How telecoms providers are improving their customer service

24 July 2017, 14:19   By Samantha Smith

BT and Vodafone are respectively the most complained about broadband and mobile providers, according to the latest complaints tables from Ofcom.

call centre
Credit: Frame Stock Footage/

However, even though BT added to their previous number of complaints, Vodafone decreased theirs by a significant margin, and in fact they and other providers are currently doing much to improve their levels of customer service.

From hiring new call centre staff to expanding their social media presence, providers are gradually learning the lessons conveyed by the likes of Ofcom, and it would seem that customers are already beginning to benefit.


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When Ofcom published their latest quarterly stats on telecoms complaints, long-time observers perhaps wouldn't have been surprised to see which providers came out on top (or rather, on bottom).

broadband complaints

Source: Ofcom, Latest telecoms and pay-TV complaints, June 28th, 2017

mobile complaints

Source: Ofcom, Latest telecoms and pay-TV complaints, June 28th, 2017

To be fair though, Vodafone have improved their performance by roughly 29%, bringing their tally down from 24 to 17.

By contrast, BT increased theirs by one, suggesting that it may take them more time before they can resolve their sometimes patchy reputation for customer service.

Call centres

However, just because BT have fractionally worsened their performance since last time doesn't mean they and other providers aren't actually working to improve the quality of their customer service.

Neither does it mean that providers disregard such reports as Ofcom's, since as the improvement of Vodafone indicates, they've recently been doing much to make sure they keep their customers happier.

To begin with Vodafone, after they'd spent an impressive eight consecutive quarters being declared the worst mobile supplier for customer complaints, they announced in March that they were creating over 2,000 UK customer service jobs.

Their UK CEO, Nick Jeffrey, said at the time, "These new, skilled roles will make a real difference to our customers".

Well, given that they decreased their complaints level by 29% in the quarter that followed, it seems to have begun having the desired effect, yet rather than rest on their laurels, Vodafone have several other customer service changes planned.

Last Wednesday, the operator announced a raft of new "improvements that put customers' needs at the heart of its service".

Improving services for our customers is our top priority. Following our announcement in April about our ongoing programme to enrol more than 2,000 new customers services advisers, we have already taken on board and trained a further 300 employees to support our customers

The most notable of these is "24/7 Digital Care", which will see round the clock social media help on Twitter and Facebook, a 24 hour messaging service on the My Vodafone App, and also a new voice authentication facility that will make it easier for customers to obtain account updates via the phone.

In conjunction with a number of network enhancements (improving indoor 4G coverage), these measures show that Vodafone are serious about making amends for past showings, such as the £4.6 million fine they received last year for billing issues and the mishandling of customer complaints.


For the most part, BT aren't quite matching the range of customer service initiatives recently launched by Vodafone, yet they have nonetheless been expanding their call centre staff.

In December, they announced the creation of 500 new customer service posts in UK and Ireland, in addition to the 1,000 customer service positions they said in January 2016 would be created by March 2017.

In fact, according to BT themselves, they've recruited more than 1,500 new personnel recently, with a spokesperson telling us, "We've recruited more than 2,200 people so that we can answer 90 per cent of customers' calls by advisors in the UK and Ireland. We've invested in a major upgrade in the software our call centre advisors use, which is also enabling more customers to serve themselves online".

Added to this, they've begun publishing their "key customer service improvements" on their website, so that customers can check how BT are performing for themselves.

Given these enhancements, it's perhaps strange BT haven't management to improve their standing on Ofcom's quarterly tables, yet it will nonetheless be interesting to see how they'll fare in the coming months.

Other providers

Turning away from BT and Vodafone, EE are another provider who attract more than the average number of complaints related to broadband providers, although according to Ofcom they sit comfortably below the average when it comes to mobile complaints.

Wanting to improve on both counts, perhaps, they announced in April the creation of 800 "contact centre advisers" for their various UK locations, something which should improve how they perform.

And while it's too early for this announcement to have resulted in a significant improvement, it's still worth noting that EE reduced their broadband complaints from 26 to 24.

And if the other providers appearing high on the complaints tables - Plusnet, TalkTalk - want to similarly hone their customer service, then they would do well to follow suit soon, even if TalkTalk showed with their broadband and TV offer from last week that there's more than one way to please their customers.

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