I think it’s safe to say that connection to all our mobile devices is a staple of life that has never been more important than in the past year. With it being the way to keep in touch regularly with our colleagues and loved ones,
As always at Resolver we’re keen to keep interrogating our data to highlight the main issues consumers are facing – and how providers and organisations are dealing with their customers. We keep our eye on where complaints are increasing, why, and how they are being resolved.
But we are also keen to get behind the experiences customers have with their providers – both to showcase those that are top of their class compared to their competitors, and those that clearly need to up their game. So I was curious to see exactly how the landscape fared for the mobile phone provider sector throughout 2020 – and the customers that are using these providers to stay connected.
The picture of complaints
On the whole complaints month by month last year remained reasonably stable – and across the year were down by more than half compared to 2019. This may have something to do with customers showing some restraint as we all grappled with patience and tolerance during what was an unprecedented situation last year. But with reports that on the whole mobile providers managed to maintain connection despite increased usage, and measures introduced later in 2019 that have made it easier for consumers to switch contracts and providers, the sector has fared reasonably well compared to other industries.
Transaction and payment issues accounted for more than a fifth of 2020’s mobile complaints – while in a development uncommon to other sectors last year, refund issues made less than a tenth. There were commonly complaints about customer service throughout the year, but these dropped from a peak in February with only marginal rises later on.
It’s perhaps not a surprise that our measures for satisfaction and ease of complaining dipped sharply in March 2020, but there was a steady rise towards the summer. What was clear however is that the time it took for these providers to respond to complaints – and subsequently resolve them, saw spikes corresponding to both major lockdown periods of 2020. This curiously also occurred in July as we saw the main easing of restrictions – perhaps because those trickier complaints that were held off at the start of the year became more prolific.
What stood out for issue resolution and service?
With this in mind, it’s interesting to see that those mobile providers that fly high according to their customers have commonly scored highly for their resolution rates. Meanwhile, while satisfaction was an important indicator for the majority of those that are higher up our rankings, virtually all of those at the top of ranks received high relative scores for the ease of which customers found it to complain.
The reason I stress this is because companies making it harder to complain – or indeed impossible in some cases – has been a bugbear of consumers (and Resolver) throughout the pandemic. As I’ve always said, we understood that companies needed to adapt to life in lockdown and that customer service provision could therefore be delayed and difficult, but as we all learned to come to terms with a new normal, there is no excuse for those organisations to continue to stonewall consumers.
The obvious question is which mobile phone providers have made the grade – according to their customers? Our analysis shows both established brands and newer market entrants can top our rankings – while one managed to offer top of the class issue resolution or service whether it was their pay as you go or monthly contract offerings.
Look out next week for our big reveal of the top (and bottom) mobile providers throughout 2020 to see which companies are standing out for putting things right when they go wrong.