Wednesday, 25 July 2018 12:46

CA claims drop in complaints about telco services Featured

CA claims drop in complaints about telco services Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Consumer complaints about telecommunications services dropped over the three months to the end of June this year, according to telecommunications industry lobby group Communications Alliance, with the industry lobby group claiming credit for the change in a new self-produced report.

In what can be viewed as a defensive response to a recent negative report on telco services published by telecoms consumer advocacy group ACCAN, CA chief executive, John Stanton said the result — “along with improved customer satisfaction results” — showed that the commitment industry has made to improving customer experience is beginning to make an impact.
And the CA's self-styled "Complaints in Context index" results show a fall from 9.3 complaints per 10,000 services in operation in the previous quarter to 7.5 in the April-June period, with complaints as a proportion of services in operation for participating service providers improving by almost 20% in the quarter.

The Complaints in Context quarterly report is published by CA with complaints data provided by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

Stanton said the improvements had been achieved although the past year and a half had been challenging for the Industry, leading to difficult moments for some customers.

“Every single participant in the Complaints in Context report achieved a decrease in their ratio of new complaints to services in operation, and I congratulate each of them on their successful efforts,” he said.

“Significantly, these results were achieved before the slew of new rules being imposed by the ACMA came into effect. The results are far more current than research released by ACCAN at the weekend, which related to customer experiences dating back as far as February 2017.

“The Complaints in Context report is a valuable and timely gauge of customer experience. It provides clear and comparable information to the public, provided by an independent source.”

Under Industry proposed changes to the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code the participation in the index will be expanded to include, at a minimum, the top 10 providers, measured by volumes of complaints received by the TIO.

Communications Alliance has also just released the results of the latest Telecommunications Customer Satisfaction Survey, completed in June, which shows an increase in customers who were very satisfied with their customer service - alongside a significant decrease in customers who made a complaint to their provider during the past 6 months.

Stanton says the quarterly national survey, carried out for Communications Alliance by Roy Morgan Research, also shows improvements in key satisfaction metrics, including the information provided at point of sale and ease of understanding bills.

“This survey reflects work providers have been undertaking to improve customer experience over the past year - prior to new ACMA rules coming into force - and we are pleased to see the effectiveness of industry-led improvements,” Stanton said.

According to the survey, satisfaction with complaint handling dipped slightly to 56% of respondents being satisfied or neutral, compared to 58% in the previous survey – while satisfaction with overall customer service improved, with 79% of respondents satisfied or neutral, compared to 76% in the previous survey.

Satisfaction with the ease of understanding bills and with the quality of information received at point-of-sale, both registered improvements.  

“We were also pleased to note the lowest percentage of customers to receive unexpectedly high bills since this survey began in 2013. This indicates that providers have made improvements across a variety of aspects of customer service,” Stanton said.

“Customer service is extremely important in the telco sphere, as in all industries. Recent strengthening of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code — now in circulation for public comment — will further improve the situation for telecommunications consumers, and Industry will continue working to improve the customer experience.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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