iiNet calls for customer service focus

Customer service must take focus or providers will risk high churn levels

Internet service provider, iiNet (ASX:IIN) has claimed customer service must be given a greater focus in the telecommunications industry or providers will risk high customer churn levels.

iiNet general manager customer service, Paul Cahill, said customer service is becoming the deciding factor for customers when choosing a provider.

Cahill said new customers are often gained through churn as a result of poor customer service at their last service provider. “With the National Broadband Network (NBN) providing universal access, the quality of customer service can only grow in importance as a key product differentiator,” he said in a statement.

iiNet’s claims follow s call from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) for telco’s consumer protection rules to be overhauled and for a thorough inspection of whether the current self-regulatory system is working in the best interests of consumers.

Customer service in the telco industry has also been the subject of an investigation by the Australia Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

“Customers are forced to endure long periods spent on hold and being transferred from operator to operator,” ACCAN chief executive, Teresa Corbin said at the time. “Add to that the frustration experienced by a customer who cannot make themselves understood or understand the person at the other end of the line.”

The investigation also followsa report compiled by the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre from the University of NSW which also found the Australian communications sector’s complaints process is “unacceptable”.

Complaint comparisons, released by the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (TIO), recently highlighted where complaints had more than doubled for some internet providers. "Consumers simply want a better experience when dealing with telecommunications companies,” Cahill said. “If we don't lift our game as an industry then these regulatory responses will gain further traction."

More about etworkiiNetUniversity of NSW

5 Comments

Ashley

1

They seem to be a bit behind in realizing customer service should be a focus. Wasn't this subject highlighted over a year ago?

Andrew

2

This is simply a cry for iiNet to ask providers to stop dropping prices and 'racing to the bottom'. The reality is that with significant price drops in Bigpond and TPG, they are attracting all the new customers and iiNet is starting to suffer (if you ignore all their acquisitions).

The reality is consumers choose on price only and then get annoyed when they buy bargain basement and don't get david jones service. Customer service is not and will never be a differentiating factor in buying a utility service.

Lex

3

I disagree. I churned to iiNet away from iPrimus almost solely based on the customer service.

iPrimus stuffed me around for 2 years, giving me incorrect information and shoddy service, along with endless promises of ADSL2+ on my exchange, only the next month to tell me there were no plans to do so at all. iiNet were very courteous even after I signed with them, and have experienced fantastic service and support since. I churned to them despite not being able to get the same ADSL speeds as iPrimus at the time.

The quality of customer service is just another facet of a company, alongside the quality and pricing of its product. Some people prize customer service higher than others. It cannot be discounted, even in the case of utility services.

Oliver

4

Partly true, customer service would be one factor but for the majority, price plays a large factor on which provider to go to.

If you did not have to deal with any consultant - I'm quite sure that everyone will go for the provider who offers the highest usage at the lowest price.

Then again, you get what you pay for.

Adrian

5

@ Oliver, You get what you par for is exactly why I'm paying Internode $100 a month for 100GB, unlimited uploads and a static IP. The customer service is awesome.

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