Best and worst phone and broadband customer service revealed

21 August 2020

Research published by Ofcom today highlights which phone and broadband companies are providing their customers with the best service.

Our annual customer service report (PDF, 2.9 MB) looks at how the major telecoms providers performed last year on measures including the complaints they received, value for money and overall satisfaction.

It offers an independent insight into what level of service phone and broadband customers can expect, helping them to shop around for a provider that meets their needs. The data covers up to January 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded.

Which broadband companies have the most satisfied customers?

Average satisfaction with overall home broadband service was 85%. For BT overall satisfaction stood at 86%, for EE it was 88%, Plusnet 93%, Sky 86%, TalkTalk 78% and Virgin Media 85%. Average satisfaction with reliability of service stood at 83%, with BT at 86%, EE at 87%, Plusnet 85%, Sky 84%, TalkTalk 75%, and Virgin Media 85%. Average satisfaction with speed of service was 82%. BT was at 84%, EE at 85%, Plusnet 82%, Sky 80%, TalkTalk 76%, and Virgin Media 85%.

Overall, 85% of broadband customers said they are satisfied with their service.

Twelve per cent of broadband customers said they had a reason to complain about their provider, in line with 2018 – although people were more likely to be happy with how their complaints were handled than they were in 2018 (up to 53% from 49%).

Plusnet customers reported higher than average satisfaction with their broadband service. This is despite having to wait longer than average for their calls to be answered.

TalkTalk customers were less likely to be satisfied with their overall service and with the reliability of their service. They were also less likely to recommend their provider to a friend, and less likely to be satisfied with how their complaint was handled. Virgin Media customers had to wait the longest for their calls to be answered (4 minutes 26 seconds on average) and were the also less likely  to be satisfied with how their complaint was handled.

Which mobile companies have the most satisfied customers?

Average satisfaction with overall mobile service stood at 93%. Satisfaction with reception or signal strength was at 85%, while value for money was 87%. Satisfaction with EE based on this criteria was 93%, 84% and 84% respectively; with giffgaff it was 95%, 86% and 96%; with O2 it was 93%, 85% and 87%; with Tesco Mobile it was 97%, 92% and 97%; with Three it was 89%, 75% and 87%; with Virgin Media it was 93%, 84% and no rating given for value for money; and finally with Vodafone it was 90%, 89% and 83%.

Overall, more than nine in 10 customers said they are satisfied with their mobile phone service, with only 3% of customers saying they had a reason to complain.

Tesco Mobile customers reported higher than average satisfaction and were more likely to recommend their provider to a friend. They also reported higher than average satisfaction with mobile reception and value for money.

Three customers were less likely to be satisfied overall and less likely  to recommend their provider to a friend. They also had the longest average call-waiting times and were less likely to be satisfied with their mobile reception.

Which home phone companies have the most satisfied customers?

Average satisfaction with overall landline service stood at 85%. BT was at 90%, EE at 82%, Plusnet at 83%, Sky at 88%, TalkTalk at 83%, and Virgin Media at 77%. Average satisfaction with reliability of landline service was 89%. BT was at 93%, EE at 83%, Plusnet was also at 83%, Sky at 89%, TalkTalk at 86%, and Virgin Media at 85%.

Overall, more than eight in 10 customers said they are satisfied with their landline provider. Only 4% of home phone customers had a reason to complain.

BT customers reported higher satisfaction with the reliability of their home phone service and higher satisfaction overall.

Virgin Media customers reported lower overall satisfaction and also faced the longest call waiting times.

Checking the quality of a phone or broadband provider’s customer service can be the difference between signing up to a company that keeps you connected, or one that falls short.

Our research helps you to easily compare how providers perform on customer service, so you can choose the one that’s best for you.

Lindsey Fussell, consumer group director at Ofcom

Automatic compensation update

Alongside today’s report, we’ve also published the findings from a review of our automatic compensation scheme. The voluntary scheme was introduced in April last year to make sure that, when things go wrong, you can get money back from your provider without having to ask for it.

The scheme works like this:

Table illustrating the problems that would entitle a landline or broadband customer to compensation, and the amount of compensation they should receive.

Between July and December 2019, our automatic compensation scheme saw over £20.7 million paid out to broadband and home phone customers who experienced problems with their services. This compares to the £8m we estimated was paid out over an equivalent six-month period before the scheme was in place.

The following providers are currently part of the scheme:

  • BT
  • Sky
  • Talk Talk
  • Virgin Media
  • Zen Internet
  • Hyperoptic
  • Utility Warehouse

We will continue to monitor how the scheme is operating to make sure customers are being treated fairly.

You can find simple, handy tips on improving your broadband and mobile service on our website.

Broadband

This table summarises the performance of each provider on five metrics: satisfaction with overall service, customers with a reason to complain, overall satisfaction with complaint handling, average call waiting time and complaints per 100,000 subscribers. A fully accessible version of the table is included in the Executive Summary of the report.

Landline

This table summarises the performance of each provider on five metrics: satisfaction with overall service, customers with a reason to complain, overall satisfaction with complaint handling, average call waiting time and complaints per 100,000 subscribers. A fully accessible version of the table is included in the Executive Summary of the report.

Mobile

This table summarises the performance of each provider on five metrics: satisfaction with overall service, customers with a reason to complain, overall satisfaction with complaint handling, average call waiting time and complaints per 100,000 subscribers. A fully accessible version of the table is included in the Executive Summary of the report.