In Consumer NZ’s latest satisfaction survey, telco customers rated Vodafone last for both mobile and broadband services, the same place it occupied last year.
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“Vodafone was the only provider that rated below-average on all our performance measures – from customer support to value for money,” Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said.
About three-quarters of Vodafone's broadband customers reported spending a long time on the phone waiting to speak to a rep. Nearly half said the service was poor once they finally got through.
“Vodafone needs to spend less on flashy advertising and more on sorting out its service," Ms Chetwin said.
Vodafone wasn't the only large player leaving customers hanging. Spark also clocked below-average overall satisfaction results from its mobile customers. The dismal performance of the two biggest telcos dragged down average overall satisfaction scores to 54% for mobile providers and 49% for internet service providers (ISPs).
"Smaller providers returned better results than the big guys. Best in show for mobile providers was Spark-owned Skinny, with a satisfaction score of 75%. 2degrees also clocked above-average results, sitting on 61%," Ms Chetwin said. Vodafone rated 48% and Spark 49%.
The top-rated ISP was Flip, with an overall satisfaction score of 70%. However, it doesn’t offer fibre. Among ISPs that do, Skinny customers reported fewer problems than others.
Ms Chetwin urged consumers unhappy with shoddy service from their mobile or broadband provider to switch.
Consumer NZ’s survey suggests fibre is now the most common type of residential internet connection. However, for many households, the installation process has been far from plain sailing.
"One in three fibre customers encountered issues during installation. Twenty percent said agreed time frames weren’t met, while 12% told us their property had been damaged or not restored properly during installation," Ms Chetwin said.
If you have problems with your mobile or broadband provider, you can contact the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution (TDR) scheme, a free service for resolving telco complaints.
The Consumer NZ telco survey was based on a nationally representative sample of 1561 New Zealanders, aged 18 and over, and carried out online in December 2017. For the full results, see our survey.