UK consumers warn friends, family off telco brands, report finds

customer experience

UK consumers are more likely to actively discourage friends and family from using most major telecoms providers than recommend them, according to new research.

A poll of over 2,000 adults found that telecoms and energy were the only two sectors in which this trend was observed.

Respondents were more likely to recommend retail, travel, banking, insurance and technology companies to peers than not.

The survey asked respondents about BT, EE, TalkTalk and Vodafone.

Only EE had more respondents saying they would recommend the brand, than actively discourage peers from using it.

[Read more: Former EE Chief Exec recalls game changing innovation and “really bad” IT]

TalkTalk, which today launched an initiative to win back customers with simpler tariff plans, was the worst performer.

Fifteen percent more people would discourage their friends and family from using the company, which suffered a cyber attack 12 months ago.

Despite the lack of satisfaction with operators, however, almost half of respondents, 47 percent, have not switched their mobile phone provider in at least five years.

The report was conducted by EY-Seren, a subsidiary of the professional services firm that describes itself as a design and innovation consultancy specialising in customer experience.

“It’s clear that major telecoms and energy providers are failing to deliver the experience customers want,” said Ben Rubin, Development Director at EY-Seren.

“This could be anything from bad websites to annoying customer call centres, or just not being able to complete tasks quickly and simply.”

“These industries have managed to cling on to customers because of the relatively high barriers to entry for smaller, more customer focused competitors, and also the level of hassle required for customers who want to switch.

“However, it is starting to change and emerging companies who can deliver what customers want, in the same way that Uber did for taxis, and Airbnb did for hotels, are starting to win market share from established companies.

“Providers can no longer rely on a lack of more attractive options on the market. They need to start offering experiences that make customers want to stay and recommend their providers to others.

“As competition increases, peer recommendations will become increasingly important and providers that don’t react quickly will find themselves on the back foot.”

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