The Federal Government is planning to introduce specific customer service benchmarks telco providers must meet as part of its promise to make the industry more accountable for poor customer care.
Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has released an exposure draft of the Telecommunications (Customer Service Guarantee – Retail Performance Benchmarks) Instrument (No.1) 2011.
When the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment Act 2010 was passed last November it allowed the Government to enforce reforms that demand better customer service from telecommunication providers.
Changes to the current universal service obligation (USO) and customer service guarantee (CSG) were flagged in 2009 when the bill was announced.
The draft instrument proposes performance benchmarks for telcos which include keeping appointments for new service connections and repairs within the time frame specified in the CSG.
“Failure to do so will expose the service providers to civil penalties under a new infringement notice scheme overseen by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA),” Senator Conory said in a statement.
The telecommunications sector have long struggled with providing adequate customer service. Earlier this week the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) revealed the number of complaints against telcos have climbed once again. Benchmarks will be assessed at different geographic levels such as national, urbal, rural and remote areas.
“In this way, the ACMA will be able to oversee compliance and enforcement of CSG standards in geographic areas where satisfactory customer service may be lacking,” Senator Conroy said.