Spark-owned budget brand Skinny has dominated new mobile and broadband service rankings released by the Commerce Commission today.
In mobile, Skinny recorded a net promoter score of plus 46 ahead of 2degrees on plus 30, while in broadband it recorded plus three ahead of Contact on plus two, despite ranking last for staff knowledge and helpfulness.
For customers with a broadband issue, Skinny ranked second to Contact, while on the same measure for mobile it was first equal with 2degrees.
Telecommunications commissioner Tristan Gilbertson said the project, announced last year, was part of the commission’s work to improve retail service quality.
“These rankings focus on how well each provider looks after you when something goes wrong," Gilbertson said. "This really matters to consumers. We know there can be a big gap between what consumers expect and what they actually get from their provider.”
Gilbertson said consumer frustration in this area is reflected by ongoing high levels of complaints about customer service.
“Consumers told us that two things matter most to them when something goes wrong – how quickly providers fix problems and how helpful staff are in making that happen," he said. "Our rankings show how well different providers are performing in these areas. "
The rankings also showed how successful providers were at avoiding customer service issues as how they compare in terms of overall satisfaction.
Gilbertson said the information would help Kiwi consumers choose the best provider for them and avoid surprises later about the quality of customer service offered.
“The current rankings, using six months of data from New Zealand customers, show that while some are doing better than others, all providers have areas for improvement."
Skinny was the current league leader and ranked well across almost all mobile and broadband areas with its customers experiencing the fewest issues, Gilbertson said.
“We can also see that Skinny customers are more likely to recommend this brand to friends and family. However, it ranked lowest for broadband customer service staff helpfulness and knowledge."
Contact Energy also appeared to outperform some of the traditional telcos in broadband, ranking highly for satisfaction and staff helpfulness.
However, One NZ (previously Vodafone NZ) ranked low across almost all measures for mobile and broadband, Gilbertson said, though it did rate well for the speed with which it resolves broadband issues.
“While most customers have a great experience with us, we recognise we don’t always meet expectations," said Matthew Flood, One NZ senior corproate affairs lead.
"We note the commission’s results cover a period of change to the end of June this year as we rebranded from Vodafone to One NZ and don’t tell the full story of the improvement we’re driving for customers."
Flood said One NZ had seen a 25 percent reduction in people needing to call for service, and for those that did were answered faster and getting their issue solved by the first person they connect with more often.
"Since the commission’s study, our customer research shows we’ve had a 13 per cent increase in customer network experience, 10 per cent increase in customers who report dealing with a knowledgeable and friendly representative and 10 per cent increase in trust," he said.
"Customers tell us things are improving even if we don’t always get it right and we remain committed to continuously improving the experience they have with us.”
Gilbertson said each consumer will have a different set of priorities when it comes to choosing a telecommunications provider.
“There’s often a trade-off involved between price and the level of customer service on offer," he said. "Consumers can now see what they can expect from different providers to help choose who is best for them.”
The Commission intends to update the rankings every month over the next six months and then publish updated rankings every quarter.
“Providers are free to publish the rankings themselves and we encourage them to put them on their website and make them visible in retail stores,” Gilbertson said.
The commission was also considering whether to make it mandatory for providers to publish some or all of the rankings on their websites and in their stores.
"The current rankings reflect a point in time, and we would expect this to be dynamic as providers lift their game for the benefit of Kiwi consumers of mobile and broadband services," Gilbertson said.