TalkTalk comes out worst in Ofcom customer satisfaction survey

Orange comes out on top for broadband, with T-Mobile first in mobile sector
Kerry Butters

July 22, 2011

Ofcom has just released their findings on a survey carried out on customer satisfaction in the telecommunications market.

The survey covers providers with a market share of 4% or more and includes landline, broadband, mobile and pay TV suppliers.

Landline and broadband providers gave customers most cause for complaint, whilst consumers reported themselves to be happier with mobile and pay TV for dealing with enquiries or problems.

The research was carried out in February and Ofcom released the results as new rules come into force on how operators handle complaints. The new directives require suppliers in the communications market to do more to help complaints to be resolved.

Additionally, communications providers will now also have to supply details on any dispute on paper bills and advise customers within a period of eight weeks that an unresolved case can be taken to the ombudsman.

A spokesman for Ofcom said: “Customer service is one of the most complained about issues to Ofcom.  Consumer information plays a critical role in promoting effective competition as the absence of key information (price, quality of service and value for money) can lead to poor purchasing decisions and inhibit switching.”

In terms of customer satisfaction, the results were reasonably close. Orange was top of the league with only 11% registering complaints whilst BskyB and BT have improved customer service since the last survey in 2009, with only 17% expressing dissatisfaction. TalkTalk was at the bottom of the pile with 24%.

Ofcom say that this is line with the complaints they have received about TalkTalk, with most customers annoyed that they can’t get through to the right person, or having to wait a long time to get through.

Connection speeds were most likely to make broadband customers contact their provider along with package changes and increasingly, unexpectedly high bills (possibly due to roaming charges).

Mobile suppliers also came under scrutiny in the research and Ofcom found that the level of satisfaction experienced by consumers was “higher than expected” at 69%.

T-Mobile topped the scale in the mobile segment of the survey with a mere 9% of customers unhappy with the service they received. Ofcom reported that the company, along with Orange, Vodafone and O2 had made a “significant improvement since 2009”.

However, Three had the worst record with “a higher proportion of complaints and fault issues than average,” at 11%.

In pay TV, Virgin Media performed badly as it made no improvement since 2009, but BskyB was said to have improved on most aspects of its service. However, overall satisfaction with providers was higher than average at 66%.

Ofcom said that it “hopes publication of this research will act as an incentive to communications providers to improve their customer service levels.”

“The quality of customer services provided by communications suppliers can change over time.  To ensure that consumers and Ofcom have an accurate picture of service levels, Ofcom intends to conduct this again in the next 12 months.”


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