Latest customer service satisfaction levels revealed

20 December 2013

 

This page concerns research from 2013. Read the news release on the latest customer satisfaction research here.

 

Levels of satisfaction with the customer service of landline, broadband, mobile and pay TV providers are today reported in new Ofcom research. 1

Over 6,000 consumers who had contacted their provider between July and September 2013 were interviewed and asked to rate their customer service experience.

Various aspects of the providers' customer service were scored including: the speed with which issues were dealt with; the standard of advice given; and the attitude and ability of the advisor.

Overall satisfaction with customer service is highest in the pay TV and mobile markets. In both sectors, levels have increased year on year - from 69% in 2012 to 77% in 2013 for pay TV and 67% in 2012 to 75% in 2013 for mobile.

Comparably, levels of satisfaction with overall customer service are lower for both landline and broadband, with two thirds of consumers (66% respectively) satisfied with the customer service received. Current satisfaction levels for landline and broadband are, however, significantly higher than when Ofcom began researching customer service performance in 2009. 2

Ofcom carries out customer service research as part of its wider statutory responsibilities; 3 this feeds into a broader objective of ensuring that consumers have access to reliable, accurate and up-to-date information when choosing a service or provider.

This programme of work also includes publication of complaints data and research on broadband speeds.

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's Consumer Group Director, said: "We expect communications providers to deliver high standards of service to their customers. In the event things go wrong, it is important that consumers have peace of mind that their questions or issues will be dealt with in a timely and efficient way by their provider.

"Our research data gives consumers valuable information about standards of customer service, which can help them when choosing a new service or provider. We also hope this research acts as an incentive to providers to continue to work to improve their customer service and we will be discussing our findings with them."

Landline telephone services (Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and BT)

The main reason customers contacted their provider was to discuss changing their package or service (12% of contacts), or to report poor line quality (8% of contacts).

Overall satisfaction with customer service by landline provider

2009 2012 2013
Virgin Media 61% 64% 74%
Sky 67% 70% 69%
TalkTalk 57% 64% 66%
BT 55% 63% 63%
Sector Average 58% 64% 66%

In relation to overall satisfaction with landline providers' customer service, Virgin Media's score (74%) is significantly higher than the sector average (66%).

Virgin Media saw particular improvements year-on-year in logging of query details to avoid consumers having to repeat themselves (54% to 65%) and keeping consumers informed throughout the process (56% to 67%).

Satisfaction with the courtesy and politeness of Virgin Media customer service advisors also significantly improved since 2012 (69% to 79%) while it was the only provider to score higher than average on ease of getting through to the right person (67% versus 58% average).

Levels of overall satisfaction for BT, Sky and TalkTalk are in line with the sector average in 2013. None of these providers’ scores significantly increased from 2012.

Fixed broadband services (Sky, Virgin Media, BT, Orange and TalkTalk)

Connection speed was the main reason for broadband customers contacting customer services (16% of contacts), followed by changing their package or service (12% of contacts).

Overall satisfaction with customer service by fixed broadband provider

2009 2012 2013
Sky 63% 63% 71%
Virgin Media 60% 61% 71%
BT 61% 63% 63%
Orange 60% 59% 63%
TalkTalk 60% 60% 62%
Sector Average 60% 62% 66%

Sky and Virgin Media jointly achieved the highest customer service satisfaction scores in 2013 (71%), compared to the sector average (66%).

Virgin Media broadband customers are more likely to say they are satisfied with its customer service than a year ago (61% in 2012 compared to 71% in 2013).

Sky and Virgin Media both achieved above average satisfaction scores in a number of areas including the ability of their advisors to understand the issue and identify the problem, for ease of getting through to the right person and for offering compensation or goodwill payments.

BT scored lower than average for offering compensation or a goodwill payment. TalkTalk advisors were significantly below average for logging of query details to avoid consumers repeating themselves.

Mobile services (O2, Vodafone, Three, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Orange 4)

The main reason customers contacted their provider was to discuss changing their mobile package or service (17% of contacts), with the next most common issue being poor reception or coverage (8% of contacts).

Overall satisfaction with customer service by mobile provider

2009 2012 2013
O2 73% 76% 82%
Vodafone 69% 61% 77%
Three 63% 67% 74%
T-Mobile 67% 67% 71%
Virgin Mobile 73% 64% 71%
Orange 67% 65% 67%
Sector Average 69% 67% 75%

Compared to 2012, satisfaction with the customer service received has increased for the mobile sector overall (67% in 2012 to 75% in 2013), primarily driven by higher levels of satisfaction among Vodafone customers (61% in 2012 to 77% in 2013).

However, O2 customers are more likely to be satisfied (82% versus the sector average of 75%) while Orange customers are less likely to be satisfied (67%).

Orange scored below average in a number of customer service areas which include: ease of finding the provider's contact details and getting through to the right person; speed of answering the phones; time taken to handle the issue; usefulness of the information or advice and getting issues resolved to the customer's satisfaction.

Pay TV services (Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV)

The key reasons consumers gave for contacting their pay TV provider were to change their package or service (20% of contacts), followed by arranging for an engineer to visit (11% of contacts).

Overall satisfaction with customer service by pay TV provider

2009 2012 2013
Sky 66% 71% 80%
Virgin Media 66% 66% 77%
BT TV 5 n/a n/a 59%
Sector Average 66% 69% 77%

Compared to 2012, satisfaction with the customer service received has increased for the pay TV sector overall (69% in 2012 to 77% in 2013).

Sky achieved the highest customer service satisfaction score in 2013 (80%), significantly increasing on the 71% reported in 2012. Virgin Media customers are also more likely to be satisfied with the customer service received than they were a year ago (66% in 2012 compared with 77% in 2013).

BT TV achieved below average scores in 2013, with 59% of customers satisfied with their customer service experience.

Customers considered BT TV's customer service below average in a number of areas including; the advice or information being easily understandable; the time taken to handle issues; the ease of getting through to the right person, and the ability of the advisor to understand and identify the problem.

The full research can be found here.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. The research, conducted for Ofcom by Saville Rossiter-Base, involved 3,007 interviews as part of a nationally representative telephone omnibus survey.  An online panel survey was then completed in October 2013 among consumers who had contacted their provider in the previous three months. A total of 6,112 customer experiences were covered in detail across the four sectors through the online panel research.
  2. In 2009, overall customer service satisfaction was 58% for landline and 60% for broadband.
  3. Ofcom's primary duty in carrying out its functions is to further the interests of UK citizens and consumers. Section 3(1) of the Communications Act 2003. Sections 14, 15 and 26 of the Act refer to the publication of consumer research and information by Ofcom.
  4. Customer satisfaction among EE Ltd customers will be included when this brand reaches the threshold for inclusion. When the 2013 fieldwork commenced EE Ltd had less than 4% market share.
  5. Research waves conducted prior to 2013 did not include BT TV for two reasons. Firstly in waves 1-3 (2009, Q1 2011and Q3 2011) BT were below the market threshold of 4% and so were excluded. In 2012 (wave 4) BT TV was added as a provider in the Pay TV sector. However, there were insufficient customers making contact interviewed at Stage 1 for weighting at Stage 2 and therefore the data collected was not sufficiently robust and BT TV was excluded.
  6. In January 2011, Ofcom introduced a single mandatory Code of Practice setting standards for how communications providers must handle complaints from consumers. It requires providers to ensure the fair and timely resolution of complaints, and have procedures that are transparent and accessible so that consumers can easily find out how to make a complaint. In February 2013, Ofcom opened a monitoring and enforcement programme to assess communications providers' compliance with Ofcom’s complaints handling requirements (covered by General Condition 14.4) and ensure that providers are making consumers aware of their right to Alternative Dispute Resolution.