Come into the garden, Zen
An extract from the latest by biannual 2023 survey by consumer champion Which? has found that TalkTalk is currently the worst provider in Britain. This is a remarkable achievement given that, in the words of former BT executive Tucker George, pictured, there is no regulator tough enough to hold the big ISPs feet to their fire. The MD of new start up Rebel Internet told Mobile Europe that any start up ISP could disrupt this market just by offering new technology that’s well supported. These are too revolutionary for the dictators of the UK market, so this bad service study has a depressing familiarity to it.
The competition for worst service provider seemed to be the biggest companies with the largest market budets. Disappointed TalkTalk customers gave it the lowest possible ratings for technical support, customer service and broadband speed. The CSP always seemed to be having ‘exceptionally’ high numbers of ‘customers to help’, said one customer. If it’s always over run, but then is not an exceptionally high volume of calls.
Many people are under the illusion that TalkTalk has its own infrastructure and 20% left TalkTalk because they couldn’t understand why their connections were so slow. Among those current customers a further fifth said they would not recommend TalkTalk to anyone. In spite of this, TalkTalk is about to jack up its broadband prices by 14.2% next month, a rise that is way above the rate of inflation-.
BT is also structuring its process over and above inflation, with a 14.4% price hike in April, which Ofcom seems happy to tolerate. In a recent U-Switch survey, 90 of people were not happy with these over the top price hikes. For this reason nearly four in ten customers who had departed BT said this was due to the price rise. Overall, according to Which? BT managed better ratings than the other ‘Big Four’ providers but it was easily outshone by smaller competitors. The customer service and value for money came in for criticism. Expect to see a BT advertising campaign telling everyone exactly the opposite.
Virgin Media is also introducing an inflation-busting mid-contract price hike in 2024. However, it made the concession current customers will see costs rise by an average of 13.8% next month. This year, affected customers are still able to switch away. Which? said that might be worth considering. However Virgin Media received lacklustre ratings from customers, particularly around customer service and technical support. Alongside that, two in five Virgin Media customers told ISP Review they pay more than £40 per month for their connection. This could explain why this provider had some of the lowest ratings value for money ratings.
This is another broadband provider that pretends that it owns its own infrastructure, making a call with the Indian call centre very confusing for people who get wi-fi mixed up with broadband. It has clauses covering inflation-based price rises in its contracts, so customers can switch away penalty-free when notified of price hikes. This year’s price increases that come into force this Saturday averaged at 8.1%, well below that of the Big Four. But what good is a discount on a terrible service?
Sky ranked between BT and Virgin Media in ISP Review’s rankings. Its customers were the most likely to have experienced an issue with their connection in the past year, though it was considered easier to contact than both TalkTalk and Virgin Media.
The Which? survey was conducted online in January 2023 with 3,975 members of the public. This study may have had a major flaw in its execution. Critics of the worst ISPs would presumably has struggled to get online, so TalkTalk’s popularity may be even worse than the figures suggest. This excerpt release by Which? (the full report must be purchased) quizzed customers about customer experience criteria such as speed, reliability, value for money, ease of contacting, customer service and technical support. ISPs were also awarded an overall customer score (%), based on their satisfaction and likelihood to recommend.
In other news, 81% of customers of Britain’s best internet service providers found themselves to be a state of calm attentiveness and enlightenment, which is why Zen Internet was voted as Britain’s ISP. They might have got more votes but the customers were too relaxed to fill out a survey.