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Results of our telco survey revealed

In an industry that’s all about telecommunications, Consumer NZ members find it hard to get the big players to answer the phone.

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“Our latest survey of customer satisfaction showed 65 percent of people experienced lengthy waits to speak to customer service representatives. Just 33 percent thought their provider was very easy to contact,” Consumer NZ CEO Sue Chetwin said.

More than 8600 Consumer members participated in the survey, rating their internet and mobile service providers. Respondents who felt their telcos were easy to contact were more likely to be satisfied customers. The two biggest players Vodafone and Spark trailed the field.

Top performers for mobile service were Spark offshoot Skinny Mobile and 2degrees. Eighty-four percent of Skinny Mobile customers were very satisfied. It rated above average on all key performance measures including value for money (86 percent). 2degrees customers were also more likely than average to be satisfied with their mobile service – 69 percent were very satisfied and 63 percent were very satisfied with their value for money. Average satisfaction with value for money was 40 percent.

Overall, prepay mobile customers were more likely to be very satisfied with their value for money (48 percent) than those on fixed-term post-pay plans (29 percent).

2degrees is a Consumer Trusted business and Skinny Mobile is going through the process. Consumer Trusted businesses achieve accreditation through a rigorous process set by Consumer NZ based on good customer service.

Of the 12 internet providers surveyed, Spark and Vodafone rated lower than average on key performance measures including value for money and ease of contacting.

Small Manawatu-based company Inspire Net (also a Consumer Trusted business) topped the ratings with 98 percent satisfaction from its customers. Actrix and Now New Zealand were also highly rated.

Most respondents had been with their telco for at least two years; about 60 percent had been with the same provider for five years or more. But this may reflect the difficulty of comparing plans rather than customer loyalty, Ms Chetwin said. Fifty-three percent of internet customers thought it was difficult to compare providers. Just 14 percent thought it was very easy. Thirty-seven percent also considered it was difficult to switch. In the mobile market, 50 percent of respondents thought it was difficult to compare providers and 23 percent thought it was difficult to switch.

Thirty-seven percent said they were very likely to move to an ultra-fast broadband plan – 17 percent had already made the switch. For 57 percent of them, the switch had been smooth. For the others, the biggest complaint was time frames for installation not being met. One member said: “We’ve been given five connection dates but not once has anyone turned up to actually do the install nor have we been contacted about why.”

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