Telcos claim modest improvement in customer satisfaction

Bill shock levels not improving, according to latest Comms Alliance survey

One in six telecom customers are unhappy with their service, a slight improvement from the previous quarter, according to a survey released by the Communications Alliance.

The Comms Alliance released its quarterly Telecommunications Customer Satisfaction Survey on Wednesday. Ray Morgan Research conducted the online survey in September with a population-representative sample of 500 telecom users aged 18 and up.

Overall, 17 per cent of respondents reported they were unhappy with service, with 10 per cent saying they were “dissatisfied” and 7 per cent “very dissatisfied.” In the previous quarter measured by the survey, nearly one in five telecom customers (19 per cent) said they were dissatisfied (12 per cent) or very dissatisfied (7 per cent).

In the latest survey, 65 per cent said they were either very satisfied (31 per cent) or satisfied (34 per cent) with telco service, with the remaining 18 per cent neutral. That compares about evenly to the last quarter when there were 65 per cent satisfied or very satisfied and 17 per cent neutral.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of customers surveyed had filed a complaint to their telecom provider in the six months before the interview, which was about the same as the previous quarter. Of those who filed a complaint, 53 per cent said they were pleased with the response.

Level of bill shock has remained about the same for the last three quarters, despite the introduction of a Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) code and other industry efforts to reduce the problem.

In the latest survey, 35 per cent said they had received a telecom bill in the last six months that was higher than expected. Nearly the same number reported bill shock in the previous two quarterly surveys.

“While the trends are encouraging and a credit to determined efforts by service providers, there is widespread recognition in the industry that even better performance is essential before Australia can lay claim to a world-class customer service record across the sector,” Comms Alliance CEO John Stanton said in a statement.

In a speech yesterday at the CommsDay Melbourne Congress, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) praised telco efforts to increase customer satisifaction but said there are still too many complaints made to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

“Nationally aggregated data from other service sectors like the energy sector are difficult to compare,” said ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin. “But the TIO is generally regarded as one of the busiest ombudsman services in Australia.”

ACCAN has criticised government telecom regulators for their enforcement of the TCP code.

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