Home Telecoms & NBN TIO complaint numbers 'show telcos need to step up their game'

Telecommunications industry lobby group Communications Alliance says the number of complaints in the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman's six-monthly update are disappointing and indicate that the industry has to do more to improve the customer experience.

Overall, as iTWire has reported, the TIO received 84,914 complaints during the second half of 2017, up 28.7% on the year-ago period.

CA director programme management, Christiane Gillespie-Jones, said in a statement: “While our industry is dealing with disruption, in part caused by the significant increase in NBN connections and migration to the network, we are disappointed with the high level of complaints in the second half of 2017.

“Industry — including service providers and NBN Co — are working intensely on a range of measures to improve the overall consumer experience.

“Some initiatives around broadband speeds are bearing fruit already and we are pleased to see that the speeds customers are receiving – even during peak hours – are often exceeding the promised speeds, as evidenced in the recent ACCC Broadband Speed Monitoring Report.

“Having said that, we acknowledge that further efforts in various areas of customer engagement across service types are required to better address customers’ needs and to ensure that initial positive signs turn into a sustained trend of an improved overall customer experience."

The CA statement claimed the TIO report underlined the fact that the NBN rollout — with close to a million new premises activated in the second half of 2017 — had contributed to the increased complaint numbers.

“With 'provider response’ being the top issue raised by customers who complain in relation to a service delivered over the NBN, our industry will be working to improve the end-to-end experience, including through improved assistance between providers in the supply chain to resolve complaints,” Gillespie-Jones said.

However, the statement claimed that the large share of mobile complaints (29%) highlighted that the rollout of, and migration to, the NBN were not solely responsible for the increase in complaints meaning that industry needed to address customer service and complaint handling more broadly.

It said the 31% share of complaints involving more than one service type indicated that the telecommunications landscape was very complex and that often issues could not be attributed to a single cause, complicating the process of resolution.

“Our industry cannot be satisfied with these numbers and we will continue to implement measures – including through the enforceable Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code that is currently being revised – designed to improve the overall customer experience,” Gillespie-Jones said.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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