Ofcom tells telecoms industry to up its game on customer service


The telecoms industry in the UK has been told to up its game on customer service after a new report by Ofcom revealed issues around the quality and speed of service.

The report revealed that the level of service varies across providers even though 92% of mobile customers, 89% of landline customers and 87% of broadband customers are satisfied with their service.

Virgin Media and TalkTalk had the largest proportion of broadband customers with a reason to complain in 2016, at 16%. In the mobile industry Vodafone saw the highest complaints at 7%.

Landline and broadband customers of Plusnet had to wait the longest, seven minutes and 27 seconds on average, to have their call answered, resulting in 21% hanging up before getting through.

By comparison, TalkTalk’s wait time was only 47 seconds, meaning 4% abandoned calls before getting through.

In the broadband space, while 86% of consumers are satisfied with reliability and 83% with speed, Ofcom claimed that the speeds provided are not consistent throughout the day and fall significantly during busy periods”.

It found that 9% of Virgin Media customers using its ‘up to 50Mbit/s’ and 6% using its ‘up to 100Mbit/s’ product had average speeds of 10Mbit/s or less at peak times.

Ofcom said the findings should incentivise providers to enhance their service quality and fix recurring problems.

Ofcom CEO Sharon White said: “We’re determined to help bring about a service revolution in the telecoms sector, where consistency and excellence becomes the norm, and customers always come first.

“Today we want to shine a light on how different providers perform, and are challenging the industry to up its game on customer service. We’ll be monitoring closely to ensure industry service standards are raised.”

The UK regulatory authority stated that it was not able to publish certain quality of service information either because providers did not collect it.

It expects that in the future, it could likely collect such information through the powers conferred to it by the Digital Economy Bill.

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