UK Internet industry risks long-term damage to its reputation if action is not taken to follow the company’s lead in reducing call waiting and response times.
Entanet, the leading provider of Internet connectivity and voice services, is calling on rival ISPs to step up their efforts to provide higher standards of service in technical support. The company says that urgent action is needed if the UK Internet industry is to avoid getting a lasting reputation for poor customer service.
Sustained investment by Entanet over the past year has seen the company reduce its average waiting time for support calls to just 37 seconds. Twelve months ago the average time was six minutes 40 seconds. Similarly, a year ago almost 30% of calls were being abandoned by customers. Today it has reduced that to just 3%.
Commenting on the improvement, Entanet’s Technical Support Manager Neil Watson said: “We’ve been reducing call waiting times month-on-month and are now achieving average sub-40 second response times on an ongoing basis. We’ve doubled the size of our UK-based support team and put in place call handling and management systems to ensure channel partners and their customers receive a rapid, quality service. As we use the Entanet VoIP platform for all of our incoming and outgoing calls we’re able to accurately monitor our performance and constantly use this information to set performance targets. Thirty seven seconds is significantly below the industry norm.” Comments posted by customers of other ISPs on popular Internet forums suggest that average waiting times can be in excess of 30 minutes.
Research findings published by call centre specialists Merchants Consulting in July indicated that many customers were abandoning their ISPs because of poor call centre performance. It said that eighteen percent of customers leave a supplier because of their experience in dealing with call centres. Amongst the top five customer complaints, having to wait for a long time before a call was answered came second only to staff having a poor command of English.
Watson added: “The root of the problem is that many ISPs have been paying more attention to customer acquisition than customer retention. It’s a competitive market and too many ISPs have been leading on price. It’s time the industry focused more on service delivery and performance. At the end of the day, that’s what customers really value.”
Entanet is now concerned that, unless more ISPs step up their efforts to provide higher levels of service, the industry will get a bad name. “We’re challenging ISPs to take action and invest in improving technical support and service before the reputation of the whole industry suffers” said Watson.
He added: “We’re being candid about this issue because we feel urgent action is needed. A year ago we were struggling to keep up with the demands of our growing customer base, so we decided to take positive action and build a highly professional support team and infrastructure. The results speak for themselves and are a key reason why so many resellers choose to partner with Entanet and, further, why so many end user customers choose to use an Entanet Partner.” Entanet’s UK team provides 24/7 support via a dedicated technical support line and also offers a swift IVR link to the support team through its main switchboard number.