Latest customer service satisfaction levels revealed

12 December 2014

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

Over 6,000 consumers were interviewed as part of the research. Of those, 3,402 who had contacted their provider between July and September 2014 were 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.

Pay TV

Overall customer service satisfaction is highest in the pay TV market where it has now reached 80% - an increase of 14 percentage points since Ofcom began monitoring customer service performance in 2009.

Satisfaction among customers with a pay TV complaint has increased to 68% in 2014, up 19 percentage points since 2011.

Landline and broadband

Levels of overall satisfaction are lower for both landline and broadband than for pay TV, with two thirds of customers (67% and 69% respectively) rating the customer service as satisfactory. 

Customer satisfaction among those with a complaint has increased within both sectors, now at 52% for broadband (up 14 percentage points since 2011) and 53% for landline (up 9 percentage points since 2011).

Mobile

Mobile customer service satisfaction - at 73% - remains broadly similar to previous years. However, satisfaction among those customers with a complaint has increased by 13 percentage points since 2011, to 59%.

The mobile sector also recorded a significantly lower customer contact rate of 19% in 2014 compared with 27% in 2013.

Ofcom monitors satisfaction with customer service as part of its wider statutory responsibilities. 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 and Content Group Director, said:

“When a customer needs to contact their communications provider, it’s important that they find the process as quick and easy as possible.
“Our research gives consumers valuable information about the standards of customer service across different sectors. As well as being a useful point of reference for consumers who may be choosing a new service or provider, we hope this research will provide an industry benchmark and act as an incentive for providers to continue aiming for the highest standards of customer service.”

Landline telephone (BT, Sky, Talk Talk, Virgin Media)

The main reasons customers contacted their landline provider were to discuss changes to their package or service (12% of contacts), or to report poor line quality (9% of contacts).

Overall satisfaction with customer service by landline provider

 

2009

2013

2014

BT

55%

63%  

61%

Talk Talk

57%

66%  

62%

Sky

67%

69%  

79%

Virgin Media

61%

74%  

72%

Sector Average

58%

66%

67%

Sky is the only landline provider to have increased its overall customer service satisfaction score since 2013 (up 10 percentage points). It is now significantly higher than the sector average (79% versus 67%).

In particular, the level of satisfaction with Sky advisors calling back as promised saw significant year on year improvement (48% to 59%), with above average satisfaction reported across all aspects of customer service.

Virgin Media performed above the sector average on advisors being able to understand customer issues and identify problems (73% versus 64% average), and advisors doing what they said they would do (72% versus 64%).

TalkTalk performed below average on advisors being able to understand customer issues and identify problems (52% versus 64% average), and with the logging of query details (46% versus 55%).

Levels of overall satisfaction for customer service with BT, Talk Talk and Virgin Media are in line with the sector average in 2014. None of these providers’ overall scores significantly increased from 2013. 

Fixed broadband (BT, Sky, Talk Talk, Virgin Media)

Connection speed was the main reason for broadband customers contacting customer services (19% of contacts), followed by discussing changes to their package or service (12% of contacts).

Overall satisfaction with customer service by fixed broadband provider

 

2009

2013

2014

BT

61%

63%  

60%

Sky

63%

71%  

75%

Talk Talk

60%

62%  

62%

Virgin Media

60%

71%  

76%

Sector Average

60%

66%

69%

Virgin Media achieved an overall satisfaction score of 76%. This has risen 16 percentage points since monitoring began in 2009 and is significantly higher than the sector average for 2014 (69%).

Satisfaction with the general attitude and ability of Virgin Media advisors was significantly above average.

Sky customers also reported above average satisfaction with some aspects relating to customer service advisors, and also the offer of compensation or goodwill payment (41% versus 32%).

BT’s overall satisfaction score (60%) was significantly lower than average. They also performed below average on specific customer service measures including speed and ease of getting through to the right person, time taken to handle issues and offering compensation or a goodwill payment.

Talk Talk’s satisfaction scores remained broadly unchanged, but scored lower than the sector average in relation to certain measures, including the usefulness of the advice given and aspects relating to advisors.

Mobile (3/Three, EE, O2, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone)

The key reason consumers gave for contacting their mobile provider was to discuss changes to their package or service (18% of contacts), followed by reporting poor reception or coverage (9% of contacts).

Overall satisfaction with customer service by mobile provider

 

2009

2013

2014

3/Three

63%

74% 70%
EE n/a n/a 69%
O2 73% 82% 78%
Virgin Mobile 73% 71% 76%
Vodafone 69% 77% 71%
Sector Average

69%

75% 73%

O2 achieved an overall satisfaction score of 78% and were rated as above average on a number of specific customer service measures.  These included ease of making contact, usefulness of information, the effective logging of query details and keeping the customer informed.

Compared with 2013, Vodafone reported significantly lower satisfaction for calling customers back as promised, the speed of answering phones, the usefulness of the information and advice given, and the effective logging of query details.

This is the first year that satisfaction data from EE, Orange and T-Mobile for 2014 is combined and presented as EE following integration of the customer service functions and processes.

Overall customer service satisfaction scores for 3/Three, EE, O2, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone are all in line with the 2014 sector average and none of these providers’ overall scores significantly increased from 2013 (where comparable). 

Pay TV (Sky and Virgin Media)

The main reason for consumers contacting pay TV providers was to discuss changes to their package or service (23%). There was also a significant increase in the proportion of contacts from consumers relating to higher bills than they’d expected (5% in 2013 to 9% in 2014).

Overall satisfaction with customer service by pay TV provider

 

2009

2013

2014

Sky

66%

80%  

81%

Virgin Media

66%

77%  

78%

Sector Average

66%

77%

80%

Both Sky and Virgin Media had overall satisfaction levels in line with the sector average.
Neither of these providers’ overall scores significantly increased from 2013. 

The full research can be found here.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. The research, conducted for Ofcom by Saville Rossiter-Base, involved 3,122 interviews as part of a nationally representative face-to-face omnibus survey.  An online panel survey was then completed in October 2014 among 3,402 consumers who had contacted their provider in the previous three months. Interviews with 3,402 consumers through the online panel research generated a total of 5,401 customer experiences across the four sectors that were covered in detail.
  2. The inclusion criteria for this year’s data capture were adjusted. The new criteria specifies that in order to qualify for inclusion in the report, providers need to have at least 4% market share and achieve a minimum sample of 35 respondents at Stage 1 of data collection. BT TV, TalkTalk TV, EE broadband and Tesco Mobile were excluded on the basis that insufficient sample was achieved at Stage 1.
  3. Since 2009, Ofcom has been reporting on the satisfaction of consumers who have contacted customer services, across the landline, broadband, mobile and pay TV sectors. From 2011 onwards, the research has also been cut to report specifically on levels of satisfaction among those consumers who have contacted customer services with a complaint.
  4. Where we describe satisfaction level as in line with sector averages this means they are not statistically significantly higher or lower than those averages.
  5. 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 are bases for the publication of consumer research and information by Ofcom.
  6. Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications, wireless communications and postal services.
  7. For further information about Ofcom please visit: www.ofcom.org.uk. Ofcom’s news releases can be found at: http://media.ofcom.org.uk/

CONTACT

Kate McGown
Ofcom Communications
kate.mcgown@ofcom.org.uk
 (+44) (0)300 123 400