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ISPreview UK Study Warns of Uphill Struggle for Bad Broadband ISPs

Monday, August 20th, 2012 (8:00 am) - Score 724

The results from 1068 respondents to ISPreview.co.uk’s latest monthly web-based survey has revealed that 63.6% would never return to a broadband ISP that had previously caused them problems and 78.3% are now unwilling to sacrifice quality for a cheaper price. Can ISPs ever overcome a bad reputation?

This poll helps to illustrate the vital importance of quality and reputation. It also asked which provider consumers would pick if they could have ANY broadband service from only the UK’s largest six ISPs, which saw Virgin Media come out on top with 30.5% of the vote and Orange UK (Everything Everywhere) hit rock bottom at just 1.4%.

If you could have ANY broadband service from only the big six ISPs, who would you pick?
Virgin Media – 30.5%
BT – 20%
I don’t know – 17.5%
Sky Broadband – 14.5%
O2 – 10.7%
TalkTalk – 5.2%
Orange UK – 1.4%

Would you sacrifice some quality for a cheaper price when choosing a new ISP?
No – 78.3%
Yes – 21.6%

Would you ever return to an ISP that you previously had problems with?
No – 63.6%
Not Sure (Possibly) – 29.2%
Yes – 7.1%

Both of the bottom two providers, Orange UK (Everything Everywhere) and TalkTalk, have over the past few years suffered from a mix of well publicised service problems and significant fixed line broadband subscriber declines. For example Ofcom recently named TalkTalk the ISP with most complaints (here), while the same study revealed Virgin Media and Sky Broadband as having the lowest volume of consumer complaints.

The survey appears to highlight the difficulty of rebuilding an embattled consumer reputation and further suggests that some providers might continue to face challenges in the future, especially with so many consumers being unwilling to give problematic services a second chance. It’s perhaps no coincidence that the two lowest rated ISPs are also among the UK’s cheapest. But such situations do not have to be terminal.

Many well known brands have gone through periods of deep instability (e.g. Apple) and managed to come out smelling of roses. The key is to offer something that consumers really want, at least part of which usually involves being able to find the right balance between quality and price. Consumers are perhaps also more likely to stick with ISPs that remain competitive and reward them by sharing beneficial service or price changes.

This month’s new survey asks what minimum real-world broadband speed do you CURRENTLY require for your needs and whether or not you already receive it? Vote Here.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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4 Responses
  1. Avatar Sledgehammer says:

    Just one comment, in the first part of the vote it should have been “NONE OF THE ABOVE” and not ” I don’t know”

  2. Avatar dragoneast says:

    Perhaps part of the equation is not confusing your customers. My experience with Orange (and perhaps TT is similar on the basis of my neighbour’s experience): they chop and change so often – presumably in an effort to “keep up” with the market – that individual customers get very frustrated when they loose out and can’t find out what is going on, as the customer services (and even the management) are as confused as the customers.

    Marketing-led services were never impressed by simplicity or clarity and consistency! Neither are Ofcom.

    Anyone tried to read (let alone, understand) their broadband or phone terms of contract lately – or actually, even find it?

  3. Avatar DTMark says:

    A number of people will return after poor service if the price is cheap enough.

    A qucik trip over to MSE reveals threads which begin with the words

    “I don’t know why I went back to [ISP name]”, or “I should have known better than to go with [ISP name]” … but it was cheap.

    For [ISP name], insert “BT” or “Talk Talk”.

  4. Avatar Deduction02 says:

    quote”For example Ofcom recently named TalkTalk the ISP with most complaints (here), while the same study revealed Virgin Media and Sky Broadband as having the lowest volume of consumer complaints.”

    Virgin now have the fastest Mass Fibre solution, least complaints and won this ISPreview survey also. Oh how very ticked off the BT fanbots must be at that.

    Congrats to Virgin AGAIN

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