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November 14, 2006
In the past ten months over 1.5 million new customers have signed up for broadband, prices have fallen by up to 17 per cent, ‘free broadband’ has become a standard offering and convergence has established a roadmap for the future of communications market.
But despite these developments customer satisfaction has fallen through the floor.
According to the latest Customer Satisfaction Report from online utility comparison site uSwitch, customer satisfaction scores for broadband services have dropped by as much as 16 per cent in the past six months to 77 per cent.
Following a survey of 50,000 customers over the course of the last 12 months, uSwitch revealed that Virgin.net came top in the broadband study, with 85 per cent of its customers satisfied with the overall service that they receive.
But Orange and TalkTalk, both of which launched ‘free broadband’ products this year, were in joint bottom position, indicating that the strategy may have backfired following numerous teething problems.
Steve Weller, head of communications services at uSwitch said: “The probability that consumers are coming into contact with customer services on a more regular basis has increased significantly as the developments in the industry raise the likelihood of more and more people signing up for bundles with a single provider.
“It’s clear that Tiscali and TalkTalk phone customers are becoming ‘bundle victims’,” said Weller. “In TalkTalk’s case only 53 per cent of their phone customers are happy with the level of customer service that they are receiving, compared to 63 per cent six months ago.”
The study also reveals that consumer trust in suppliers is at an all time low. The worst performing category across the broadband report was the lack of certainty that suppliers are ensuring that their customers are on the best available deal. Worryingly 6.6 million broadband customers do not feel that this is the case.
Less than half of Pipex’s (34 per cent), Orange’s (38 per cent), BT’s (40 per cent), and ntl’s (42 per cent) customers think that they are getting the best deal and even the highest ranked provider TalkTalk only achieves a 55 per cent satisfaction rating.
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