Ofcom reveals best and worst telecoms customer service

Wednesday, 1 May, 2019

Ofcom’s latest report shines a light on our major broadband and phone companies’ overall performance when it came to customer service satisfaction.

In total Ofcom found that 83% of broadband customers were satisfied with their service. This was similar to last year’s 80% and while 13% had a reason to complain last year this was an improvement from the previous 15% in 2017.

Similarly, 93% of mobile customers were satisfied with their overall service and again an improvement from the previous 91% while only 3% said they were dissatisfied.

In an encouraging sign of the times, complaints to Ofcom concerning broadband companies fell by a significant 23%. Down from 75 complaints per 100,000 to 58 per 100,000 in 2018. In fact, most companies ended 2018 better than or the same at the start of the year.

One blot on this feel-good scenario is that complaints against BT-owned Plusnet more than doubled in the last quarter of 2018. This was attributed to the company’s one-off experience with a new billing system it had launched.

And the survey found that TalkTalk scored consistently below the industry average on several measures. Ofcom found that its broadband customers were less likely to be satisfied with their overall service and consequently were less likely to recommend TalkTalk to a friend.

TalkTalk customers were also more likely to have a reason to complain and less likely that their complaint will be resolved. And as a consequence, TalkTalk customers were less likely to be satisfied with how their complaint was handled.

Complaints against mobile companies also fell over the year by 15%. This saw a fall from 20 complaints per 100,000 to 17 per 100,000.

2018 saw Sky Mobile included in Ofcom’s league table for the first time and Sky entered with the fewest complaints. This means that Sky is now the least complained about company across all four services, broadband, landline, mobile and pay TV.

And Ofcom has been busy on our behalf. In the last 12 months they have introduced money-back for broadband and landline customers. Ofcom has insisted that companies must now give clear and honest information on what speeds broadband customers will get before they commit to a contract.

From now on there is a price cap on 118 directory enquiry numbers and from July it will be easier for mobile customers to switch providers.

Ofcom has also set out plans to make companies tell people when their contracts are coming to an end and what are the best deals available. Likewise, Ofcom is reviewing broadband companies’ pricing practices. In particular why some are paying more than others and finally how mobile operators charge for handsets when they are bundled with airtime.

Tim Bamford author picture


Tim is a veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.