Why ISPs need to make customer service a key focus
Good customer service is important in any industry, and the communications market is no different. The average consumer may not understand the inner workings of their broadband connection in intimate detail, so it's crucial that they're able to rely on their provider to help out if they have a problem.
As a result, the customer service department at any internet service provider (ISP) has a vital job to do. Failure to offer clear advice on any problem - whether it affects a handful of people or tens of thousands - can be a real issue.
For instance, Post Office broadband subscribers have been left feeling in the dark in recent weeks due to problems with the company's email service and customer helplines. The issue has been caused by Post Office switching to a new supplier for its home phone and broadband services, which are to be delivered via TalkTalk's wholesale network.
Why is good customer service so important for ISPs?
Many broadband account-holders acknowledge that service problems will occasionally crop up, but most will be prepared to excuse them as long as they're kept in the loop about what's going on.
ISPs that deliver good service will almost certainly reap the rewards of their actions; an Edelman study found 76 per cent of consumers are happy to recommend companies they trust to friends and colleagues.
TalkTalk is one example of an ISP that has benefited from improving its customer service. The company was rated by Ofcom as the worst major broadband supplier for customer complaints for a staggering seven successive quarters between late 2010 and mid-2012, but has since got its act together somewhat.
It's hardly surprising, then, that the firm's latest financial report showed an upturn in subscriber numbers (an additional 8,000 households signed up in the three months to 30 June 2013).
Industry still has some way to go
Despite TalkTalk's recent improvements, it seems the communications market still has some way to go when it comes to delivering the best possible customer service, with both BT and TalkTalk rated among the UK's poorest performing companies on customer service across all sectors in a recent survey by Which?.
We're hopeful that with a continued focus on boosting the service they offer to subscribers, ISPs will succeed in turning this around - and this will ultimately be to the benefit of customers.
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