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BT says sorry after topping Ofcom's broadband complaints league

Wednesday, September 27th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

BT has apologised to customers after being named the most complained-about broadband and pay TV provider in the UK.

New data from Ofcom also shows BT at the top of the list for mobile complaints for the first time, while only two firms generate more landline gripes.

A spokesperson said: “We apologise to customers we've let down.

“We care about service and we've invested heavily to make improvements, including hiring 2,200 extra people which is helping us answer calls more quickly than ever before and over eight out of 10 are now being answered in the UK and Ireland.

“Customers are seeing an improvement as our multi-million pound investment takes effect and, whilst we know we can do better, our complaint levels are showing improvement across broadband, landline and pay TV this quarter.”

BT was responsible for 28 broadband complaints per 100,000 customers between April and June 2017, down from 34 in the previous quarter but well above the industry average of 18.

It also generated 13 complaints relating to pay TV per 100,000 customers, down from 19 in the previous quarter but more than three times the industry average of four.

And despite only being included in Ofcom’s mobile rankings for the first time (it now has a sufficient market share), BT shot straight to the top alongside Vodafone with 11 complaints per 100,000 customers.

It’s Vodafone’s 11th consecutive quarter at the top of the mobile complaints league but the operator is positive about what is a downward trend in terms of the number of complaints.

A spokesperson for Vodafone said: “Our continued improvement in customer service is highlighted in Ofcom’s latest report, which shows that complaints have reduced by more than half since the end of 2016.

“We expect that positive trend to continue with our 2,000 new UK-based customer service roles and as we invest in digital technologies to make it easier for our customers to interact with us.”

'Falling a long way short'

Post Office was responsible for the most landline complaints, with 17 per 100,000 customers, just ahead of TalkTalk, BT and Plusnet.

It too is looking at the positives having brought its number of complaints down from 21 per 100,000 customers in the previous three months.

“While we are of course pleased to see an improvement in our performance this quarter, we remain committed to further improving our customer experience through additional investments in our contact centre teams,” said a Post Office spokesperson.

Ofcom said total complaints across four services – broadband, landline phone, mobile and pay TV – decreased during the first half of 2017.

But the regulator’s director of consumer policy warned: “Some providers are falling a long way short on customer service.

“There can be no room for complacency. We expect providers, particularly those who have been consistently underperforming, to make service quality and complaints their number one priority.”

Two companies that have performed well according to Ofcom’s data are Sky, which was the least complained-about provider for broadband, TV and landline, and Tesco Mobile, which generated the fewest mobile complaints.

A Sky spokesperson said: “At Sky we always strive to give customers the best possible experience.

“However, even one complaint is too many for us and so we will keep investing in our people and our products to ensure we do even better for our customers throughout 2017 and beyond.”

Simon Groves, Tesco Mobile’s chief marketing officer, said: “We are delighted to have been named by Ofcom as the least complained about mobile network for the 13th consecutive quarter.

“Whilst 13 is unlucky for some, for us it represents how our store and service colleagues consistently work hard to set and break industry records.”

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