Issue No 18: 30 July 2018
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Reports Show Recent Improvements in Telco Customer Experience
Complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) as a proportion of services in operation (SIO) for participating service providers have improved by almost 20 per cent in the most recent quarter, April – June 2018.
The 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.
This is a reduction of 19.4 per cent and the best result achieved since October – December 2016 – see attached graph.
Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said “The past year and a half has been challenging for the Industry, leading to difficult moments for some customers, but this result – along with improved customer satisfaction results detailed below - shows that the commitment Industry has made to improving customer experience is beginning to make an impact.
“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.
“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.
Complaints in Context is a quarterly report published by Communications Alliance with complaints data provided by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. The full report for April to June 2018 can be found on the Communications Alliance website.
Communications Alliance today also released some positive results of the latest Telecommunications Customer Satisfaction Survey. The survey, completed in June, 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.
The quarterly national survey, carried out for Communications Alliance by Roy Morgan Research, also shows improvements in 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,” said Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton.
Satisfaction with complaint handling dipped slightly, to 56% of respondents being satisfied or neutral, compared to 58% in the previous survey. However, 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.”
“Customer service is extremely important in the telco sphere, as in all industries. Recent strengthening of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) 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.”
The Complaints in Context report can be found here.
The complete results of the Roy Morgan Telecommunications Customer Satisfaction Survey can be found here.
Industry Submission to the Reviews of the eSafety Legislation and the Online Content Scheme
Communications Alliance and the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) have made a joint submission to the Department of Communications and the Arts discussion paper on the Reviews of the Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 and the Online Content Scheme.
In their submission, the Associations commend the Office of the eSafety Commissioner on the good work the Office has undertaken in the past years and recommend that the role and functions of the Office remain within their current remit.
The submission welcomes the reviews and argues to:
Industry Submission to the Online Content Service Provider Rules Second Round
Communications Alliance (CA) has made a submission on the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) revised draft Online Content Service Provider Rules.
Industry Welcomes New NBN Service Migration Rules
Communications Alliance has welcomed the NBN Service Migration Determination published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The Determination is the last of a suite of five regulatory instruments designed to further improve the migration experience of consumers moving onto the National Broadband Network (NBN).
“Industry has worked closely with the ACMA on the development of the new Determination and the Service Continuity Standard. We are pleased that the ACMA took on board a range of industry’s suggestions to enhance the consumer safeguards afforded by the instruments and making them more workable,” Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said today.
The new NBN Service Migration Determination in part forms a complement to the previously published Service Continuity Standard. The Determination provides rules for service providers to offer interim services or alternative arrangements where fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) or fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) services have experienced initial connection issues.
The new instrument also sees providers of NBN services to perform certain line capability tests after a service has been moved to the NBN.
“While we are pleased with overall instrument, challenges remain in terms of the short implementation timeframes. Smaller providers, who may not be readily able to provide mobile interim services, are also likely to face challenges to comply with aspects of the new instruments,
“Nonetheless, we believe that collaboration with the regulator was effective and will contribute to an improved consumer experience for consumers migrating to the NBN,” Mr Stanton concluded.
Statement on Communications Compliance Appointments
Telecommunications industry body, Communications Alliance, has welcomed the appointment of David Epstein as the Chair of independent industry monitoring and compliance body, Communications Compliance.
Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, also welcomed the appointment of Victoria Rubensohn AM as Deputy Chair.
“Communications Compliance performs a valuable self-regulatory role for the telco sector, monitoring the compliance performance of service providers against consumer protection code provisions and assisting companies to improve their performance,
“David Epstein has extensive industry and consumer experience, both as a senior executive with leading service providers and as a Director of the industry ombudsman,
“David is well placed to steer the important work of Communications Compliance as it delivers ongoing benefit to Australian telecommunications consumers,
“We also welcome Victoria’s appointment. Victoria has served Communications Compliance well during her tenure as a Director. Her long experience in consumer advocacy and regulatory matters equip her well for this new role,
“We look forward to the continuing opportunity to cooperate constructively with Communications Compliance.”
Some Positives in Latest ACCAN Research
Communications Alliance noted ACCAN’s release of a customer survey from February and March of this year.
“We are disappointed that ACCAN has chosen to selectively present the results of this research,” said Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton
“For example, the survey shows that only 18% of customers are negative about their experience with their provider – meaning that the vast majority are either positive or neutral,
“ACCAN’s media release also neglects to mention that 58% of customers were able to have their issues resolved as a result of their first contact with their service provider – and that most consumers said the service they received from their telco provider was in line with their expectations.”
“We have sought further information from ACCAN as to how the survey respondents were sourced and in regard to some of the calculation methods used in the research.”
“Customer service is extremely important in the telco sphere, as in all industries. Recent strengthening of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code – now in circulation for public comment – will further improve the situation for telecommunications consumers.
“We have seen more recent improvements in complaint volumes to the industry ombudsman and in customer satisfaction research that will be published soon,” Mr Stanton said.
Communications Alliance is pleased to welcome the following new members;
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