The broadband providers staying connected to resolving complaints

7 min read
December 10, 2021

Resolver reveals the top and bottom broadband providers for putting things right

Our lives have – regardless of the events of the past two years – become more accustomed to digital interactions for the day to day. From online shopping, working from home or carrying out essential transactions online such as banking to paying bills, we’re undoubtedly relying on a quality broadband in many more aspects of our lives.

While some may have been pleasantly surprised with how their broadband provision has held up over lockdowns and beyond, others have been less lucky. Across almost 17,000 closed cases through Resolver to broadband providers in the year to 30 September 2021, service issues accounted for more than one third of the total month on month. 

The quality of service was a notable feature in these complaints – with speed and connection being consistent issues people had. Among these complaints were tales of consistently slow speeds – even regular service dropouts – and customers making the move to upgrade to a ‘better’ service only to find that their speed and connection were worse than before they switched.

Broadband complaints: relying on getting things put right

If our broadband service is not up to scratch, it can not only be a source of immense frustration, but can also prove potentially detrimental. With continuous advertising around ‘special deals’ and ‘faster, more reliable connections’, it can be easy to be blinded as to which provider to go for.  

‘Across almost 17,000 cases to broadband providers, service issues accounted for more than one third of the total’

Through the analysis of our complaints data, Resolver can help. We’ve researched customer feedback from more than 2,300 closed cases in the year to September 2021 across nine of the country’s broadband suppliers. 

Our table showing where these companies rank – relative to each other – will help you work out which ones are top of the pile for resolving issues and the service they provide to do so. Take a look to see who hits our ranks for staying connected to putting things right for customers when they go wrong.

The top current account providers for putting things right

BT and EE top our table of broadband providers compared against all those we analysed. Both achieved overall Resolver Ratings of five stars out of five, but also got the top marks according to their customers for how easy it was to contact them, satisfaction with how their complaint was handled and likelihood of customers to recommend these providers. EE slightly overtook stablemate BT for customer ratings of initial response time, but BT edged ahead for its resolution rate across closed cases.

Meanwhile Shell Energy makes up our podium as third in our table with a Resolver Rating of four stars. Shell saw a solid four or five star rating across most of our measures, including being easy to contact, initial response times and its resolution rates for closed cases, but was let down slightly with a two star rating for its average resolution time. 

Broadband suppliers – strengths and weaknesses

Though still within the top five, Onestream and TalkTalk rated noticeably lower than those above them for some of our performance metrics, with an overall score of three out of five. 

Both providers achieved five stars out of five for resolution times compared to others in our analysis – the only ones in our table to do so. However, Onestream scored just two stars out of five for satisfaction and one star for advocacy, and TalkTalk’s ratings for the ease of making contact and its resolution rates stand at two stars out of five.

Across the rest of the broadband providers lower down our table, not one achieved more than two stars out of five for response times, compared to those who made our top five. The bottom four had at least two single star (out of five) ratings across our performance measures, including Sky for satisfaction and Vodafone for resolution time. At the very bottom of the table, Origin Broadband and Now TV saw one and two star ratings across virtually all of the seven measures we used to assess complaints handling performance.

Advocacy Score
Shell Energy
Origin Broadband
Now TV

The Resolver Rating is made up of the relative performance rankings for companies across seven metrics. The end scores are a representation of relative performance versus other companies in the table above – in relation to the top score for each metric.

Complaints handling by broadband providers

Satisfaction levels for how complaints were handled by broadband providers held consistently for most of the year to September 2021, though it must be pointed out that on average these were never particularly high and across all broadband providers never topped five out of 10 over the 12 months. The same applies to average ease scores and those of advocacy. So despite those at the top of our table noticeably outperforming those lower down when compared against each other, there is room for improvement across all broadband service providers.

We saw a similar, but more apparent trend in the resolution rate of cases over the year – with an average of more than 80% of cases resolved across all providers in November 2020 dipping to 70% by the end of September this year. 

Resolver anticipates quality issues such as speed and connection to remain high in terms of the proportion of complaints providers will receive, but we hope to see an increase in satisfaction and the ease of contact in terms of how these complaints are handled as the year progresses. However, with numerous reports over the past few months about consumers struggling to keep up with broadband bills, it remains to be seen whether this will become a bigger feature in the cases raised to providers – and how providers respond to these plights. 

What’s your view on broadband customer service?

Here we have highlighted those that top performance in complaint handling, but we’re also keen to hear your experience of overall customer service with your broadband provider. We’d be grateful if you could take our short survey to give us your thoughts [links] and while we will be publishing results in future content, all responses will remain anonymous. 

Take our survey on your experience with your broadband provider

Our research

Our metric star ratings and the overall Resolver Rating are drawn from the feedback of Resolver users, along with measures used to assess response and resolution times. But every bit of feedback has a story behind it and our data scientists analyse all the information in detail.

Every Resolver user is asked how satisfied they are with a company when a case is closed. Resolver requires a minimum of 30 customer feedback responses for a company for it to be included in our analysis. The Resolver Rating is made up of seven different measures of complaints resolution and service, those that according to our research are important to customers, which each individually assess how a company ranks relative to all other companies in the sector that are represented in our analysis.  To get five stars for one of our measurements, a company has to score within the top 20% relative to the rest of the companies in our analysis.

Here’s our rundown of the seven measurements we use to calculate our Resolver Rating for issue resolution and service:

  • Response Time: the time between complaint submission and the first email response from the company.
  • Resolution Time: the time between complaint submission and the final email response from the company.
  • Resolution Rate: the percentage of cases resolved where consumers have also provided feedback on closed cases.
  • Feeling Change: the change in a customer’s sentiment from the beginning to end of a case.
  • Ease: customer feedback on how easy it was to complain to the company.
  • Satisfaction: how satisfied the customer is with how the company has dealt with the complaint.
  • Consumer Advocacy Score (CAS): how likely the customer is to recommend a company.

You may be wondering why you’re not seeing your broadband provider in our table. A number of providers are not featured in this article because they either do not respond to complaints raised through Resolver or because there were fewer than 30 customer feedback responses meaning they couldn’t be included in our analysis. These include John Lewis Broadband, O2, Post Office and Virgin Media.

Resolver Recognised: Broadband providers

Three broadband providers mentioned in this feature qualify to be Resolver Recognised. Resolver Recognised is our scheme to help consumers find and choose companies that perform the best at putting things right when they go wrong, according to their own customers. EE, BT and Shell Energy all qualify for Resolver Recognised status.

Only those identified by their customers as truly proving time and again that they put things right with the service they should expect can become Resolver Recognised. 

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