Ofcom needs to do more to bring providers to account. In response to the Ofcom 2019 report, Macrae said “We absolutely think that the firms need to up their games in the way they handle complaints.”

“Does that sound familiar?!”

“It’s all very well Ofcom calling on providers to prioritise customer service improvements and ‘deliver what customers expect and deserve’ but Ofcom has been saying this for years! What is Ofcom doing to make that happen?”

A spokesperson for Ofcom said “We have several rules relating to customer service – for example, on complaints handling, contract information, accurate billing, end-of-contract notifications, simple switching and treating vulnerable customers fairly. If we see evidence of widespread issues that could be in breach of our rules, we’ve shown we won’t hesitate to step in and take action.

However, the last time Ofcom fined a telecom company was O2 for £10.5 million in February 2021 for overcharging customers.

The last time it fined a company regarding complaint handling was EE for £1m in July 2015 for complaint handling failures

How to complain to your telecoms company

As always, I advise putting complaints in writing. “This way you always have the evidence should you take the matter further. Some companies will make it very difficult for you to contact customer services in this way. However you can get the CEO’s email address from ceoemail.com. Even if the CEO does not handle the complaint directly, it does get the complaint into the escalated system, with an evidence trail.

If you cannot get the matter resolved to your satisfaction, ask for a deadlock letter. If your complaint has been going on for more than 8 weeks from when you first contacted the provider you do not need the letter. You can just take the matter to the Communication Ombudsman or CISAS (your provider must be a member of one of these). They will make a decision on your case and the telecoms provider must abide by the ruling.

Further help with complaining about telecom providers

lap top on woman

 

How to complain effectively to telecom providers links to various posts regarding mobile, broadband, telecoms…

 

 

 

The Complaining Cow logo download templates

 

Purchase and download Templates for complaining about utilities if you just want a template to get a matter sorted quickly.

 

 

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo

 

If you need help with complaining effectively and making sure you are never fobbed off. GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

101 Habits of an Effective complainer book cover with logo

 

 

101 Habits of an Effective Complainer to help you become more skilled and assertive when making complaints

 

 

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Latest News telecoms Topical Utilities

13 top tips for saving on your landline, mobile & broadband

Millions missing out on broadband savings

Today 15/02/22 Ofcom announced that “Millions of families under pressure from the rising cost of living could each save £144 on their annual broadband bills.”

Ofcom’s latest report on the affordability of communications services found that only 55,000 homes have taken advantage of discounted  broadband packages available although  an estimated 4.2 million households are entitled to receive them. Just 1.2% of homes. The rest are missing out on on average savings of £144 a year.

But only 55,000 homes have taken advantage of these discounted rates so far – just 1.2% of those eligible. That means that millions of benefits recipients are missing out on an average annual broadband saving of £144 each.

two hand on laptop on desk

Many telecom providers are putting up their prices for phone, mobile and broadband. How can you save money on your bills? There are a number of ways you can cut the costs of your phone and Internet, and here I share just a few ways you can reduce your telecom outgoings.

Know your telecom consumer rights!

1) Under rules set by the regulator Ofcom, if you’re on a fixed-price contract for your broadband or mobile, your provider can’t put up your price beyond what was agreed when you signed up to your contract, without giving you a right to exit without a penalty. Providers must warn you when your current contract is ending and tell you what you could save by signing up to a new package.

2) They must give you at least 30 days’ notice of a change to your contract, during which time you can decide to move to a new provider. You may have to pay a penalty fee, depending on your contract terms.

3) Ofcom rules do not prohibit providers from using price variation terms. However, providers must make them sufficiently prominent and transparent when you agree to the contract (i.e. you are made aware of the different amounts you will have to pay at different points of the contract). If you have not been made aware, then you can leave the contract without any penalty, meaning you will not pay a termination fee.

Look at what you need and what you might be eligible for

4) Just as you can save your energy costs by looking at how you use appliances, you can do similar with how you use your packages. Before you do anything, take a good look at what you actually need. Check your download speeds. Check what you are and aren’t using. Do you need all the add-ons that you have? Are you actually using your landline more in evenings and weekends? Are you watching all the TV channels you are paying for? It may be that you could downgrade or get a more suitable package from another provider.

Are you eligible for discounted telecom packages?

5) Providers should have in place special, cheaper deals for people in receipt of certain benefits (sometimes known as ‘social tariffs’). In July 2021 Ofcom set out some boundaries for effective social tariffs, such as ensuring there are no data caps, minimal initial up-front costs and no early termination charges. Check with your provider what is available.

6) If you are on Universal Credit a number of providers will offer different deals. Currently six broadband providers offer at least one discounted offer priced between £10 – £20 a month for broadband speeds ranging from 10Mbit/s to 67Mbit/s. These are BT, Community Fibre, G.Network, Hyperoptic, KCOM and Virgin Media 02.

7) If you are a job seeker check out how to get six months of free broadband.

Look at switching provider

8) Use comparison websites, as well as going to telecom providers’ sites direct. Get an idea of the range of packages available and what you are prepared to pay before you make any decisions or start to haggle with your current provider.

9) Use cashback sites, such as TopCashback and Quidco. Check them all, as they have different offers and this could give you even more money off.

Armed with switching information, haggle

10) Use all the information you have gleaned from comparison and cashback sites when speaking to your current provider. Remember, if you’re ordering by telephone or on the Internet, you have 14 days to cancel if a better deal comes along in the meantime.

11) Be polite and assertive. Haggle on the length of the deal you get offered, as well as the price. Remember, companies expect and allow for giving discounts… so grab them!

12) Be open to any kind of upgrade. A few months ago I complained to Virgin Media about speeds and poor service, and after a few engineer visits and lots of complaining I got 6 months paid for, a discount on an upgrade and a free powerline.

13) Check to see if you have any deals available with credit cards or discount cards you may have too, such as a student card that may give you a discount on a telecom package.

This is a version of my article Telecom price hikes: 13 top tips for saving on your landline, mobile and broadband published on the Motley Fool 03/02/22.

Further help with complaining about telecom providers

lap top on woman

 

How to complain effectively to telecom providers links to various posts regarding mobile, broadband, telecoms…

 

 

 

The Complaining Cow logo download templates

 

Purchase and download Templates for complaining about utilities if you just want a template to get a matter sorted quickly.

 

 

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo

 

If you need help with complaining effectively and making sure you are never fobbed off. GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

101 Habits of an Effective complainer book cover with logo

 

 

101 Habits of an Effective Complainer to help you become more skilled and assertive when making complaints.