Wednesday, 01 April 2020 02:19

Sharp drop in consumer complaints to telcos: ACMA Featured

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Complaints about services by telecommunications consumers to telecoms providers dropped sharply in volume in the 2019 December quarter, declining by 25.9% compared to the same period in 2018.

New figures released by the telecommunications industry regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), show telcos received around 283,000 complaints in the 2019 December quarter, resulting in the decline of 25.9%.

And complaints about services operating on NBN-based broadband networks were down 36.4% in the same period, with the average time taken to resolve customer complaints falling markedly - from six days to four - across both the September and December quarters.

Telecommunications lobby group Communications Alliance welcomed what it said was “encouraging new data” showing the sharp drop in the volume of complaints, with the figures released by the industry regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) showing telcos received around 283,000 complaints in the 2019 December quarter.

“This much stronger performance by the Australian telcos is good news for consumers and mirrors the reduction also being experienced in complaints to the industry ombudsman,” said Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges for the industry, of course, as demand for telco services has grown rapidly and required telcos to augment and reconfigure networks to ensure that customers stay connected and can use their services for personal and professional needs.”

“So far, the networks have held up extremely well under the increased pressure, although unavoidable disruptions to some offshore and onshore call centres have made customer service excellence more difficult to achieve.”

The Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher has welcomed the “significant” decline in telecommunications complaints, saying that it is “particularly pleasing to see NBN broadband complaints reduce by more than one third, especially as the NBN continues to be rolled out at pace with 30,000 to 40,000 additional connections being made each week”.

“The ACMA noted that there is likely to be an increase in future complaints due to COVID-19, as customers may have more difficulty contacting their service provider and as access to properties becomes more uncertain,” Minister Fletcher said.

“Our telecommunications providers are facing unprecedented and challenging circumstances as they work hard to keep Australians connected at this critical time. The industry is closely coordinating on managing and optimising the mobile and broadband networks in line with increased demand and use, as more and more people work and study at home.

“In these times, there may some unavoidable impact on customers, such as call centre wait times, and I do ask Australians to be understanding as issues such as these are addressed. Many telcos are boosting their local call centre capacity,” Minister Fletcher concluded

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. 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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