The latest research from Ofcom has revealed the best and worst ISPs for customer service.
The study is intended to provide consumers with comparable information to help them make more informed decisions when choosing a telecoms provider. It also includes data on complaints and broadband speeds.
In September, thousands of consumers were asked to rate their customer service experience if they had contacted their supplier between June and August 2011.
Overall, consumers said that they were unhappier with broadband and fixed line customer service than with pay TV and mobile.
For landline services, Sky performed the best with satisfaction reported at 74%. BT came in second with 63%, TalkTalk climbed to third place at 59% and Virgin Media were bottom with 53%.
Sky customers reported that they were “particularly pleased that advisors took their questions or issues seriously”, they were also more willing to resolve complaints and offer goodwill payments.
TalkTalk showed a massive improvement for the way they handle complaints since the last survey, carried out in February, and consumer dissatisfaction fell by a good 22%. They also showed progress in other areas of customer satisfaction.
However, satisfaction with Virgin Media showed a decline since February, with an increase in complaints that hadn’t been resolved.
In general, all ratings for BT, Sky and TalkTalk have improved since Ofcom started to monitor the companies for customer service in 2009.
Sky customers also reported the highest incidence of satisfaction for fixed broadband at 64%, Orange came in second at 58%, BT and Virgin Media with 57% and TalkTalk trailing slightly with 55%.
Consumers also said that connection speeds continue to be the biggest issue for them, in front of package changes.
Again TalkTalk showed improvement in many aspects of customer service, included call-backs and dispute resolution.
Mobile service providers showed a higher level of satisfaction than landline and broadband with 72% of Orange, O2 and T-Mobile customers all reporting to be happy with the service they received.
66% of Vodafone customers were satisfied with their service, with Virgin Mobile figures coming in at 62% and 60% for Three, who dealt with a high proportion of complaints largely driven by reception issues.
Overall, Sky came out on top with 70% of their customers saying they were happy with the services they received, whilst 62% of Virgin Media customers expressed satisfaction.
In January of this year, Ofcom introduced a mandatory code of practice which sets out standards for how telecoms companies handle customer complaints.
This requires that complaints are dealt with both fairly and quickly and companies must ensure that customers can easily find out how to complain.
“Providers also have to write to consumers telling them about their right to go to Alternative Dispute Resolution – provided by CISAS and Ombudsman Services: Communications – after their complaints have lasted eight weeks,” Ofcom said.
This will be further enforced at the beginning of 2012, when the regulatory body will monitor companies to ensure they are complying with the code of practice.
Any company found to breaching the rules could face a fine of up to 10% of their turnover.
Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, Claudio Pollack, said: “Ofcom hopes that this research will both incentivise providers to improve all aspects of their customer service, as well as giving consumers valuable information about the standards of customer service when choosing a provider.”