When it comes to choosing a phone or broadband provider, price is key for consumers. And with bundled and discounted deals a-dime-a-dozen, it’s easy to see why. But are we sacrificing customer service?
Only a fraction of people think customer service is important when they choose a phone or broadband provider, so says research by telecoms watchdog Ofcom. Price and network performance are apparently people’s top decision-making considerations.
Yet across all communications sectors Ofcom looked at, only two thirds of people said they were ‘satisfied’ with their provider’s customer service. Broadband and landline fared the worst, with 60% and 58% satisfaction scores respectively.
Ok, so that means most people are satisfied – but there’s still a significant number of people who are at best neutral and at worst unhappy with their provider’s customer service.
Think about customer service first
I can’t say I’m surprised. Anyone who’s spent hours hanging on the phone to a broadband provider’s so-called ‘help’ line will agree that, when something goes wrong, customer service takes on a whole new level of importance.
So maybe we should give more thought to the quality of the provider’s customer service before we jump on board? Of course, I work for Which? and we’re always fighting for great customer service, so I would say that – right?
But as well as being in the troubled position of hearing the grief many Which? members go through when their phone or broadband supplier isn’t up to scratch, I’ve been at the sharp end of truly terrible customer service myself.
Avoid providers with abysmal customer service
On one notable occasion it took something like 10 phone calls to my supplier (which they’d always forgotten the next time I’d called) and three engineer visits to fix a phone fault. Yes, network performance was the initial problem – but what really got my goat was the abysmal customer service that left me without a working phone for the best part of two months.
I’m not saying forget about price – few of us can afford to in the current economic climate. But some providers manage to keep prices competitive without stinting on service, while others charge the earth and still have high numbers of dissatisfied customers. Just take a look at the Which? broadband reviews if you’re not convinced.
We should all put more emphasis on great customer service when we choose a mobile, landline or broadband supplier and forsake the providers known to fall at the first customer service hurdle. If we Vote with our Feet then maybe – just maybe – competitive pressures will force poor players to up their game. Here’s hoping.