Ofcom’s quarterly report on customer complaints is an incredibly useful metric when choosing a new broadband provider. And while the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the telecoms industry regulator has had to limit the amount of information they’ve been able to include, their latest findings are still available to the public and can offer some great insights when comparing broadband providers.
The latest report refers to complaint handling about providers for Q4 of 2019, so from October to December last year.
Complaints continue to fall in general
Despite certain providers receiving more complaints than others, the overall trend is a positive one, with the number of complaints steadily decreasing over the past few years.
In the 10 years that Ofcom has been producing this report, the industry average number of complaints for broadband has dropped from 35 to 12 per 100,000.
The fall in fixed line complaints is even more dramatic, going from 42 per 100,000 in Q4 2010 to just nine in Q4 in 2019.
Vodafone receives the most complaints from customers again
Unfortunately, Vodafone received the most complaints per 100,000 customers for their fixed broadband services for the third quarter in a row. In previous years the majority of complaints were with faults, services and installation problems, however there are fewer details given in this quarter’s report.
The number of complaints per 100,000 customers received about Vodafone in Q4 was 27, which is fairly similar to the previous quarter’s figure of 26.
Plusnet also received a higher number of complaints per 100,000 customers compared to the industry average. The good news for Plusnet, though, is that its total number has been steadily decreasing over the past three quarters, from 31 in Q1 to 26 in Q2, 22 in Q3 and finally 20 in Q4 of 2019. So while it still sits in the top two for now, it’s reassuring to see that Plusnet is making notable improvements.
Sky and EE receive the fewest complaints about broadband
Sky and EE customers should feel happy knowing that their broadband providers are yet again the least-complained about on the market. Sky and EE are continually battling it out, it seems, for the bottom spot on the list, with incremental shifts back and forth throughout the entire year.
For Q4 2019, the difference between the number of complaints per 100,000 customers for Sky and EE was less than one, effectively making their results comparably good.
Sky also received the fewest complaints per 100,000 customers regarding its pay-TV services, and was the only media provider to come in below the industry average of four complaints per 100,000. Sky received just two complaints per 100,000 regarding its pay-TV services, which is the exact same number of complaints as the last two quarters.
What does this mean for customers?
It’s great news that the number of complaints is still steadily falling, and even those providers that are at the “top of the list” have managed to reduce their total over the last few months and years.
That being said, the importance of customer service has never been more important. And in a time when so many broadband and TV products are competitively priced, customer complaints can give you a quick snapshot of how you’ll be treated as a customer.
For the most part, providers look after their customers, but it’s interesting to note which ones still do it better.