Leading UK Home Phone Customer Satisfaction Report From uSwitch Revealed

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·TalkTalk from The Carphone Warehouse is top for customer satisfaction, teaching the old school a lesson ·1 in 4 ntl customers and 1 in 5 BT customers are not satisfied ·5.8 million customers think it’s not ‘good to talk’ as BT ranks lowest for value for money

Consumers have always known that they can shop around for better prices. Here is the evidence that by switching, customers can get the best deals on both cost and service.

Today one of the UK’s largest ever surveys into home phone customer satisfaction* has revealed worrying results for telecom giants ntl and BT. The findings expose a considerable gap of almost 20% between the overall customer satisfaction levels of lowest placed provider ntl (73%) and highest ranked provider TalkTalk (92%). The new http://www.uSwitch.com customer satisfaction survey assesses the quality of service provided by the UK’s biggest home phone providers, as evaluated by their own customers.

Previous research conducted by http://www.uSwitch.com has already shown that consumers consider more than just cost when choosing or switching phone provider. Charles Dunstone, CEO of The Carphone Warehouse, commented: "We welcome the fact that uSwitch is giving customers the opportunity to make an informed decision based not only on cost but also on customer satisfaction. To see such comprehensive research of this type is unprecedented in the home telephony market, and enormously valuable to companies like TalkTalk. Customers need re-assurance that they're getting the best possible service, as well as the best value. TalkTalk is committed to providing the best of both and it's therefore very rewarding that customers are putting us in first place."

http://www.uSwitch.com is the only price comparison website available to home phone consumers that uniquely offers customers the ability to compare levels of customer satisfaction provided by companies alongside information on costs and potential savings.

Jon Miller, Director at independent phone comparison and switching service http://www.uSwitch.com said, “Our results show that some home phone providers are falling short on delivering the service levels that consumers expect. It is interesting to see that the companies with the most customers have been exposed as being the worst offenders when it comes to customer satisfaction.”

Key Findings

·Overall, 92% of TalkTalk customers are satisfied with their provider followed by Tiscali (89%), Sky Talk (88%) and Onetel (87%). At the bottom of the table, 720,0002 (27%) ntl customers, and 2.76 million3 (21%) BT customers are not satisfied.

·The least satisfied customers when it comes to ‘value for money’ are BT’s (only 56% satisfied), followed by ntl (63%) and Telewest (68%). With 90% of its customers saying that they believe the service represents good value for money, TalkTalk lead the way, followed by Tiscali (84%), Onetel (81%), Sky Talk (81%) andTele2 (80%).

·The majority of customers are not satisfied that their supplier is ensuring that they are on the best possible deals with ntl 61%, BT 56% and Telewest 52%.

·Telewest came out on top for customer service, with 7 out of 10 (70%) of their customers saying that they are happy with their provider. In contrast, more than one in two Tele2 (52%) and over 1.25 million (53%) ntl customers are not satisfied with this aspect of their service.

·Whilst 92% of TalkTalk customers would recommend their service to a friend, a staggering 1 in 3 (30%) ntl customers and almost 1 in 4 (23%) BT customers would not do so.

On average, more than a quarter (26%) of those surveyed said that they were not satisfied with the ‘value for money’ they receive from their provider. Indeed, some customers could be paying up to £1704 more than they need to. Previous uSwitch research has consistently identified ‘value for money’ as the most important consideration for customers. This should ring alarm bells for BT who scored lowest with only 56% in this area, compared with 90% satisfaction among TalkTalk customers.

Since their launch in February 2003, TalkTalk has developed a customer base of around 1.1 million, and an estimated 139,000 new customers were added in the first 6 months of this year. Conversely, latest figures show that BT is losing around 90,0005 customers each month. With 34% more TalkTalk customers than BT customers feeling that their service represents value for money, this may explain why suppliers can no longer rely on apathy to retain their customers’ loyalty.

In the extremely competitive home phone market, suppliers can benefit significantly from personal recommendations. Along with providing good service at the right cost, it is also important for them to ensure that their customers are on the best possible deal. Of those surveyed, only around half (53%) of respondents said that they were satisfied that their provider had done so, identifying this as an area for improvement across the board.

Miller concludes: “Consumers have always known that they can shop around for better prices. Here is the evidence that by switching, customers can get the best deals on both cost and service. ”


Notes to editors

*Research conducted by YouGov from 19th August to 2nd September 2005. Sample size was 7075 UK adults over 18. Specific reporting of results published for suppliers that received 200 or more responses. Where provided by customers, reviews available for all suppliers. The margin of error is between 2 and 4% (this varies between suppliers).

NB: uSwitch.com has the only price comparison calculator that is accredited by Ofcom

1.BT have 18.701million residential lines. 5.554 million use carrier pre-select service from another provider, leaving 13.147 million customers using BT for calls. Published November 10, 2005. 44% are not satisfied, equivalent to 5.8 millions customers.

2.NTL have 2.663 million telephone customers. Published November 3, 2005. 27% are not satisfied, equivalent to 720,000 customers.

3.Of the 13.147 million customers using BT for calls, 21% are not satisfied, equivalent to 2.76 million customers.

4.£170 - customers using uSwitch to switch their home telephone supplier save up to £170 when switching.

5.90,000 customer per month - the alternative carrier pre-select customer base is rising by a net amount of 90,000 customers per month.


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