Research: Pay-TV/broadband alienating their subs

Firms providing TV and broadband packages did more than nearly any other sector to damage their reputations over the last year through poor customer service and increasing complaint levels.

Pay-TV/broadband firms saw the biggest increase in customers citing them among the worst sectors for service – rising 3.3 percentage points to 33.5 per cent. Only airlines saw a greater rise (4.3 percentage points), according to the latest annual study by service design consultancy Engine.

Consequently, pay-TV/broadband is now regarded as the third worst sector for customer service – behind only the much-maligned public transport (cited by 38 per cent) and utilities (37 per cent) sectors.

Joe Heapy, co-founder of Engine, picks up on the recent Ofcom report which revealed that complaints about pay-TV/broadband companies are most likely to be about the product itself followed by how the company handles these complaints, “Customers want their broadband and TV to work without a hitch but when there is a problem, there’s still a small window to keep them happy before frustration sets in,” he suggests. “Remember, people aren’t asking the earth. The three things they value most when dealing with a company are honesty, efficiency and reliability – and it’s been these three consistently for the last four years of the study,” he notes.

“Unfortunately, in such a hyper-competitive and growing market, companies over-promise on what they can deliver. This means they fall short on generating the single most important feeling people want from dealing with a company – that it’s worth what they’re paying,” he says.

At the other end of the spectrum, restaurants (cited by 47 per cent) and hotels (46 per cent) increased their lead in being seen as the best sectors for service. However, when it comes to the best individual companies for service, retail dominates with Amazon leading the way followed by John Lewis, M&S, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

“The leading sectors and companies in customer service don’t think of it as an add-on at the front line, they put as much effort into designing the customer experience as they do their actual products,” he concludes.

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