Saturday, December 2, 2023

ComCom ranks best and worst telco customer service

The Commerce Commission’s new mobile and broadband customer service rankings – published for the first time today – reveal how New Zealand’s major telecommunications providers rank across a range of key customer service indicators.

Telecommunications Commissioner, Tristan Gilbertson says the rankings are part of the Commission’s ongoing work to improve retail service quality for consumers. 

“These rankings focus on how well each provider looks after you when something goes wrong. This really matters to consumers. We know there can be a big gap between what consumers expect and what they actually get from their provider,” he said.

While Skinny floated to the top of the rankings, One NZ, formerly known as Vodafone, ranked poorly in almost all customer service rankings in broadband and mobile. In the mobile category, it was the least likely to be recommended to friends and family, had the highest percentage of customers with an issue in the past six months, and the lowest ranking for customer issue resolution.

Mr Gilbertson said consumer frustration in the issue resolution area is reflected by ongoing high levels of complaints about customer service.

“Consumers told us that two things matter most to them when something goes wrong – how quickly providers fix problems and how helpful staff are in making that happen. Our rankings show how well different providers are performing in these areas.”

“To balance this out, we’re also showing how successful providers are at avoiding customer service issues in the first place, as well as how they compare in terms of overall satisfaction, so that customer service can be seen in a broader perspective.”  

Mr Gilbertson says that providing this information upfront will help Kiwi consumers choose the best provider for them and also avoid surprises later about the quality of customer service on offer.

“The current rankings, using six months of data from New Zealand customers, show that while some are doing better than others, all providers have areas for improvement.

“Skinny is the current league leader and ranked well across almost all mobile and broadband areas with its customers experiencing the fewest issues.

“We can also see that Skinny customers are more likely to recommend this brand to friends and family. However, it ranked lowest for broadband customer service staff helpfulness and knowledge.

“Contact Energy appears to be outperforming some of the traditional telcos in broadband, ranking highly for satisfaction and staff helpfulness. One NZ (previously Vodafone NZ) is ranked low across almost all measures for mobile and broadband, although it did rate well for the speed with which it resolves broadband issues.”

He said each consumer will have a different set of priorities when it comes to choosing a telecommunications provider.

“Our work suggests that the rankings will be useful to many consumers when it comes to weighing up providers and making an informed decision. There’s often a trade-off involved between price and the level of customer service on offer. Consumers can now see what they can expect from different providers to help choose who is best for them.”

The Commission intends to undertake further work to ensure the rankings are easy for consumers to find and use. It will update the rankings every month over the next six months and then publish updated rankings every quarter to show changes in customer service levels over time.

“Providers are free to publish the rankings themselves and we encourage them to put them on their website and make them visible in retail stores,” Mr Gilbertson says.

He says the Commission is still considering whether to make it mandatory for providers to publish some or all of the rankings on their websites and in their retail stores.

“We see these rankings as a powerful tool for customers, and an incentive for positive change from providers over time. The current rankings reflect a point in time, and we would expect this to be dynamic as providers lift their game for the benefit of Kiwi consumers of mobile and broadband services.”

The rankings can be found on the Commission’s website here.


 

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