O2's customers continue to be the happiest in the mobile industry but Three has leaped into second place after a focus on customer service.
According to Ofcom's annual customer service survey, 76% of O2 customers said they were satisfied with the service. Ofcom said clear advice, the speed at which it deals with and resolves issues, its ease of contact and offering of compensation as goodwill contributed to its high score. O2 appears to have avoided any lasting damage from its service outage in July, which affected a third of its customers.
Both Three and T-Mobile were second with a 67% satisfaction rating and Orange (65%) was fourth. Ofcom said an improvement in customer service led to a 11.7% rise in satisfaction with Three. However, time taken to handle problems contributed to a small fall in happiness among Orange and T-Mobile customers. Virgin Mobile (64%) was fifth and Vodafone had the lowest rating for customer satisfaction at 61%. The latter said it scored lower than the industry average (67%) for 'the usefulness of the advice and information provided'.
Overall, mobile customers were generally more satisfied with their service than fixed broadband (62%) and landline (64%) services. Only pay TV customers (69%) were generally happier. However, the research warned more people were unhappier with their customer service (14%) this year than in 2009 (9%) when the research first started.
Claudio Pollack, consumer group director at Ofcom, said: 'It's encouraging to see a degree of improvement in certain areas of customer service in the communications sectors. Ofcom hopes that this research will both incentivise providers to improve all aspects of their customer service and give consumers valuable information about the standards of customer service they can expect when choosing a provider.'
Ofcom interviewed 3,000 customers who contacted their service provider between July and September 2012.