24th Jul 2018
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New report reveals the worst telecommunication companies
Author: Ben Hocking
Report reveals unimpressive telcos

Australia’s two biggest telecommunication companies – Telstra and Optus – fared poorly in a customer service survey of Australian consumers.

Peak communications consumer group, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), has released a report called Can You Hear Me? on the customer service provided by 10 telco providers.

The report found that consumers are unimpressed by the amount of time they spend getting a resolution to a telecommunications issue.

It takes an average of 13 days for an issue to be resolved, but for those with more difficult issues, averages blow out to two months.

The results confirm customer experiences of having to contact providers multiple times about an issue, repeatedly explaining the problem, and disappointing levels of first contact resolution. The results also found that escalating an issue to a formal complaint can be difficult.

“We’ve all got our own experience of telco customer service, but we wanted to quantify this and give consumers some idea of who is providing the best service across a number of metrics,” said ACCAN Chief Executive Teresa Corbin.

“Nearly half the complaints received by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) last year identified customer service as an issue, so we know it’s a source of considerable frustration.”

Vodafone topped the survey of customer satisfaction of complaint handling, with 61 per cent saying they had a positive experience. Other telcos that recorded better than 50 per cent positive experiences were TPG/iiNet, Amaysim and Dodo/iPrimus.

Telstra and Optus customers gave positive rankings of 43 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively. 

Lowest ranked were Belong and regional provider Active8Me, both getting positive scores of only 36 per cent.

Virgin, which is no longer in the market after being bought out by Optus, ranked the highest of all on the survey, scoring 70 per cent positive ratings from customers.

“It’s obvious that there is clear need for improvement,” said Ms Corbin.

“Poor customer service by the industry shifts costs from providers to their customers, who are experiencing loss and disruption by spending far too long trying to resolve issues.

“We found customers are spending days trying to sort out very straightforward things like changing a plan, updating contact details, and general account inquiries. This is not acceptable.

“We’re recommending a fresh look at customer service by the industry and the regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

“We’d like to see more concrete obligations in the Code, and more active enforcement by the regulator,” added Ms Corbin.

Particular recommendations identified by ACCAN include reduced timeframes to resolve issues, reduced wait times to contact customer service staff, increased first contact resolution, and improved training and performance of customer service staff.

Which company or companies do you use for your telecommunication services? How would you rate their customer service when something goes wrong? Would you recommend them to a friend?

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    COMMENTS

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    Maggie
    26th Jul 2018
    11:29am
    Customer service will always be a problem while the big companies, banks included, have offshore call centres. Their staff are given a basic training and a manual to help them to deal with customers. Anything outside that training and the manual is beyond their knowledge and often has to be referred to an Australian in this country for help.
    V1K1
    26th Jul 2018
    11:58am
    I don't think they have a manual. I think they have a script that they follow and if you don't follow the script they can't help you.
    Knows-a-lot
    26th Jul 2018
    4:53pm
    They're robots with Indian or Filipino accents. And often really dumb.
    Franky
    26th Jul 2018
    11:37am
    I have been with Virgin for many years and it was such a relief to have a responsive company to deal with. Their service really was second to none. Sad that Optus now bought them, since Vodaphone is in second place I may go there next. I have tried Optus and Telstra and refuse to go back as long as there are alternatives.
    KSS
    26th Jul 2018
    1:44pm
    I have been with Vodafone for almost 20 years and not had any issue with them. Telstra and Floptus on the other hand.... well the survey says it all.
    Hasbeen
    26th Jul 2018
    1:46pm
    I guess you will get this with every company.

    I was with Vodaphone, & got about the worst service I have ever had anywhere. I felt this was intentional.

    I was then with Westnet very happily for a decade or so.

    Since they have been bought by iiNet the speed, reliability of connection & service have dropped considerably. Some evenings between 5.00 PM & 8.00 PM the net is virtually not useable at all.

    I was hoping this article might point me in the best direction for when the NBN gets here, but it has just depressed me.
    Cowboy Jim
    26th Jul 2018
    1:54pm
    Been with iinet for about 20 years, was called eisa.net long ago. Only real problem we had was when the NBN came along. I am in a regional area and want to keep the landline. Things are resolved now but the disappointment is without power the landline does not work anymore like it was the case before. Ahh - progress!
    Old Geezer
    26th Jul 2018
    2:28pm
    Cowboy Jim all you need is a UPS and then you have a phone if you have no power.
    Cowboy Jim
    26th Jul 2018
    2:28pm
    Hasbeen - we are with the NBN now with iinet and the speed is surprisingly fast despite having been connected just to the node not right into the premises. I am in a regional area and even the new radio receivers do not work here. Listen to radio now mostly thru the internet.
    Cowboy Jim
    26th Jul 2018
    2:29pm
    Thanks for the tip, Old Geezer, shall look into it.
    Old Geezer
    26th Jul 2018
    4:47pm
    I kept the old copper line but they keep digging it up and it was out for weeks at a time. So I asked if I could connect it to the NBN. Haven't had a problem since as I run the NBN through a UPS and if power goes off I still have phone and internet. The UPS cost me about $100 from Officeworks. It is telling me I have 32 minutes runtime before it goes flat and I am running a computer printer etc on it as well at present. That gives me more than enough time to start up the generator to run the house and recharge it as well.
    Knows-a-lot
    26th Jul 2018
    4:52pm
    Avoid Vodafone like the plague! Their mobile coverage is poor and their data overrun charges are outrageously high. They're rip-off merchants.
    musicveg
    26th Jul 2018
    8:24pm
    I too have been a happy customer of Virgin for years, it will be hard when we have to change, I think Vodafone is too expensive for my needs, so I am hoping things will change before the Virgin ends.
    Old Geezer
    26th Jul 2018
    2:28pm
    Tried the rest and Telstra is the best.
    Cowboy Jim
    26th Jul 2018
    2:31pm
    Been with Telstra pre-paid mobile for the last 27 years and I agree with OG.
    Knows-a-lot
    26th Jul 2018
    4:57pm
    Telstra is by far the most expensive. But I guess rich Right-wingers can afford it...
    Old Geezer
    26th Jul 2018
    5:05pm
    I actually use ALDI when I am home and buy $30 Telstra sim cards when on special for $10. Got a heap of $10 ones for 50c and they work well for 7 days too.
    Triss
    26th Jul 2018
    5:07pm
    Agree with you, OG, have Telstra pre-paid mobile for many years with no trouble. Had Vodafone before but the coverage was quite unreliable in many places.
    Cowboy Jim
    26th Jul 2018
    5:28pm
    knows a lot - sure if someone buys something that works he is a right winger, get off that horse, old mate.
    Anonymous
    26th Jul 2018
    6:55pm
    knows a lot, hope you get only on the horse from the left side
    Old Geezer
    26th Jul 2018
    9:03pm
    Knows-a-lot it is more important to have something that works rather than something that is cheap and does not work.
    Old Man
    26th Jul 2018
    4:18pm
    There is a way to get back to an Australian call centre. When the overseas call centre answers, just say "Geez mate, having a bit of a drama with the old dog and bone, can you help me?" Works for me.
    Old Geezer
    26th Jul 2018
    4:48pm
    I just ask for someone who thinks in English and well as speaks it.
    Knows-a-lot
    26th Jul 2018
    4:50pm
    The sooner there's a Royal Commission into the telcos, the better.
    Cowboy Jim
    26th Jul 2018
    6:52pm
    Might need a Royal Commission all for yourself.
    Knows-a-lot
    26th Jul 2018
    4:56pm
    Complain too often to the TIO (the telco being complained about has to fund the complaint!) and the telco concerned will dump you and cut you off. That's what Vodafail did to me.
    Anonymous
    26th Jul 2018
    6:57pm
    can you blame them?
    Drewbie
    26th Jul 2018
    5:11pm
    My family has been with iinet for 5 yrs now & their service options are great value. Previous ISP's has been as follows: Telstra, Optus, back to Telstra, then back to Optus quick smart, Then Engin & now iiNet. Have been with them now for 5 yrs & quite satisfied with what we get. Out of all the above ISP's, only iiNet offered us from day 1 a " we call you back " option when on hold times are 5 min's & over ". I use that every time it's offered, menu options are easy peasy & automated voice over is measured & easily understood.

    Speed is commonly fast, secure & reliable. Call Centre staff in either Philippines or South Africa are easily understood, warm, friendly & persistent in getting your problem solved. Only bug-bear is late arvo very loud back-ground noise makes holding a conversation nigh impossible. iiNet really have to work on that glaring persistent oversight.

    I'm pleased they got a 50% + score, proves they're doing something right & as is usual in everything, there's always room for improvement.

    Cheers everyone.
    Ruby
    26th Jul 2018
    6:37pm
    I have been with Telstra since mobiles came into our lives and I’ve always had fabulous service.
    Their 24/7 app has been a terrific conduit for any change or information.
    Priscilla
    26th Jul 2018
    6:43pm
    Telstra is not in the service business! They do not care about customers at all. Having spent from 8a.m. - 1p.m. waiting for a Telstra technician, on contacting them in frustration was advised that they had decided not to send a technician and of course did not let anyone know of this decision. Waited again from 1-10:45 to be told when the Telstra technician arrived that it was not a Telstra fault but an NBN fault. Said NBN would come out the next day if they could not fix this remotely! This will be day 3 sitting for hours waiting for some sort of efficient service. Had my young family had to waste 3 days of work for no result and no pay only goodness knows how they would manage. What a national disgrace!
    Old Geezer
    26th Jul 2018
    9:06pm
    I have been away and have had a great service from Telstra contacting a third party to let them in and fix my phone. They have then rang me and told me they have fixed it as well.
    Fabulous
    26th Jul 2018
    7:59pm
    I've always had great service with Optus. I mainly deal with my local store...they're great. I had a couple of problems years ago & ended up being compensated very well & I get discounts & help whenever I need it. I think a lot of it has to do with how we react to difficult call centre experiences ( which I've certainly had over the years with various companies) and learning different communication strategies in order to be heard & get best outcomes.
    I find I have to deal with these things when I have time and am not on a tight schedule...you need to allow time.
    All the best to everyone????
    musicveg
    26th Jul 2018
    8:22pm
    I have been using Virgin for both my phone and mobile broadband for many years, and was devastated Optus bought them out and are phasing out the brand, maybe because they were too good. I found them the best value and best customer service. I have a couple of years left but have no idea what I will do then because everyone else is more expensive for my needs.
    MD
    26th Jul 2018
    8:40pm
    Happy with the big Australian, to be sure they don't come cheap but years ago a 3yr stint with Voda convinced me 'better the devil' when it comes to the dog with the biggest bark (and his bone).
    vinradio
    29th Jul 2018
    4:22pm
    Telstra customer service can be abysmal. I went 5 months without the internet or a working phone, during this time the Telecommunications Ombudsman was also working with me. The final straw was when I was actually on my land line, after it was fixed, speaking to a Telstra high up service person, who told me my phone had been disconnected! I said, "no it's not, I'm using it to speak to you right now"! The problem with the internet was also fixed, and I also got money back from Telstra, but i have no faith in them after that!
    Maggie
    29th Jul 2018
    4:31pm
    I am pretty sure that the call you had from a "high up service person" was actually a scam call. They hope you will panic and make a payment to them for seeing that all is well!

    I have had frequent calls from a so-called Telstra person that my internet is going to be cut for three months.

    Nowadays when the phone rings and there is a little metallic sound before somebody , I just cut them off.
    cat
    1st Aug 2018
    12:36am
    I am very happy with TPG, the service is good and when I had a complicated problem they stayed with me till it was sorted out, and they have reasonable rates too unlike Telstra and Optus.
    *Loloften*
    1st Aug 2018
    2:22am
    Optus was great for 19yrs 'til was forced to connect to NBN approx 18mths ago (with threat of disconnection) - same price, less than 1/2 previous speed & when not fixed for couple wks sent complaint to TIO. quickly fixed 2 days later. Had a few drop-outs ranging from couple of hrs to 2 days (compensated) since otherwise all good. Really pe*ed off recently when, after 2 phone calls, still had no landline (back-up to my mobile with Telstra, no probs there) altho' all NBN modem lights on, phone light on Optus modem not. Finally ready to ring again (damn stressful) & connected after a few mins to a person whose accent was almost unintelligible however she understood when told her that if it wasn't fixed in 12hrs I'll be contacting TIO. Ironically was told to simply stick a toothpick into the reset button on back of their Optus modem.....it worked, simple, not told that during 2prior phone calls!?


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