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UK’s Ofcom plans to incentivise customer service

Ofcom, the UK regulator, is planning to incentivise telecom providers to improve their customer service, as the UK Telegraph reports. “Customer service in telecoms trails behind other sectors,” Ofcom’s Ian Macrae, director of market intelligence, said. “It came bottom of the Institute of Customer Service’s satisfaction index for the second year in a row in 2016. Similarly, Which?, the consumer agency, has a trust tracker and it shows high levels of distrust in the telecoms sector, compared to other sectors: 24% of consumers didn’t trust their broadband providers and 29% didn’t trust their mobile providers. To put this in context, consumer distrust in the food and grocery sector is only 9%.”  To make providers improve their quality of service, Ofcom has decided to introduce a number of measures. “First, on the wholesale side, we don’t think the quality of service delivered by Openreach [the UK’s network provider] is as good as it should be so we are taking actions for higher standards,” said Macrae. When it comes to telecom providers, Ofcom is also planning to introduce automatic compensation – a scheme which has already been met with resistance from some providers. “We’re running a consultation on this at the moment, with proposals for a form of financial redress when services fail or operators don’t meet their commitments to fix things. Customers won’t have to ask for that, it will be done as an automatic rebate,” explains Macrae. Ofcom estimates that the plans would mean up to 2.6 million landline and broadband customers could receive up to £185 million in compensation payments each year. “The industry says this is not an area in which Ofcom should intervene, because it is up to providers to put in place their own schemes which then become part of their customer service offering,” explains Macrae. “There is a possibility that the industry will come together and agree on some guidelines about automatic compensation. That would negate the need for formal intervention.” Macrae stresses that this is not the only way to incentivise telecom providers to improve their customer services. Ofcom has committed to publish an annual quality of service report comparing the leading mobile service providers on a range of QoS metrics, including customer service. The first report was published in April this year. Read more

  • Monday, 22 May 2017

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