Non-governmental organisation, The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and telecommunications industry body, Communications Alliance, have welcomed the downward trend of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).
According to the TIO’s 2014-15 annual report, the number of complaints has dipped by 10.5 per cent from last year and 37 per cent during the past four years. Mobile complaints dropped to their lowest level since 2007-08.
Communications Alliance said, in a statement, that a further significant year-on-year reduction in telecommunications consumer complaints demonstrates that the industry continues to deliver on its commitment to an excellent customer experience.
Communications Alliance director of program management, Christiane Gillespie-Jones, said this significant reductions in complaints shows that the industry is on a long-term path to greater customer satisfaction.
“This improvement stems from various factors – including huge investments into improved networks, a strong Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code and, most importantly, an industry-wide commitment to deliver an outstanding customer experience,” Gillespie-Jones said.
She claimed it is also pleasing to see more than 90 per cent of complaints are resolved by service providers without further TIO involvement.
“Industry is not resting on its laurels and is determined to drive down complaint levels even further in the current year.”
However, ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin, said the number of new complaints recorded (124,417) is still a significant number, with some key problem areas emerging in the report that need to be improved.
The problem areas identified in the report include the rise in fixed-line complaints and the rise in nbn-related complaints. nbn related complaints rose by nearly 70 per cent and a large number of these were related to missed appointments and connections.
“The number of subscribers on the nbn has grown substantially but nbn and the retail service providers (RSPs) need to ensure consumers aren’t worse off during the switch-over,” Corbin mentioned.
According to Corbin, the complaints reported to the TIO are just the tip of the iceberg. As such, she stressed the importance for telcos to work on improving products, customer service and complaint handling.
“ACCAN is calling on the telcos and RSPs to publish their complaint data so that problem areas can be better identified and consumer complaints can be avoided. This also benefits the industry, as it allows showcasing of low complaint levels by the star performers,” she said.
Gillespie-Jones added that the increase in complaints requires further analysis and needs to be watched carefully.