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Ofcom to Only Conduct UK Customer Service Surveys Every 2 Years

Thursday, Jun 15th, 2023 (11:12 am) - Score 744
complaints ofcom report isp broadband tv phone mobile

Earlier this month the UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, proposed to stop publishing its annual summary of fixed home broadband ISP speeds (here). But they’ve today followed that by proposing to also reduce the frequency of their Comparing Customer Service (CCS) tracker surveys to every other year.

Ofcom currently runs a number of regular, recurring tracker surveys – usually once a year or more often – to provide them with time-series data about consumers’ behaviour and attitudes in relation to communications devices and services (i.e. broadband, mobile, phone and TV). The tracker surveys feed in to a wide variety of Ofcom’s publications and projects.

However, the regulator is now proposing to change this so that it would occur every two years, which is said to be because “there is relatively little movement in the metrics that these trackers measure from year to year.”

Notification of proposed change to Ofcom’s CCS trackers for 2023

The three Comparing Customer Service (CCS) trackers – the Customer Satisfaction Tracker, the Reason to Complain Tracker and the Complaints Handling Tracker – provide Ofcom with data about customer satisfaction levels and satisfaction with complaints handling processes across the residential landline, mobile, fixed broadband and pay-TV services, and how these compare by provider and over time.

We are proposing to reduce the frequency of the three CCS tracker surveys to every other year. Having conducted fieldwork for the surveys in 2022, we would move to biennial waves of fieldwork from 2024.

Confirmed changes to Ofcom’s Switching Tracker 2023

We are confirming the change to the frequency of Ofcom’s Switching Tracker, which will now be conducted biennially and will next run in 2025.

The Switching Tracker is Ofcom’s key data source on switching levels, attitudes, and experiences across the communications markets (fixed landline, mobile, fixed broadband and multi-channel/pay TV). Since 2010, Ofcom has run this tracking study annually among UK adults to measure participation levels, switching rates and the ease of switching in each market.

In other words, reports like Ofcom’s annual comparison of broadband, phone and mobile service quality (here) will now only be published every couple of years. We tend to view such reports as being useful for keeping tabs on how the biggest ISPs are performing, not least by naming and shaming those that fall short in certain areas and highlighting those that have improved. As a result, this appears to be a disappointing change by the regulator.

Not to mention that the market is currently going through some big changes that impact consumers, such as the rollout of full fibre networks from multiple operators (some of which may not go the distance), the delayed launch of a new broadband migration system and the switch from copper to digital phone services. Suffice to say that now may not be the best time for Ofcom to be considering scaling back their consumer survey work.

On the other hand, the regulator is about to take on the mammoth task of effectively having to regulate UK internet content via the Online Safety Bill (OSB), which is probably putting a strain on their resources and this may be one way to balance against that. Ofcom is asking for feedback on this change until 9am on 27th July 2023.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
8 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

    If Ofcom actually did something about the findings of their research and held the poor performers to account, then the survey would show change.

    So in summary, Ofcom’s survey shows no change across time in customer service because Ofcom themselves are ineffectual, so Ofcom are going to only do the work every two years because that less embarrassing for them.

    1. Avatar photo ASM says:

      Just like OFGEM…highly ineffective and lacking in teeth when it comes to protecting the interests of consumers!

  2. Avatar photo Vince says:

    Might as well not bother at all then really.

    1. Avatar photo Jammie says:

      My thought exactly!

  3. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

    I don’t know why they bother either. I’ve mentioned (ranted) on these pages before about how inaccurate the OFCOM mobile coverage maps are. You tell OFCOM and just get a ‘this data is based on the information provided by the service providers and may not be 100% accurate’. Why even bother then? What value does it give? Its all just box ticking to make it look like OFCOM does something useful. I’d rather they put effort into improving things than putting out incorrect statistics.

    1. Avatar photo Jammie says:

      Yeah it is strange to do this. I wonder what there hiding?

  4. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

    Like everything OFCOM does, it only happens so they can skew the data to suit their own or the governments purposes. So totally pointless.

  5. Avatar photo Iain says:

    All the bodies ofcom/ofgen etc are all for show and front.

    Complete waste of resources.

    These people do not have any powers otherwise they would be forcing policies not allowing people to opt in and why do they not even listen to the public o wait that is because they are a puppet to the industry.

    Its very simple every network should offer compensation when issues happen and force them to offer multi contract types also lock pricing (being allowed to use cpi name for price increase is a disgrace)

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