Paul Clark, CEO of Charter UK, the complaints management software provider, calls upon Ofcom to create a single, dedicated industry ombudsman to handle customer complaints, rather than simply issuing ‘common guidelines’ for separate adjudicators.
“Whilst we welcome any attempt from Ofcom to streamline its complaints investigation services, the regulator’s decision to create common guidelines for the Ombudsman Services: Communications (OS) and the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Service (CISAS) is still far from ideal.
Both of these bodies have recently seen a large spike in complaints, which suggests that telecom companies are struggling to resolve customer complaints effectively. In fact, the most recent figures show a 56 per cent annual increase in the number of consumer complaints made to CISAS, while OS saw a 17 per cent rise.
Clearly, there are problems in this sector that need to be resolved as a matter of urgency, and having two separate bodies looking into customer complaints will make it extremely difficult to achieve this goal. If the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) can deal with complaints from across the entire financial services sector, then why can’t a single entity handle complaints about landline, mobile phone and broadband providers?
In any situation where large volumes of complaints recur, there is likely to be a ‘root cause’ that needs to be addressed, yet this information will be very difficult to analyse if it is spread across both the OS and CISAS. The telecoms industry therefore needs a single, unified ombudsman to address these issues, so that customers can receive the redress that they deserve, and so that telecoms companies can identify the root cause of any complaints much more quickly and efficiently.”