Tesco Mobile has once again won approval for its customer service, named the fifth best company in the Institute of Customer Service’s biannual league table. But consumer complaints are up across the economy, with customers growing weary of the ‘Covid excuse.’
Following a survey of 10,000 consumers, Tesco Mobile was awarded a customer satisfaction score of 83.9. It was outperformed by first-ranked HSBC division first direct and second-place department store John Lewis.
Despite its poor treatment of workers and evasion of taxes, Amazon ranked third among locked-down Britons reliant on its quick deliveries. Car manufacturer Suzuki came in fourth, while insurance provider Swinton shared the fifth slot with Tesco Mobile.
The supermarket’s mobile arm is already widely celebrated for its customer service. While rivals regularly hit customers with mid-contract price hikes, Tesco Mobile has pledged never to do so and urged telecoms regulator Ofcom to ban the practice for mobile operators and broadband providers.
Tesco Mobile was one of the most approved-of-mobile providers in Ofcom’s annual survey, with 91% of customers reporting satisfaction. It also regularly generates the fewest customer complaints in its sector—just 1 per 100,00 customers in Ofcom's latest data.
Other telecoms providers didn’t fare as well in the ICS's rankings. No other mobile provider and no broadband company earned a spot within the top 50. However, Virgin Mobile was named one of the 20 “most improved” firms, after increasing its customer satisfaction score from 68.1 to 72.7 over the last year.
But the wider telecoms and media sector showed improvement, with its overall customer satisfaction score increasing from 74.3 in January to 75.2 this month.
But in general, consumers are frustrated with poor service from companies and public services and are no longer willing to accept the coronavirus crisis as an excuse for problems ranging from late deliveries to long waits on the telephone.
Transport and local public services such as GP surgeries, councils and the police earned the most ire from consumers. Nearly half (48.1%) of consumers say they’ve noticed a change in the customer service they receive from local public services as a result of the pandemic.
Although consumers are understanding about delays, Covid no longer works as a blank excuse for failings, particularly more than a year into the pandemic, the ICS said.
Jo Causon, chief executive of the organisation, said: “Some of those [organisations] struggling to adapt to the new environment have used the pandemic as an excuse for basic service failures.
“For a time, this was understandable and justifiable. Many businesses reported satisfaction increases over the first six months of the pandemic, some of which was seemingly down to more understanding customer attitudes.
“However, customer patience has worn thin, and as we move out of lockdown, discerning customers will become increasingly less lenient.”
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