Last week Ofcom released its latest quarterly report about telecoms complaints, with Vodafone sharing the top 'most complained about mobile network' position with BT. With that in mind it should actually be no surprise that Which?'s annual mobile customer satisfaction survey has declared it the worst-performing mobile network for the seventh year running.
Though in Vodafone's defence, Which?'s survey of 3,683 members found that the other three biggest mobile networks (EE, O2, and Three) feel within the range of 'average' and 'disappointing'. Fortunately the smaller networks that operate mobile virtual networks managed to fair quite well with customers noting their good service and value for money. But back to the big guys.
Vodafone came out with the worst overall customer satisfaction score (49%), with 16% of customers telling the consumer rights watchdog that they wouldn't recommend the network to friends and family. 15% of customers also ended up with an incorrect or unexpectedly expensive bill, and and 11% customer service score. Over all EE was second from bottom with an overall score of 56%, and with 14% of customers paying over £50 a month Which? noted that it had very poor value for money. To top that off 17% of surveyed customers felt that their bill was too expensive.
Then comes O2 with an overall score of 61%, with many customers complaining about unwanted marketing communications (18%), though 54% were appreciative of the all the perks afforded by O2's priority services. Top of the main providers was Three (64%) which scored highly on the value for money scale (71% approval) though 30% of customers claimed to have suffered from poor signal. In fact, surveryors told Which? that a third of customers who had left Three over the past two years was so they could get better signal with a different network. Still 86% said they'd recommend the networks to friends and family.
As for the rest of the list, the king was Utility Warehouse with an overall score of 86% closely followed by GiffGaff (81%), Sky Mobile (79%), Asda Mobile (75%), and Tesco Mobile (75%). In terms of customer recommendations the top five are mostly the same, though GiffGaff trumps Utility Warehouse by a slim margin.
“The biggest providers are lagging behind smaller rivals who are doing a better job of giving customers what they want in terms of service and value for money. Customers who are fed up should look to switch provider as soon as they can.
New reforms will soon mean that mobile customers will be able to switch provider by text message, which we hope will make it quicker and easier for customers to seek a better deal."