Billing and complaint handling issues in the second half of 2015 saw Vodafone’s complaints per 100,000 customers rocketing to 32, over treble the industry average in Q4 of 2015. A record setting 4.6m fine from Ofcom accompanied gradual improvements to their complaint levels, leading UK CEO Nick Jeffery to predict that the customer service issues would be resolved in 2017. However, newly released figures from Ofcom suggest an end to the company’s issues may be further away than expected, with a 33% increase from 18 per 100,000 in Q3 to 24 per 100,000 in Q4 of 2016.
Despite the increase, Vodafone remain optimistic with a spokesperson from the brand stating, ‘The Ofcom report highlights that the number of complaints about Vodafone fell during 2016. Our own statistics show a 50% reduction in customer complaints. That positive momentum has continued into this year.’
Commenting on how the brand intends to continue to improve, the spokesperson continued, ‘We expect it to improve further as our 2,100 new UK based customer service roles come on line and as we continue our £2 billion investment programme to further strengthen our UK network and services. Our ambition is to give our customers the best service experience possible to match our great network. We know we are not there yet, but we are committed to ensuring our customers see a tangible improvement this year.’
The industry average complaint level remained stable at seven complaints per 100,000. The other three operators each received lower complaint levels than the average, with EE and Three both on four complaints, and O2 on three complaints. However, leading the way in customer service in Q4 was Tesco Mobile who achieved under 0.5 complaints per 100,000.
O2 celebrated their complaint levels with a statement reading, ‘We're the mobile network with fewest complaints demonstrating that our customer led strategy is working. There's no room for complacency however and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure we deliver the best possible service and experience for our customers.’
The data compiled by Ofcom also compared different communications services by complaint levels, with Broadband being the most complained about service, followed by landline and then mobile pay monthly tariffs.
The quarter saw a net increase in the number of complaints Ofcom received across all services. The regulator's consumer group director Lindsey Russell iterated 'Providers must get on and deliver consistently excellent customer service, and we expect this to be their number one priority. When companies get things wrong, we won’t hesitate to investigate and potentially levy fines.'