Customer complaints reach record levels

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The number of complaints reached 24,512 last year

The number of complaints made from customers to telecom firms has reached a record high for the third consecutive year, damning figures have revealed.

According to the latest performance figures requested by Mobile News from the Ombudsman Services – which escalate issues unresolved by a customer’s provider – it accepted 24,512 complaints for investigation for the communications sector last year, up from 19,486 in 2014, 16,018 in 2013 and 15,096 in 2012.

The issue surrounding quality of customer service has been under increased scrutiny in the past 18 months with EE and Three receiving fines of £1 million and £250,000 respectively, while Vodafone is currently being investigated.

Up your game

Industry experts argued telecoms companies (including fixed line) need to up their games by adding more support staff and training at call centres to ensure needs are met. Communications Consumer Panel communications advisor Karen Keany said: “There is a significant impact because a lot of customers are frustrated with having to deal with customer services. There could be improvements made, including more training for customer service agents.

“Contacting call centres is a frustration because customers are often unable to understand the technical data they get over the phone, cannot get through to the right person or feel as if they are speak- ing to someone using a script. There’s also a problem when they have to call the provider more than once.”

Increasing competency

uSwitch.com telecoms analyst Ernest Doku suggested mobile operators are causing their own problems with overly-complicated contracts being offered to customers that can often be misunderstood and difficult to explain.

He said: “There’s still an issue that networks need to compete with, such as pricing information not being transparent enough for customers. The issue still persists, suggesting they are still unaware and providers aren’t making information prominent enough for them when they sign up.

“That can be solved by up- ping the number of staff they have to deal with complaints or increasing the competency of the staff.”

 

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