Which broadband provider has the best customer service?

Dan Howdle | January 23rd, 2024

Broadband customer service image

How important is the customer service offered by your broadband provider? The answer is, unfortunately, not at all – until something goes horribly wrong. Then, like that (clicks fingers) it's suddenly the most important aspect of the service your broadband provider provides.

And believe it or not there are some good ways to measure how the major providers are doing in this regard. We, here at Cable.co.uk, Ofcom, and to a lesser extent Trustpilot have all been measuring the customer service quality of broadband providers for many years. What if there were a way to combine all of our data to come up with an outright winner? Or even better, a league table ranking providers on their customer service quality so you can easily see how your existing or speculative broadband provider fares compared to others? Hold our beer.

Sources used in this guide

Determining how 'good' a provider is at customer service is no simple process. You can't ask them, after all – you have to ask their customers. And there are three reliable sources for customer feedback information:

  • Cable.co.uk – Every few years, we run a huge customer survey, asking the customers of the UK's major broadband providers what they think of their provider on a ten-point scale, and on a number of different factors such as customer service, reliability, speed and so on
  • Ofcom – Ofcom rates the major broadband providers on a number of different factors when it comes to customer service, including call centre waiting times, number of complaints per 100,000 customers, overall satisfaction and more
  • Trustpilot – Is where customers go to write their own reviews of their provider. These reviews are aggregated into a score out of five stars. It should be noted that Trustpilot is heavily biased towards negative reviews when it comes to broadband, since having something to complain about is usually going to be the strongest incentive to go and write a review

How we pick winner

The following three sections will explore each of these sets of data on broadband provider customer service, presented in order of best to worst in each instance. The 'place' number (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.) will be awarded in each case and the overall winners and losers will be decided based on how providers score when their place numbers are added together. The lower this combined score the better.

For example, a provider scoring 1st, 3rd and 4th would have a combined customer service score of eight (one plus three, plus four). First though, let's take a look at how the providers did according to each data provider.

Customer satisfaction according to Cable.co.uk

Cable.co.uk runs its own broadband customer service audit every few years to keep tabs on how providers are doing and to ensure that when we recommend specific providers and packages, we do so with their actual performance in mind.

Position Provider Overall customer satisfaction score (out of 10)
1 BT Broadband 7.9
2 Plusnet 7.8
3 Vodafone Broadband 7.8
4 Sky Broadband 7.8
5 EE Broadband 7.7
6 Virgin Media Broadband 7.6
7 TalkTalk 7.5

See full survey results

While it may not seem like there's a lot in it, people do have a tendency to rate things around seven or eight out of ten when they're just 'fine' – I.E. nothing to complain about, but nothing really to sing about either. You'll see the same pattern in the Ofcom results further down.

Compare broadband deals

Customer satisfaction according to Ofcom

Ofcom measures customer satisfaction yearly, and has a range of tools to do so not available to anyone besides the regulator. If you're wondering why there are only nine providers included in this customer service showdown, it's because Ofcom only seeks out this information on providers with a more than 1.5% market share. In this section we're using 'Overall satisfaction' as the dominant factor, but have included the others as a matter of interest.

Position Provider Satisfaction with service overall Satisfaction with speed of service Customers with a reason to complain Overall satisfaction with complaint handling Ofcom complaints per 100,000 subscribers** Average call waiting time (mm:ss)**
1 Plusnet 89% 83% 20% 53% 46 02:08
2 EE Broadband 85% 81% 13% 55% 22 01:06
3 BT Broadband 83% 80% 19% 55% 35 02:45
4 Vodafone Broadband 83% 82% 22% 49% 64 03:19
5 Sky Broadband 82% 80% 18% 55% 16 02:14
6 Virgin Media Broadband 81% 82% 25% 46% 66 03:07
7 TalkTalk 78% 76% 24% 46% 67 01:22

Data source: Ofcom

Note that NOW Broadband, Shell Energy Broadband and KCOM are included in the Ofcom report from which these figures are derived, but they lack overall satisfaction scores and other important measurements and so are not included in this overall race.

Compare broadband deals

Customer satisfaction according to Trustpilot

Trustpilot scoring needs a big disclaimer: Trustpilot is a magnet for complainers. The main motive for people going there to write a review is because they had a bad experience and they want to hit back. It cannot, therefore, be relied upon to provide an honest appraisal of the provider overall. BT Broadband, for example, is not a 1.4 out of 5 broadband provider – it simply (as with other providers) exists on Trustpilot as a place for people to complain.

So what good is it then? Well, we would argue that when looking at seven providers side-by-side, you can derive something useful. Although every score is low, they can still be compared and ranked. Note some of these companies are being rated primarily for other services such as mobile and as such have a Trustpilot score that doesn't represent their broadband offering. In those cases we have awarded the provider the average score of the entire set.

Position Provider Overall customer satisfaction score (out of 5)
1 TalkTalk 2.9
2 Plusnet 2.4
3 Virgin Media Broadband 1.7
4 Vodafone Broadband Awarded average (1.8)
7 EE Broadband 1.5
8 BT Broadband 1.4
9 Sky Broadband 1.4

Data source: Trustpilot

Overall customer satisfaction league table

Finally then, here is the overall ranking of providers for customer service based on their combined ranking scores. Is this scientific? Not really. To be straight with you, no customer satisfaction measure ever truly is. One person's dire experience is another's heavenly one. It depends on your problem, your provider, and who you ultimately end up dealing with, along with a plethora of other factors.

This should however provide a rough idea of who's doing the best job in serving their customers – if not a completely science-based one.

Position Provider Customer satisfaction score (lower is better)
1 Plusnet 5
2 BT Broadband 10
3 Vodafone Broadband 11
4 EE Broadband 12
5 TalkTalk 15
6 Virgin Media Broadband 15
7 Sky Broadband 16

And the winner is… Plusnet!

It's not even close. Plusnet wins the highest customer satisfaction rating overall, using the combined three sources of Cable.co.uk, Ofcom and Trustpilot.

Compare Plusnet broadband deals

See also