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Sector Satisfaction: Telecomms Versus Utilities - Results Revealed

March 14th 2018

Neither the Telecommunications nor Utilities sectors in the UK are famous for an outstanding customer experience, but how do they compare?

The findings from our Customer Satisfaction Benchmarking Survey revealed the sectors with the best and worst performance, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each industry’s customer care strategies. After studying customer ratings across a range of interactions, we decided to pitch Telecomms and Utilities against each other…

Telecommunications – Highs and Lows

Using data collected over the eight months from June 2017 to January 2018, we identified that Telecommunications providers were receiving low customer satisfaction scores on interactions including ‘reporting a problem’, ‘customer service’, and when ‘ordering a new phone/TV/Broadband service. The lowest score, however, went to ‘making contact by phone’ – just 22 out of a possible 100.

What Telecomms providers do appear to be doing right, according to responses collected by our researchers, are low-effort online interactions such as making a payment and making account changes – which leapt up to 72 and 77 out of 100, respectively.

Utilities – Best and Worst

The benchmarking survey revealed a similar trend in ratings for the Utilities sector, with higher-effort customer interactions – such as ‘changing supplier’ – scoring lower when compared to low-effort tasks that could be arranged online – such as ‘installing a meter’. The interaction which came out at the bottom for customer satisfaction in this sector was related to ‘meter problems’, scoring 55 out of 100.

In contrast to Telecommunications, however, one area where the Utilities sector is outperforming is in its responsiveness. ‘Ease of contact’ achieved a satisfaction score of 90, with ‘repairs/emergency work’ scoring 84.

Utilities Vs. Telecommunications

Over the eight-month survey period, the data revealed that the Utilities sector scored 70/100 overall for customer satisfaction, compared with 58/100 for Telecommunications. I line with TTi Global’s previous benchmarking reports, Online Retail was the top scoring sector, achieving an overall score of 85/100.

Utilities outperformed Telecommunications companies over three key service areas:

Utilities outperformed Telecommunications companies over three key service areas:  

  • Customer Service - Utilities scoring 76, compared to 45 for Telecomms
  • Reporting a Problem – Utilities scoring 66, compared to 43 for Telecomms
  • Making contact by phone – Utilities scoring 75, compared to 22 for Telecomms

Telecommunications, however, does outperform Utilities when it comes to making a payment – scoring 77, compared to Utilities’ 71.

Making Positive Changes

These latest customer satisfaction findings indicate that action is needed to improve the customer experience across both industries. While Utilities scored relatively highly for overall satisfaction – particularly in areas such as customer responsiveness – they still fall short, when compared to other sectors such as Online Retail, for providing a strong and consistent customer experience. Gas, Electric, and Water companies may benefit from customer satisfaction gap analysis research to identify why customers are unhappy with reporting processes, particularly relating to smart and water meters, and how best to reduce customer effort when switching suppliers or troubleshooting problems.

TTi Global’s leading gap analysis framework helps organisations identify gaps in service provision, why they occur, and the improvement action needed to enhance the outcome for customers.

Telecommunications companies, similarly, would benefit from targeted customer research, according to our findings, to pinpoint customers’ frustrations when making contact by phone. Customer research removes the guesswork by tracking and determining customers’  exact pain points, while also allowing company resources to be channelled to where they will have the most impact.

An industry-wide benchmarking study would also allow Telecomms and Utility companies to look beyond their own industry to what other sectors are doing to raise customer satisfaction. Online Retailers, for example, scored 76 for ease of contact, compared to 68 for Utilities and 50 for Telecommunications. What can these sectors learn from online shopping companies in order to improve? What are they doing differently, and better? Benchmarking allows companies to see who is delivering the best customer service, and whether similar initiatives might boost customer experience in their own sector.

Winners and Losers

Who are the UK’s Best and Worst Telecommunications Companies?

Who are the UK’s Best and Worst Telecommunications Companies?

Our benchmarking survey also highlights the best and worst performing companies for each sector. Using the 1 to 100 scale results, we revealed that EE achieved the highest customer satisfaction score by far, with 92, followed by Virgin Media 9520 and BT (52). On the lower end of the scale, with the lowest recorded satisfaction score, was TalkTalk with 43.

Who are the UK’s Best and Worst Utilities Companies?

Our results show that Affinity Water achieved the highest customer satisfaction score with  92, followed by SSE (83) and Anglian Water (80). The companies sitting jointly at the bottom end of the scale were EDF Energy and EON, with the still respectable score of 75.

Calculate Your Customer Satisfaction Score

TTi Global is an industry-leading provider of customer, employee and stakeholder research and analysis. We design and implement customer research surveys for companies of all sizes, from Ford Europe to Northern Gas Networks, unlocking the valuable insights they need to enhance their customer experience, increase customer growth and revenue.  

For further information about our benchmarking survey, or to commission your own sector or company survey, contact us .