Orange Complaints Double, Says Ofcom Report

Fixed broadband users are the least satisfied, according to Ofcom’s latest customer satisfaction survey, with Sky rating the highest at 64 percent satisfaction and TalkTalk, in a bad service hat trick, bringing up the rear with 55 percent of their clients happy.

The survey, which follows on from research carried out in February 2011, and October 2009, revealed that overall satisfaction with customer service remained lower in the fixed broadband (58 percent) and landline (61 percent) markets compared to pay TV (68 percent) and mobile (69 percent).

No satisfaction

Among the 3,000 people interviewed, broadband speed was the top reason for contacting their provider, followed by package or service change. And, despite the January 2011 introduction of a single mandatory Code of Practice setting standards for how communications providers must handle complaints from consumers, many found that not only were several calls required to resolve faults, but, in general, billing and faults issues are less likely to be fully resolved.

Although Virgin has been flaunting its high speed offerings of late, its reputation for poor service remains, with increases in customer calls and dissatisfaction since February 2011. Also, despite most providers resolving general issues better, Virign Media was pointed out as weaker in that area.

Virgin, however is not the only provider in the dog box, according to the Ofcom report. Orange has seen its complaints calls double over the period. “Satisfaction with Orange’s customer service has dropped back to a similar level to that of other providers, and there has been a decline in Orange advisers’ ratings on usefulness of information, keeping the customer informed and resolving the issue satisfactorily,” according to the report, which also stated that fewer customers are now likely to stay with Orange compared to previous polls, placing the company on par with all other main providers.

On the other hand, while TalkTalk‘s customer satisfaction remains lower than average for the sector, the company saw an improvement  in many areas of its customer service, with a reduction in dissatisfaction for complaints handling.

In an effort to boost customer experience in the fixed broadband market, Ofcom said it will open a monitoring and enforcement programme to check compliance with the Code of Practice in early 2012.  Companies found to be breaching the rules could face a fine of up to 10 percent of relevant turnover, according to the authority.

Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, Claudio Pollack, said “Ofcom hopes that this research will both incentivise providers to improve all aspects of their customer service, as well as giving consumers valuable information about the standards of customer service when choosing a provider.”

The research covers customer service satisfaction for landline, fixed broadband, mobile and pay TV providers with a market share of 4 percent or more.

Iris Cheerin

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