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Sky and Virgin Media Beat BT and TalkTalk for Brand Experience

Saturday, September 10th, 2016 (1:18 am) - Score 1,626

A new consumer survey of brand experience in the United Kingdom’s telecoms sector has found that Sky (Sky Broadband) and Virgin Media both ranked at or above the sector average (80+ out of 140), while TalkTalk and BT were found languishing at the bottom.

Apparently the survey, which was conducted by design agency Rufus Leonard with a sample of 2,018 respondents (said to be “nationally representative of the UK population“), screened all those involved to ensure they had recent experience (last 6 months) of each brand in the survey. Sadly it’s unclear what this screening process involved or how they quantified “recent experience“.

The agency then selected 10 brands for the telecoms sector, five established brands and five “challenger brands“, based on longevity and revenue. At this point the respondents were asked to measure five facets of experience that consumers have when interacting with a brand (i.e. ‘sense’, ‘feel’, ‘think’, ‘do’ and ‘connect’) to compare how well brands are engaging them.

We assume all this made more sense and was better explained to those being surveyed than it does to us, although we do understand the measure of ‘think‘ and ‘feel‘ quite well.. oh yes. Some ISPs really do make you think unhealthy thoughts and that can cause a person feel very angry and frustrated. Is that about right? Hmm.

Anyway, the agency then used all this research to track the “impact of a brand’s experience on customer loyalty, on why people choose and remain with brands“, which apparently involved questions about future purchase preferences and the likelihood to recommend. Somehow all of this resulted in a score..


The study suggests, perhaps rather obviously, that the bigger and most well established brands are probably suffering due to “issues around customer service” (i.e. polite words for having a large number of unhappy customers) and that the way to solve this is by “clearly communicating brand purpose and making experiences more tangible” (i.e. try to correct the service problems and then tell everybody that you’re actually really good now and not at all rubbish anymore, honest).

Laurence Parkes, Chief Strategy Officer at Rufus Leonard, said:

“Our findings are consistent with an industry that still prioritises acquisition at the expense of retention, resulting in a lack of investment in clear brand purposes and their corresponding brand experiences. This lack of differentiation across the category is a real challenge for these brands, and it’s damaging their retention efforts.”


Leave a Comment
11 Responses
  1. Avatar TheFacts

    Having been part of a survey where the question was ‘how happy were you yesterday?’ I doubt if anyone in this cared about what answer they gave and guessed a number.

    • Avatar keith

      Yep and all the BT customers “guessed” a low number and the Sky and Virgin ones guessed a high number what a shock. Then again maybe not.

    • Avatar sentup.custard

      As one who actually took part in this survey, while the T&C prevent me from quoting actual examples of questions, I can say that Mark’s statement that “We assume all this made more sense and was better explained to those being surveyed than it does to us” is a little on the optimistic side and, yes, while I did *try* to answer honestly, some of it was completed on the “Oh, sod it, I don’t understand what they’re getting at here – I’m happy enough with Three so just go for something positive looking” basis.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      @sentup – are you on a (paid) panel to have to sign up to T&Cs? The last time I got involved in a survey it’s a guess of +/- 2 as to what to say to each question and after the 5th you get bored because there is no benefit in answering.

  2. Avatar dragoneast

    Does a design agency give refunds?

  3. Avatar Bob2002

    BT customer service is(was?) dismal, when I signed up with them last year I remember thinking this is the worst customer service I’ve experienced from an ISP in 20 years online. Very long waiting times to get through to anyone – 15 minutes minimum(if you’re lucky) in my experience, followed by foreign customer service who won’t be able to solve anything other than basic problems and sometimes won’t understand the problem(if they find you at all irritating in chat or on the phone you may well be “magically” cut off – another minimum 15 minute wait to talk to someone).

    You can attempt to circumvent this experience by going through BTCare on Twitter, for UK support, but it shouldn’t be necessary. Apparently BT are moving a lot of customer service back to the UK but I’m not convinced they are an ISP that actually cares about decent customer service.

    As they are the biggest ISP you’d think their reputation for bad customer service would kill their business but it seems the general public buy BT products simply because they are a recognised brand and just accept their customer service in the way hostages exhibit the Stockholm syndrome.

    I was free to move to BT a month ago and they were offering a fantastic cashback and voucher deal – when push came to shove I couldn’t do it because of my customer service experience and went to Sky(NOW TV).

  4. Avatar TheFacts

    They say ‘Every 10 BXi points gives a brand double-digit growth in future preference, loyalty and advocacy (NPS).’

  5. Avatar Dumb argument

    “The study suggests, perhaps rather obviously, that the bigger and most well established brands are probably suffering due to “issues around customer service………”

    The rest of that last paragraph is pure genius and sounds awfully familiar. I wonder which ISPs you could possibly mean. Has their “customer service” made it all the way to this site 😀

  6. Avatar TheFacts

    The maximum is 140, not 100, and the minimum is 20. Redrawing the graph will show a reduced difference between brands.

    Would be good to know what the actual questions were.

  7. Avatar keith

    No it wont…

    EE, Talk Talk and BT still the worst and bottom 3 telecoms even with the score out of 140.

    Mark Jackson has his chart right with all the above scoring the exact same as in the link i provide above and exact same in the PDF you can download from…
    (see bottom of that page)

    Page 16 of the download PDF will also confirm he has the scores correct and there is no rewriting,redrawing or re-manipulating from BT needed.

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