New Zealand's telecommunications providers are struggling to deliver the quality of service customers expect, according to a new survey by regulator the Commerce Commission and Consumer NZ.
Fifty-six per cent of internet customers reported problems in the past two years while 54 per cent said it took “a lot of effort” to deal with their telco and get issues fixed.
Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said the results show the industry needed to up its game and "get the basics of customer service right".
Telecommunications commissioner Tristan Gilbertson said that the survey added to a large body of evidence gathered by the Commerce Commission around retail service quality issues faced by customers.
“These issues are far-reaching and span all stages of the telecommunications service lifecycle from advertising, marketing and engagement, through to billing and customer service, to closing accounts and switching providers,” Gilbertson said.
“This baseline report summarises the results of our work to date and shows there is significant opportunity for improvement."
Some telcos are doing a better job than others, according to the survey, with Vodafone standing out for having a higher proportion of problems.
Sixty-six percent of Vodafone’s internet customers and 44 per cent of its mobile customers reported running into issues in the past two years.
Duffy said billing problems also continued to dog the telco, with one in five of Vodafone’s internet customers reported an issue with their bills.
The top performing telcos were 2degrees and Skinny.
Seventy-two percent of 2degrees’ internet customers and 69 per cent of its mobile customers were very satisfied with the service they were getting.
It was Spark subsidiary Skinny, however, that rated highest in the mobile category, with an overall satisfaction score of 75 per cent.
The full internet service ratings are below, showing the overall percentage of customers who were "very satisfied".
- 2degrees, 72 per cent
- Skinny, 70 per cent
- MyRepublic, 67 per cent
- Spark, 61 per cent
- Slingshot, 60 per cent
- Orcon, 59 per cent
- Trustpower, 57 per cent
- Vodafone, 56 per cent
- Industry average, 61 per cent
The ratings for mobile service customers who were very satisfied were:
- Skinny, 75 per cent
- 2degrees, 69 per cent
- Warehouse Mobile, 68 per cent
- Spark, 62 per cent
- Vodafone, 58 per cent
- Industry average, 63 per cent
The CEO of telco lobby the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF), Paul Brislen, said while there was more the industry could do, the survey results were "very pleasing" given 78 per cent of survey respondents rated themselves satisfied or very satisfied with the service they received.
“The report shows the industry is largely meeting or exceeding customer expectations and given the importance placed on the role telecommunications plays in both our economy and society, that is very good to hear," he said.
The TCF would engage with the commission to work through areas of real importance to customers – which largely seemed to focus on better understanding of their bills, and help deciding which of the technology choices available to them was best for their situation, Brislen said.
The survey was conducted by Research New Zealand and achieved a nationally representative of 2126 New Zealanders aged 18 and over.