Is EE’s customer service strategy faltering?
EE, which recently announced a £12.5billion deal to be acquired by BT, has rated lowest for customer satisfaction among the UK’s major telecom providers, in an Ofcom report.*
The study interviewed more than 6,000 pay TV, landline, broadband and mobile customers, including 3,402 who were asked to rate their customer service experience, having previously contacted their provider about the issue between July and September 2014.
Of the telco / mobile network providers ranked among the respondents, EE, was rated lowest for customer satisfaction, scoring 69%, compared with the average across all providers of 73%.
O2 was rated as the best mobile network, with a score of 78%, compared with Virgin Mobile which scored 76%, Vodafone 71% and Three 70%.
The research took into account various aspects of customer service, including how well mobile networks were able to deal with customer complaints.
Although EE ranked lowly, customer contact rate was down 19% across the sector in 2014, according to ITPro.co.uk, and the report found those who complained about telcos were 13% more satisfied than previous years, with a sector total of 59% of people content that customer services department dealt with their complaints adequately.
“When a customer needs to contact their communications provider, it’s important that they find the process as quick and easy as possible,” said Ofcom’s consumer and content group director, Claudio Pollack.
“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.”
However, the customer service delivered by many of the UK’s leading telecom operators has been under scrutiny throughout 2014, following a record number of complaints to Ofcom in 2013.
The Institute of Customer Service’s CEO, Jo Causon recently stated the sector “must improve customer experience”, with EE seen as one of the chief underperformers despite posting a 1.2% increase in quarterly revenue in Q3 of 2014.
Only in April, EE’s CEO, Olaf Swantee was quoted as saying, "Within 18 months, I want to be able to say that EE has done for customer service in the UK what it has done for networks,” however Ofcom’s latest round of results suggest this has yet to get off the ground.
The company was heavily criticised for charging customers 50p to skip to the front of its call centre queue in August, and despite EE only being fully-operational under its rebrand guise for two years, it has received a number of setbacks prior to BT's interest in acquiring the telecom giant.
*This article has been amended
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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.