If energy providers are the new banks, are telcos fast becoming the new energy providers?
As a sector, telcos have slowly seen their customer satisfaction scores drop below all-sector averages, and BT’s recent financial results, in which it reported a drop in revenue of roughly 2%, is now further proof that many telecoms providers are in need of vastly improving their overall customer experience.
According to the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) and its mid-year UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), telcos are now among some of the lowest-ranking industries, with Ofcom reporting record complaint levels for the sector last year.
Other UKCSI figures further castigate the industry: last year, more people experience a problem with their telecoms provider (23%) than with any of the 12 other sectors surveyed, while 80% of customers who experience a problem report it to their telco, far higher than the UK average across all sectors (72.7%).
BT has borne the brunt of most of the criticism angled at telcos in recent years, having received the unenviable titles that range from being Britain’s most irritating call centre to have the nation’s worst hold music.
However, even telecoms providers reporting successful financial figures are receiving criticism for the experience they currently offer customers. EE, which reported a 1.2% increase in quarterly revenue in Q3 of 2014, has been heavily criticised for charging customers 50p to skip to the front of its call centre queue.
“The results of the latest UKCSI demonstrate the close link between customer service and business performance; organisations with higher customer satisfaction also benefit from stronger ratings for trust, reputation, recommendation and likelihood to remain a customer,” said Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service.
“Organisations that deliver poor levels of customer service put these at risk, underlining the importance of customer service as a driver of business performance.”
There are some exceptions to the rules: The top rated telecommunications organisation, Tesco Mobile, received a score of 85.8 (out of 100) in the UKCSI, an increase of more than three points since July 2013, and was placed fourth in the overall index of all UK companies.
Giff Gaff also scored higher than the UK all sector average for customer satisfaction, however it is often seen as somewhat of an anomaly in the sector, having built a strong customer loyalty in recent years along the same lines as First Direct in the financial sector.
Chris is Editor of MyCustomer. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News. He joined MyCustomer in 2014.