Oh, the irony. I am just about to put pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) to bitch about broadband companies, and my laptop wouldn’t connect to the internet!
My provider obviously knew what my intentions were and was trying to put a stop to my endeavours!
But, I have a right to voice my opinions. And I am not alone.
A survey by consumer group Which? confirms that broadband providers are, quite frankly, pretty shit.
The UK’s largest companies are letting their customers down with shoddy service.
TalkTalk and Sky top the list as being the worst suppliers out there, with a customer score of just 50% satisfaction.
Along with BT and Sky, they supply 9 out of 10 consumers with a service.
Why on earth do these 4 ‘big guns’ are so popular is beyond me. Especially when they are consistently at the bottom of the broadband provider league tables year after year.
Zen – who I have actually never heard of, but need to investigate, came out on top in the consumer satisfaction survey of 8,063 Which? members. Utility Warehouse was in second place. (I wonder if the public’s love for Joanna Lumley has anything to do with that?!)
Loyalty doesn’t pay
In addition to being generally unhappy with their providers, many longstanding customers are having a doubly unpleasant, emotive end-user experience too, as they are probably paying over the odds for the crappy service they receive.
Proving, once again, that for some companies, loyalty clearly doesn’t pay. (Discounts for brand new customers only!)
At the end of last year, Which? put out a report that said loyal broadband customers who didn’t take the time to haggle were being stung by loyalty penalties.
Penalties that could cost them up to an average of £220 each year!
And 7 out of 10 respondents to the survey said they had been with their service provider for over three years.
So, listen to me people… if you’re not happy, don’t rest on your laurels! Fight back, or find someone else that isn’t going to rip you off quite so dramatically!
Customer service sucks
Ok, so TalkTalk offers pretty good value for money. Well, a reputation for cheap deals, at least.
But since they aren’t making big bucks, they obviously think it gives them the right to scrimp in other areas.
According to some members of the Which? survey, their customer service and technical support were sadly lacking.
What’s more, unfortunate TalkTalk end-users have been the most likely to experience slow speeds and frequent connection drops over the last year.
Of course, according to TalkTalk themselves, they are seeing more customers than ever stay with them (perhaps because people don’t have the time or inclination to switch?!)
They are also ‘continuously rolling out service improvements.’ Though it’s clearly time they pulled their finger out and tried a little harder to improve things, especially taking their disappointing survey results into account!
The Sky clearly isn’t the limit
Despite faring slightly better than TalkTalk, Sky clearly isn’t much better….
A whopping 67% of Sky consumers said they were likely to switch provider at the end of their term.
Even BT, the country’s biggest provider, only got a 51% satisfaction rating. Value for money was the biggest gripe from users.
Virgin Media got 58%, but price increases were definitely a bug bear.
The Virgin spokesperson was pretty smug about hem being top when it came to their customers being the most satisfied, saying that consumers recognise the benefits of having an ultrafast network.
Then added that they invest around £1bn a year on their network and products and service, because they are committed to delivering a first class service.
(Perhaps that extortionate annual investment is why you need to keep hiking your prices then love!)
Vodafone took a fall in the rankings, dropping to the bottom half from joint-fourth in the spring 2018 survey.
Ofcom is in the process of reviewing broadband market practices. They have set out proposals that mean providers would have to inform customers about the best tariffs available to them when their contract is coming to an end.
Let’s hope the proposals get passed.
Broad lessons for us all
Broadband companies have a captive audience.
I can’t think of a single person I know that would be willing to ditch their internet.
And, so, the providers clearly think that makes it ok to under-deliver on service and over charge on price.
All I can say is, it sucks.
Granted, not all businesses have the privilege of a captive audience.
Or, at least, consumers – whether loyal or not – that don’t have the time or inclination to shop around.
So – and I can’t stress this enough – it is VITALLY important to get it right from the off.
Give you customers what they want.
Make sure you offer quality and reliable products and services.
And deliver top notch customer service. Have customer feedback management teams in place to answer queries and resolve issues.
Reach out to your consumers too. Get social with them online. Keep them informed.
And, for goodness sake, don’t hike your prices any more than is absolutely necessary!