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CEO of UK ISP TalkTalk Reads Customer Complaints, Says They’re “awful”

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 (11:09 am) - Score 15,459

Dido Harding, the boss of budget broadband and phone provider TalkTalk, has told an event held by The&Partnership that she reads emails from customers every day and admits that “they’re awful … I view them as doing my daily prayers.”

The ISP doesn’t have the best history when it comes to service quality and customer support (partly due to inheriting Tiscali’s mess some years back), although in recent years they have improved quite significantly.

Never the less customer support and service quality are two areas that could still do with some polishing and Harding appears to be refreshingly honest about this, agreeing that the provider isn’t yet “loved” by their customers.

Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk, said (Marketing Magazine):

I read customer emails every day, and a lot of the senior management read them with me, and they’re awful. I view them as doing my daily prayers. I look at them at the end of the day on my way home. … You’ve got to have a set of core values that go beyond making money.

When we gave free TalkTalk broadband to everybody, the next month there was a barrage of complaints that they had to call the call centre. That is the point – to eat our own cooking.”

On the other hand TalkTalk are one of the cheapest broadband providers in the United Kingdom and if you choose to pay less than the quality of service you get back may also suffer. At the same time it’s worth remembering that the majority of TalkTalk’s users do appear to be content with their lot, even though the proportion of unhappy customers may be somewhat higher than others.

At least TalkTalk can take some small comfort from the fact that EE currently appears to receive far more complaints than they do, which probably won’t help BT when they finish gobbling EE up later this year.

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26 Responses
  1. Avatar SSUK says:

    Nice for a CEO to freely admit they could do better, far more than some organisations will ever do.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      To be fair Deduction they have a lot to admit to 🙂

    2. Avatar SSUK says:

      What are you talking about and why are you following me around?

    3. Avatar PortyNews says:

      Neil gets strange fixations on individuals for him it is normal try not to concern yourself with him.

    4. Avatar GNewton says:

      @SSUK: Agreed. Also, there are many excellent ISPs using the TalkTalk wholesale network, with good UK-based customer services!

      As regards these forum trolls: Best just to ignore them!

    5. Avatar Mike Abbott says:

      There is no published email address for TalkTalk Broadband complaints – so this is utter bullshit. You have to phone or send a letter. The problem is OFCOM are totally useless and let all ISP’s sell services they have nowhere near enough capacity to provide, out of the main cities. It is I believe fraud to sell something you don’t have?

      All they can do is duck and dive, hope you give up. TalkTalk at the moment refuse to supply me a deadlock letter – 5 years and 7 engineer visits later – so I still can’t complain to OFCOM. Another pointless Government department set up to try and pacify the plebs.

  2. Avatar Bob2002 says:

    There is a decent ISP struggling to get out of TalkTalk residential. They manage some things well but, probably due to their low prices, have other irritating aspects.

    Last week I lost connectivity late at night, their online line check showed no faults so I rang support. Support are script monkeys and refused to look at my connectivity loss unless I plugged in the official TalkTalk router – I said I’d call the next morning with the TalkTalk router plugged in. Attempted to call the next morning and got a recorded message saying they were working on a problem involving my exchange, then the call was terminated. No mention of what the problem was or when it would be solved.

    Luckily the service centre gave a “real-time” running commentary on what Openreach engineers were doing. About the only thing they didn’t mention was whether the BT engineer’s sandwiches were cheese and pickle or ham and mustard.

    So that’s TalkTalk residential for you – both irritating and quite good at the same time.

    1. Avatar Bob2002 says:

      Forgot to mention that TalkTalk allow you to record and download conversations with support staff(it’s an option before you speak to someone), quite useful if you want to make a complaint about how you were dealt with – and something I’ve never come across before.

  3. Avatar Jonus says:

    I have met Dido several times and what a wonderful and inspirational leader who is doing a great job in a diffcult market.

    I hear horror stories in both the resi and busienss markets and see TTB, Virgin and BT all taking a slating. The more nimble players such as Fibre Options , ITS and Gigaclear seem to have a better trackrecord in customer sat, however as their subscriber base grows, it will be interesting to see how they cope.

    The CEO of ITS told me the other day that when they send out thier monthly newsletter ( which I understand has a circulation of +25,000) from the +2000 subscribers who recievce it, the number of customer services complaints has dropped as they add their support desk and customer services desk contact information to the footer. Something that simple can go a long as a big issue with contacting ISPs is actually finding the right contact information for support.

  4. Avatar peter leigh says:

    I have never encountered a company such as T.T. I made a big mistake moving to T.T. Their customer service is withouth doubt the worst,nothing is ever resolved and the call centre staff are trained to bully you,they briefly listen to you but do not actually understand what you are talking about, this is what leads on to complete frustration.I spent an hour with a so-called “manager” who was an absolute idiot and did not know what he was talking about and his attitude towards me was unacceptable and very rude.
    I fully intend to take this matter further and would strongly suggest we all change to a provider who treats you with respect. T.T should be fully investigated.

  5. Avatar Jackie Mackenzie says:

    I want to complain to TalkTalk and am struggling to find an address or preferably and email address (they are internet after all so presumably can at least offer email contact???) I would like to contact Dido Harding directly if at all possible?

  6. Avatar Ros Plumley says:

    We have been without TT connectivity for nearly 4 weeks and our experience echoes all that is described above. We have twice sent a letter registered post to Dido Harding (11 Evesham Street, London W11 4AR) and, last night the phone went dead, it then rang and we received a strange voicemail and lo and behold we were reconnected this morning with one or two glitches since. Throughout this disconnected time TT engineers insisted the problem was ‘Fixed’ which it wasn’t and TT are now poised to say the problem was within our house which was impossible. We seem to have spent hours of our lives recently on the phone to TT employees, some trying to be helpful, some ratty, some incomprehensible. A lot of time and money could be saved on both sides if TT and Openreach could get together and agree that there is a fault on the line that they need to sort. Between our first contact and one a week later, if case numbers are given out in sequence, then there were 28,000 complaints! So where next? We can’t move to either Virgin or Sky.

  7. Avatar Chandichen says:

    i was an AOL customer and moved to TalkTalk automatically. This was been informed by letter and email. As i was paying the fixed amount and was not making any chargeable calls, I dont check/open the aol emails. Apparently, that’s the only method of communication I chose as per them, though they sent me letters too.

    Now, I have been charged over £81.00 for making 0845 calls (was free of cost to me before; hence made these calls)from 01 Jul to 15 Jul 2015. On 15 July, i received a letter from them saying that i am getting charged for 0845 calls. Tried to resolve this on the same day over the phone by spending almost an hour, only to get treated rudely by a Customer Service Manager who was the worst arrogant person I ever come across. Didn’t even allow me to escalate this call to higher level saying “I am the Manager, speak to me”. Told to get call back in next day and nothing happened.

    Today, 27th July tried to find out the progress of this complaint and told me that complaint has been closed.Spent another 2 hours talking to 4 persons, out of 3 atleast were Managers and all told the same. Now this is going to CEO’s office. Why 2 hours??? to make you frustrated even more?!

    Whilst this, one manager pass me to another manager to offer me some good deals to compensate and says you are on better deal, so when you renew the contract next year we will do a good deal!!!

    Cant express how frustrated I am, as i stupidly spent over two hours on the phone to be fooled by TalkTalk- the precious late afternoon time of my kids with their new bicycle in the park- for any reason….

    Dont know what to do. Is it harsh for me to expect a separate e-mail/letter stating clearly ‘Change of Terms and Conditions in contract’.

  8. Avatar Gordon says:

    Talk talk mobile late payment charges well bill due 23/07/15 paid 6/07/15 so how can it be late spoke to centre yes we can see Bill paid but unable to remove charges disconnected phone not happy at all

  9. Avatar Tracey Widdall says:

    The customer service messages are ridiculous If you call the 0870 number from a non-talk talk number it tells you it would be cheaper to call the 0203 number. If you call that number, it tells you that if you want to speak to customer services you need to call the 0870 number and promptly hangs up. Quality!!! I usually just email Dido directly, usually gets something done, although last time her advisor told me to move to another supplier!!!

    1. Avatar Nick says:

      Hi Tracy,

      Just read your comment and was wondering if you had a contact email for Dido. I have also been messed about one too many times and treated with absolute arrogance. I have been trying to find a way to reach her without success. Any help would be greatly appreciated.



  10. Avatar Hohamed Hussein says:

    I have contract from last year with talk talk and I just moved to a new address from a month and since then I am not able to connect with the internet, I call them almost every day, one say they have to send an engineering one say is something from their side what they have to do,when I call again to ask if is fix, they said they will have to send an engineering and of course this person who can come and what the problem can come only in 2 weeks time. I have more then 3 week since I wait for them to fix the problem and nothing yet, I requested to cancel mt contract and they say I will be charged £250.00.
    IT JUST DRIVE ME CRAZY – they even have a very bad attitude when I am paying for a service and they don’t even deliver the service.I spend money on calling them every single day, they keep asking me all the details to just keep me more on the phone, are not helpful with anything and just say sorry , is like it will warm me with something their sorry, they do not want to do anything and I am paying for it.And at the end of every single call they ask me if I am satisfied with the conversation and to give them good feedback. GOOD FEEDBACK???For what?? they don’t do anything

  11. Avatar Mark Douglas says:

    I have recently gone to the Ombudsman. Its past the 8 week point and they have been dreadful.

    I managed to finally get my complaint to the CEO team and i was dealing with James Hall, he promised me a phonecall back in 48-72hours and 2 weeks later… you guessed it!!! Many phonecalls angry emails and voicemails and no response.

    I have never dealt with such poor customer services, their call centres are beyond a joke!. Ill let you know how i get on with the Ombudsman.

  12. Avatar maureen insole says:

    l called TT because l has a problem,the person l spoke to wanted to call me back,how ever l had an appointment so he left me a number l could call him on.When l called back the number had changed,when l called the new number it was a dating agency!!!!!since then l have got 5 different numbers and no one has helped me .TT is an absolute joke……….

  13. Avatar Bart says:

    TalkTalk is a big joke, simply after BT it’s the worst provider in UK. I’ve been there customer as a business and a home user for over 5 years. Couple of months ago I’ve changed my home provider but until now TalkTalk are sending me bills. Recently decided to change my business provider from TalkTalk (rolling contract as never sing up new contract after old expired). New provider advised me I need to speak to TalkTalk and remove fibre from my service before they can overtake the line, however TalkTalk is telling me they can’t remove my fibre as I will have to sign new contract for 18 months without fibre. This simply means TalkTalk for another 18 months. CRAP!!!

  14. Avatar M Engels says:

    I have been with talk talk for 5 years never had any issues- moved home and for the last 8 months have had issues with broadband not working. Intermittent drop out. Customer services are useless- they ignore anything you say and is rude and abusive. I have escalated my complaint to Christina Jack who is apparently a CEO. She refused to listen to my complaint simply said if I am not happy I can cancel the service. She said she would waive to contract costs but that is it. I have been offered compensation by their so called loyalty team only to be told by the CEO that I cannot be compensated for the lack of broadband because it is free with my package. So I pay over £30 per month for a phone package and broadband is not working but because it is apparently free I have to just accept the poor service. Then they still try and invoice me £60 for an engineers visit which actually proved that talk talk service is not working and there are no faults on my line. The cherry on top of all of this is that this Christina Jack says to me that she thinks her offer is fair not to offer compensation for not having had a the privilege to make use of the full service that I have paid for. It’s free so don’t complain about it is clearly the message!

  15. Avatar David Wood says:

    For some time at certain times of the day I am unable to connect to TT because of what I assume is the inabilty of their server to cope with the volume of traffic. Sometimes a box appears wanting my password, but even then connection is not made. Error messages appear and I am now unable to send or receive through Tiscali for the reasons below:
    The message could not be sent because the server rejected the sender’s e-mail address. The sender’s e-mail address was ‘david.wood63@tiscali.co.uk’. Subject ‘Re: Countdown to fete 2 weeks to go……’, Account: ‘POP.tiscali.co.uk’, Server: ‘SMTP.tiscali.co.uk’, Protocol: SMTP, Server Response: ‘530 Authentication required’, Port: 587, Secure(SSL): No, Server Error: 530, Error Number: 0x800CCC78

    There was a problem logging onto your mail server. Your Password was rejected. Account: ‘POP.tiscali.co.uk’, Server: ‘POP.tiscali.co.uk’, Protocol: POP3, Server Response: ‘-ERR [AUTH] invalid user or password’, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Server Error: 0x800CCC90, Error Number: 0x800CCC92

    I have spent several hours talking to customer service with an operator who even after remote help was unable to solve the proble and obviously had to keep refering to a senior technician. No notice was taken of the error messages and I now have to use Google mail as Tiscali webmail is the most un-user friendly system I have come across. I have tried using MS Outlook but this also goes through the Tiscali server. What a nightmare – have given up with using tiscali mail altogether now.

  16. Avatar Jamie says:

    Well lets start…

    i joined talktalk pretty cheap deal at £4.25 + £16.95 land line, was fine for around a week, had a chap from talktalk call me saying he has a great deal for me FIBRE FOR A FIVER he said, TV and HOME PHONE all this at £30 a month brilliant i said lets do it, just after that he said also you get a free SIM CARD WORTH £90 thats it a FREE sim card worth £90 i get a bill of £80 for that i was like wow called them they sorted it, i sent a YOUVIEW box in return like they asked, i got billed for it, now im standing here with a £200+ bill and talk talk dont give a shit!!!! i got miss sold services a mobile sim at £88 havnt used it, and the customer services cannot be arsed to sort it so rude aggressive talk over you make funny noises down the phone ignore and even swear at you ALL I CAN SAY IS KEEP THE FUCK AWAY FROM TALK TALK THEY ARE THE WORST PROVIDER IN THE UK PAY THE EXTRA £10 AND GO WITH SKY OR EVEN VIRGIN BECAUSE YOU WILL REGRET GOING WITH THESE SCAMMERS!!!!

  17. My experience with TalkTalk has been so frustrating that I put together a website to tell the world my story: talktalksucks.org . Enjoy.

  18. Avatar Trake says:

    Hi everyone, it’s comforting to know i’m not alone in experiencing ‘no service’ from Talktalk.I moved house at the end of July,filled out TT’s online house move form.booked 10th Aug as go-live date.Didn’t hear from TT,despite them stating they would send me a pack /instructions in the post.I phoned them on 18th Aug.Still no service.Spent ages on phone to someone i could hardly understand.Soonest they could send engineer was a month+ !!I told them that was unnacceptable.i asked for an address to write to..was told i had to phone a number.Got TTs customer complaints and customer services dept addresses off the internet wrote to both.cancelled my DD to them. Didn’t get reply to my letters.Got letter from TT to say they had disconnected my (non-existent) service.they wiped my email off too.since then ive had 2 letters from them ..1.demanding £300+ for breach of contract 2. demanding £26..for a service that ive already paid £36, and never received!!!!I’ve sent them another letter, explaining my situation.not heard back yet.meanwhile ive signed up with the post office broadband, 2 weeks ago,got pack and letters/modem in post within a week,phoned them to book an engineer,who came round following day (free of charge) and internet working fine! and costs £15/month (less than half of what i was paying TT).

  19. Avatar Tony Virgo says:

    I tried to ring from customer service and was connected with Calcutta and after 40 mins of poor communication and understanding I gave up!

    My question was why does Talk Talk vary its Direct Debit monthly date withdrawal and I did not get a sensible answer.


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