Aussie Telco Complaints Down, Response Time Up
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has today published its annual report revealing a decrease in telco service complaints, while frustrations have peaked as complaint response times increase.
The report shows it received a total of 132,387 complaints from consumers and small businesses during the last financial year, a 21.1% decrease from last year.
Unfortunately, consumers are waiting longer to get their problems addressed with only 47% of escalated complaints closed within 60 days, compared to last years 77% closing rate.
Ombudsman Judi Jones spoke to The Australian outlining the number of factors that come into play when delivering its mediation service, including the primary reason for complaints – computer illiteracy, meaning the user ‘just didn’t know what was happening with their service.’
“It’s not the nature of the underlying problem but how the service provider interacts with the consumer”, she continued.
The Ombudsman is now for the first time reporting on the top five issues across internet, mobile and landline services.
No action or delayed action by a provider was the top complaint issue for landline services followed closely by non-functioning service.
32.6% of recorded complaints were about internet services, while mobile phone services only captured 30.6%.
Consumers made the most complaints, with 85.3% coming from residential and the rest coming from small business and not-for-profits.
11,365 residential consumer complaints dealt with changing service providers or connecting to the NBN, while 23,362 complaints were made regarding the quality of NBN service.
In response to the report, NBN Co chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb said they remain committed to the seamless installation of the national broadband network.
“If there is a fault on the network, we want to ensure it’s restored in a timely manner.”
Unfortunately, the report indicates the opposite is occurring with Judi Jones echoing consumers sentiments, ‘when [the internet] goes wrong we feel cross about it.’
A majority of the anger was thrown at Telstra, receiving 52 % of all complaints, while Optus received barely half that at 24%.
Complaints have been put under further scrutiny thanks to new rules rolled out by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on 1 July last year, requiring providers to disclose complaint data to the ACMA.
The annual TIO report should add more pressure to force telcos and internet providers to act more quickly when resolving customer issues, especially considering the drop in overall complaints.
A drop the Communications Minister Paul Fletcher says ‘correlates with actions taken by Government, regulators and the telecommunications industry to improve transparency, accountability and consumer experience for Australian telco users.’