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Vodafone, EE customer service worst while MVNOs dominateVodafone, EE customer service worst while MVNOs dominate

UK independent consumer rights organisation, Which, has said TalkTalk, Vodafone and EE fail their customers by continually providing poor customer service, while MVNOs are excelling.

Tim Skinner

April 18, 2016

2 Min Read
customer service

UK independent consumer rights organisation, Which, has said TalkTalk, Vodafone and EE fail their customers by continually providing poor customer service, while MVNOs are excelling.

In two surveys undertaken across mobile and residential service providers, Which polled nearly 8,000 consumers and rated service providers across a variety of criteria including customer service, ease and speed of contact, value for money and additional incentives.


In the mobile survey, MVNOs GiffGaff, AsdaMobile, Tesco Mobile, ID and Virgin Mobile all came ahead of the country’s mobile network operators in terms of total customer satisfaction. International calling specialist Lebara rated the lowest of all surveyed operators, while Vodafone and EE ranked bottom of the big MNOs.

Vodafone’s customer service woes continue after Ofcom named it the UK’s most complained-about operator since the end of 2014. In the past week it has attempted to change the way new customers experience its network, by offering a 30-day no

In the broadband market, smaller ISPs like Zen Internet, Utility Warehouse, Plusnet, John Lewis Broadband and Post Office all ranked above major players like Sky, Virgin Media and BT. While annual subscription costs on Zen and Utility come in roughly 10-20% greater than market average customer satisfaction scores for the two came in 15% higher than the third placed Plusnet – indicating an acceptance of higher prices assuming the provision of excellent customer service.

TalkTalk continues to face a torrid time in restoring its reputation during aftermath of last year’s cyber-attack. Survey results saw the ISP dead last in the market, ranking bottom for satisfaction in every criteria except value for money, coming in 9% lower than second bottom BT. Incidentally, research house Kantar reckons TalkTalk has clawed back market share to the tune of 3.2 percentage points over the last quarter. The operator lost roughly 250,000 broadband customers in the wake of consumer data hacks, and Consumer Insight’s Director Imran Choudhary points out it still has a lot to do to get back to some semblance of normality.

“TalkTalk still has a lot of work to do,” he said. “They may have gained a higher share among new customers this quarter but despite this turnaround their existing customers aren’t happy. Over 17% of their customer broadband base is considering leaving them at the next available opportunity, a far higher proportion than anyone else.”

Which-Broadband-Table-1024x373.jpgWhile the criteria used by Which is comprehensive, the scoring itself seems rather generalised or arbitrary, with it using a star-based rating system. It’s hard to take the results as gospel in isolation, however coupled with recent talk about ISP and MNO customer service difficulties, as alluded to earlier with Ofcom’s findings, Which’s research serves to compound a general desire to see greater efforts from the operator community to boost its customer-facing efforts.

About the Author(s)

Tim Skinner

Tim is the features editor at Telecoms.com, focusing on the latest activity within the telecoms and technology industries – delivering dry and irreverent yet informative news and analysis features.

Tim is also host of weekly podcast A Week In Wireless, where the editorial team from Telecoms.com and their industry mates get together every now and then and have a giggle about what’s going on in the industry.

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