Customer satisfaction continues to fall amongst telco and media companies

10th Nov 2015

London, 11 November 2015 - The telecoms and media sector is failing to make a connection with its customers, according to the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI). Figures, released by the Institute of Customer Service, put it only 0.3 points ahead of the utilities sector - the industry with the lowest level of customer satisfaction in the UK. 

Customer satisfaction in the telecoms and media sector has fallen by 0.5 points in the past year, compared to a rise of 2 points for the utilities sector. It is the only sector in the bottom five of the UKCSI that has failed to improve its score compared to 2014 figures.

GiffGaff scored highest for customer satisfaction, but the only other telecoms business to make the pan-sector Top 50, Tesco Mobile, saw its score fall by 6.4 points, as it dropped from 4th to 50th place.

Crossed lines?
There is some good news for the sector, with the proportion of complaints in decline.  However, the figure is still higher amongst telecoms and media companies than in any other sector - with 84.6 percent of those with a problem complaining, compared to a national pan-sector average of 73.1 percent.  

The problem is accentuated by customers who made a complaint reporting that the reaction they most often found were members staff ‘passing them to someone else’, ‘making excuses’ or ‘seeming uninterested’. More customers in Telecommunications also said they had to escalate their complaint (45.4 percent) compared to the UKCSI average (41.3%).

Making a connection?
However, in some instances telecoms companies are signalling their intention to change.  In 30 percent of cases, customers admit to receiving an apology when things have gone wrong.  Additionally, 11 percent of problems are solved in 4 to 7 days, a figure that beats customer expectations – with fewer than 7 percent of those asked believing a resolution would happen that quickly.

Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service, says: “The falling level of customer satisfaction in the telecoms sector is unsustainable and, if it is allowed to continue, could see customers refuse to pay as they go.  With the sector also under an increasingly bright spotlight because of recent data breaches, customers will be paying close attention to the way companies react to problems and complaints.   The 
importance of getting it right is underlined by the fact that almost two-thirds of customers with a problem told others about their experience, meaning that unless trust is restored, the damage to reputation could have a long lasting effect.”

The latest UKCSI data also reveals that the loss of focus on customer service is having a large impact on customer trust and loyalty with the sector scoring just 6.7 out of 10 on when customers were asked about their level of trust. The sector findings should be a concern as the evidence suggests that customers who give an organisation a nine or ten (out of ten) rating for customer satisfaction 
are much more likely to trust, recommend and stay with them.

Causon concludes: “In such a fiercely competitive sector, how problems are dealt with and how complaints are handled can make significant differences to market share and profitability.  ..  While the customer isn’t always right, the customer always has a right to be listened to  and to have that complaint dealt with in a professional and efficient manner. 


For further information please contact:
Nathan Field / Michael Creane / Tom Ingoldby (Chameleon PR)
E: [email protected]
T:  020 7680 5500

About The Institute of Customer Service
The Institute of Customer Service is the professional body for customer service delivering tangible benefit to organisations and individuals so that our customers can improve their customers’ experience and their own business performance.  The Institute is a membership body with a community of over 400 organisational members – from the private, public and third sectors – and over 5,000 individual memberships.  For more information about the Institute of Customer Service go to

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