UK consumers are dissatisfied with their telecoms providers, citing poor customer service and unreliable channels like live chat, according to new research by DataEQ. The UK Telecommunications Sentiment Index analysed 194 546 tweets directed at the UK’s four major telecom providers from1 February 2019 to 30 April 2019.
Overall net sentiment separated by brand reputation and customer experience reveals that reputational performance masked the extent of operational issues.
Three lead the pack on customer experience. Vodafone place last.
Three’s CX Net Sentiment was the best in the sector: -50.4%. Their leading performance was driven by their customer service and affordable pricing. Three had the highest rate of acquisition opportunities, highlighting the relationship between leading customer experience and retention.
Vodafone had the worst-performing CX Net Sentiment: -70.2%. Vodafone’s customer journey was laden with complaints about the poor quality of customer service.
EE’s website and Vodafone’s live chat were key customer pain points and drew significantly higher volumes than industry average
EE the preferred alternative as telecoms bleed customers on social media
12.2% of unhappy customers threatened to cancel with their provider. Vodafone recorded the highest percentage of negative authors discussing cancellation. EE was the most cited alternative for consumers wishing to switch providers. Loyalty, turnaround time, affordability, billing and valuing loyal customers are the key concerns for customers considering switching.
Brexit uncertainty causes customer panic ahead of new roaming charges
Vodafone and other providers’ lack of clarity on future Brexit roaming charges saw some customers threatening to leave. Three’s commitment to absorb future roaming charges was welcomed by their customers and drew interest from other providers’ customers.
Poor CX opens door to MVNOs but presents an opportunity for big four to improve
Commenting on the findings, DataEQ’s chief executive, Jean Pierre Kloppers noted that “As the quality of network coverage evens out, customer complaints are focused on the customer journey rather than network infrastructure issues. This will open the door for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) who are able to compete with the big four operators, particularly on digital channels. For the traditional operators, improving customer experience will be key to stopping the rot. This will require a serious focus on structuring and analysing real-time customer feedback channels, particularly social media.”
Download the Index for a complete analysis of customer journey stages and channels for all four telecom providers.
DataEQ retrieved 194 546 tweets pertaining to the UK’s four major telecommunications providers for the period 1 February 2019 to 30 April 2019. The providers analysed in were EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. Data consisted of consumer interactions with the telecom providers’ main Twitter profiles. To carry out sentiment analysis with a 95% confidence level and an overall 0.8% margin of error, a random sample of 33 343 of these tweets were processed through DataEQ’s Crowd for evaluation and verification.
*Tweets were assigned sentiment scores of positive, negative or neutral, or in some cases, both positive and negative.Net Sentiment is an aggregated customer satisfaction index used to measure public opinion towards a brand, product, person or concept. It is calculated by subtracting the total percentage of negative conversation from the total percentage of positive conversation (Net Sentiment = positive conversation – negative conversation).
In order to assess only the customer experience data and establish a CX Net Sentiment, the operational data is distilled from the reputational data that is driven by marketing campaigns, corporate social investment and press coverage. This separation enables an assessment of customer journey stages and channels that are not skewed by reputational data. A total of 29 714 tweets were verified for CX.