Telco companies bottom of the pile for customer service

A new whitepaper has revealed that Telco companies have the worst reputation when it comes to customer service, with a third (32.6%) of consumers ranking them bottom. The whitepaper showed that many British companies are drastically out of touch with what customers want when it comes to customer service, contributing to a £4.35 billion loss to UK businesses due to customer ‘churn’.

Over four fifths (81 per cent) of those businesses polled in the telco sector claimed that losing customers has serious consequences for their businesses. Despite this, 60 per cent of UK firms allocate less than five per cent of their marketing budget annually to customer retention, even though nearly three quarters (68 per cent) of businesses polled claimed that halving customer churn would increase their turnover by 50 per cent.

Shamus Kelly, CEO of Portal, said, “British businesses need to pay much more attention to their customers. They are tired of shoddy, lacklustre customer service and it’s time UK plc sat up and took notice, especially those firms in the telco sector.

“Call centres just don’t cut it anymore; customers are demanding that companies look at new ways to communicate with them, such as social media and portals. Consumers’ preference for customer service interaction through customer portals has grown 62 per cent alone in the last two years – a significant contrast to the dwindling preference for telephone interactions, which have declined by 37 per cent over the same period.”

The research showed that despite customers’ desire for a multi-channel customer service offering, just 34 per cent of businesses in the telco sector use a customer portal for interaction with customers. Of these, only 14 per cent (compared to an across the board average of two thirds) provide a mechanism for customers to interact in real-time with customer service agents – an invaluable channel for solving customer concerns – putting the telco sector a long way behind other industries when it comes to customer service technologies.

Kelly continued, “As well as real-time interactions, these portals allow customers to serve themselves, discuss issues in forums and read reviews and social commentary – all of which make the customer experience significantly better. It’s time companies recognised that a small incremental investment will yield substantial business benefits.”

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