The race is on for telecommunications companies to win back customers who have lost faith in the TalkTalk service as their 18 month ‘free’ broadband contracts draw to an end.
Following a customer satisfaction poll conducted by uSwitch.com, the telecommunications company has been placed second to bottom for overall customer satisfaction for its broadband service and nearly a third of its customers (31%) are not satisfied with the overall service they have received.
TalkTalk made history last year when they launched the first free broadband service to customers. Within the first eight weeks 340,000 new users signed up, attracted by the promise of annual savings of around £468.
Despite offering the most competitive deal, TalkTalk initially encountered a host of problems as it attempted to keep up with the influx of new customers wanting to take advantage of the cheapest package on the market.
Customers were offered high speed capabilities and an unlimited international call package deal for both telephone and internet that was around £12 cheaper than other companies.
However 200,000 people were initially left without a live broadband service as they waited to be connected and the company was publicly scrutinised over service interruptions and delayed connections, prompting CEO Charles Dunstone at one stage to describe the ongoing problems as a “disturbing nightmare.”
Now 18 months on, the company has invested an additional £15 million to improve its customer services and TalkTalk has assured customers that the queues have been eliminated, the quality of customer service agents has improved, and over 700,000 people are now successfully connected to the service.
Yet while the latest uSwitch.com satisfaction poll places TalkTalk at the top of the league for Value for Money for its home phone, the poll suggests that ‘free’ does not necessarily mean a good service.
Topping the satisfaction poll was PlusNet with 78% of customers satisfied with its service followed by Sky, which took 76% of the vote for overall satisfaction rating.
Steve Weller, Head of Communications Services at uSwitch.com comments: “Free broadband was a bold move from TalkTalk and was great news for the broadband market. It sparked a major price war that saw prices drop by 17% last year, and prices continue to fall.
“Consumers are entitled to the best of both worlds and should not have to choose between price and service. However, while this remains the case, it’s important that not only those on TalkTalk but the 7 million home phone and 6 million broadband customers who are likely to review their existing deal in the next 12 months do their research before entering into a new contract.
“TalkTalk’s CEO was famously quoted as saying, ‘if in a year’s time it [customer service] is still as bad then people will just write us off’. It will be interesting to see how many will.”
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