6th Dec 2016
Broadband usage has become so widespread in the UK that people now view it as a utility, like water and energy – and they expect higher levels of customer service as a result. That’s the message from BT chairman Sir Michael Rake, who has acknowledged that BT must improve customer service for its broadband users.
Talking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, “Everyone is frustrated because they want superfast broadband today because it's a utility,” said Sir Michael, who was keen to highlight the challenges BT faces in meeting customer expectations: “Ofcom and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and every independent survey showed this is one of the fastest roll-outs of broadband ever in an OECD country with some of the lowest speeds, most competition and highest access. But it isn't enough and we'll get there.”
He added that “customer service has not in the industry as a whole been good enough – nor is it with us – and we're doing a lot to improve that.”
Sir Michael also took the opportunity to deny suggestions that the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom does not trust BT to run Openreach – its network branch that develops and maintains the main telecoms network used by telephone and broadband providers such as Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and BT Consumer.
The role of regulators in ensuring high standards of customer service has been a hot topic in 2016. In July, The Institute of Customer Service noted that customer service is an ongoing challenge for organisations in the more heavily regulated sectors such as telecoms, with these sectors consistently performing worse than other sectors in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index.
The role of regulation in customer service was also covered by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in July – click here to view the key takeouts from the meeting.