Telefónica's UK mobile operator O2's customer service was ranked best by consumers quizzed by regulator Ofcom in a regular annual survey, although Virgin Mobile was the only operator to show a year-on-year improvement.
Ofcom revealed that O2 UK achieved an overall satisfaction rate of 78 per cent in 2014 compared to 82 per cent in 2013, based on measures including the ease with which consumers can contact the operator, the usefulness of information provided, effective logging of query details and keeping the customer informed.
Virgin Mobile ranked in second place, with an overall satisfaction rate of 76 per cent in 2014 compared to 71 per cent in 2013. Vodafone came third with a satisfaction rate of 71 per cent versus 77 per cent in 2013, then Three UK on 70 per cent compared to 74 per cent in 2013.
EE achieved a rate of 69 per cent. However, there is no direct comparison to previous years, when Ofcom listed satisfaction for Orange and T-Mobile--the operator's joint venture partners--separately.
Ofcom based its results on a survey of 3,402 consumers that had contacted their service provider during the third quarter of 2014. The research also covers fixed broadband, landline, and pay-TV services. The regulator said the survey generated a total of 5,401 customer experiences across the four sectors.
Overall, the UK's five mobile operators achieved an average satisfaction rating of 73 per cent in 2014, which Ofcom notes is broadly in-line with the 75 per cent achieved in 2013. The regulator revealed that satisfaction among consumers with a complaint has increased by 13 percentage points since 2011 to 59 per cent in 2014. Meanwhile, customer contact with operators is dropping, with a contact rate of 19 per cent in 2014 compared to 27 per cent in 2013.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's Consumer and Content Group director, said the research "gives consumers valuable information about the standards of customer service across different sectors." He added that the regulator hopes "this research will provide an industry benchmark" and incentivise operators to focus on high standards in customer service.
Ofcom's figures for fixed line and pay-TV services are also relevant as the UK market increasingly moves towards converged, quad-play services.
In the fixed broadband sector, Virgin Media ranked top for customer service with an overall satisfaction rate of 76 per cent, with BSkyB hot on its heels on 75 per cent. TalkTalk achieved a 62 per cent rating, and BT 60 per cent.
Landline services saw BSkyB on top with a rating of 79 per cent, followed by Virgin Media (72 per cent), TalkTalk (62 per cent) and BT (61 per cent). BSkyB also came out on top in the pay-TV sector, with a rate of 81 per cent compared to Virgin Media's 78 per cent.
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