Ofcom survey Ofcom's latest customer satisfaction report is out and it doesn't look good for Virgin Media, which languished at the bottom of two lists representing its core business.
The communications watchdog placed the telco in last place for landlines and pay TV. Meanwhile, it was second worst in the fixed broadband stakes, where TalkTalk took the bottom spot.
Virgin Media received a 57 per cent satisfaction rating from its broadband customers, while TalkTalk – seen similarly dragging its sorry arse in July this year – ranked just 2 per cent worse than VM, according to 3,000 punters interviewed (PDF) by Ofcom.
Likewise, BT scored a 57 per cent rating for customer satisfaction with its broadband offering.
"Overall satisfaction with customer service remained lower in the fixed broadband (58 per cent) and landline (61 per cent) markets compared to pay TV (68 per cent) and mobile (69 per cent)," noted the regulator, which published its findings this morning.
Ofcom said BSkyB came out on top with its landline (74 per cent), broadband (64 per cent) and pay TV services (70 per cent).
"Satisfaction with Sky’s customer service was significantly above average, with customers particularly pleased that advisers took their questions or issues seriously, were willing to help resolve issues, and offered a goodwill payment or compensation," said the regulator.
TalkTalk, meanwhile, has clearly taken heed of its record £3m fine for bogus billing that the regulator meted out to the telco in August this year.
"Dissatisfaction with TalkTalk’s customer service for complaints handling fell by 22 percentage points and ratings have also improved in many other areas of customer service since February 2011," Ofcom said.
Customer loyalty nosedives
But the volume of Virgin Media punters' gripes have been turned up.
"Virgin Media customers were less satisfied than average with overall customer service," said Ofcom. "There was an increase in the number of issues not satisfactorily resolved, and a decline in customer loyalty since February 2011."
It found that overall, connection speeds and changing packages remained the two biggest issues for customers.
“Ofcom hopes that this research will both incentivise providers to improve all aspects of their customer service, as well as giving consumers valuable information about the standards of customer service when choosing a provider,” said the watchdog's consumer group director Claudio Pollack.
The regulator debuted a single mandatory Code of Practice in January this year, which set the standards for how telcos should deal with customer complaints.
It said a monitoring and enforcement programme to check those companies were complying with the code would be implemented in early 2012. Ofcom reiterated any telco found to be breaching those rules could face a fine of up to 10 per cent of relevant turnover.
A Virgin Media spokesman, who claimed that other telcos had simply "upped their game", gave us this statement:
As we roll out 100Mbit/s to millions more UK homes, our broadband customers remain amongst the most satisfied in the market.
Virgin Media TiVo and new channels and content have bought even more value to our TV customers and we continue to deliver a good experience to our landline and mobile customers.
Customer service is a big focus for us and we know there is still more work to do if we are to get to where we want to be – delivering a fantastic customer experience every time – but we've come a long way and our customers are seeing the results.