Telecoms sector paying out more than ever to remedy customer service faults

A new study from Servion reveals the same old flaws: the telecoms sector in the UK is paying more than ever because of poor customer service.

The study focused on the energy, financial and telecoms markets, with Servion taking its data from the ombudsman of each industry. The report found that the communications sector has seen a significant rise in complaints in the UK with a total of 29,503 complaints – up 132% on 2016’s total.

As users expect more in terms of value from their providers, covering over poor service with getting out the chequebook is an increasingly common option for CSPs. The data found the most common financial remuneration was £50. Yet the reasons for paying out are as old as the hills; service, billing, and contracts. Servion argues that communications providers should be able to automate their complaints handling procedures where possible.

It’s not as though the other sectors did much better however. 2016 saw customer service among the top three reasons for complaints in the energy sector for the first time, while more complaints in finance were remedied with the company paying out, albeit with a reduction in overall complaints.

“Consumers will no longer accept a poor customer experience, hidden costs, or sub-standard services – and organisations that aren’t keeping up are paying a heavy price,” said Shashi Nirale, SVP and GM EMEA at Servion. “Paying out for the majority of customer complaints is simply not sustainable.

“Businesses must look at new ways of engaging with customers – using new technologies such as AI and robotics – to ensure they receive personalised, up-to-date and efficient service,” Nirale added. “Those that fail to do so will see profits fall, as increasingly disloyal customers seek out their competitors.”

Writing for this publication earlier this month, Gabriele Di Piazza, VP products and solutions for telco NFV at VMware, urged CSPs to rethink their approaches, going beyond the R&D lab. “For a business to innovate successfully on a platform delivered through R&D, it must also develop the right combination of culture and collaboration,” wrote Di Piazza. “Without understanding why customers are loyal to your business and the value they receive from your services, a business cannot set the right goals for driving new thinking.”

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