Posted by Kerry White on 4th April 2014.

According to communications watchdog Ofcom, BT was the most complained about broadband service in the last three months of 2013 and it was also berated for receiving the most complaints about its pay-TV service, mostly relating to faults and billing problems.

I decided to switch to BT when I moved house last year and chose them not only because of their price (although there’s not much difference between the four main providers) but for also believing in BT as an iconic British organisation who has grown from its humble beginnings as The Electric Telegraph Company back in 1846.

So, have I been happy with the service I’ve received from BT? No. Did I complain to BT about their service in the last quarter of 2013? Yes I did and quite a few times about technical issues and billing problems.

BT has always been very good with it’s marketing and winning new business; who can forget Beattie Bellman and her “You got an Ology” in the 80’s and Kris Marshall and Esther Hall who played couple Adam and Jane for a whopping 7 years until 2011. But have BT lost their way in how to treat their customers once they’ve signed up? In response to receiving the wooden spoon accolade, Libby Barr, Managing Director of BT Customer Service stated “BT is the fastest-growing business by far in the UK for both pay TV and broadband, and as we process more transactions we have unfortunately suffered more disruption than companies with static or declining customer bases.”

But how does Customer Satisfaction at BT compare to the other big 4 providers? In a 2013 Ofcom survey, they were also last, with customers rating their satisfaction at 61% compared to top company Virgin Media on 74%. In a Which? survey conducted in April 2013, BT was 7th on the list for ‘cheapest broadband providers’ but given a 46% customer score. At the top of the leader board was Zen Internet scoring 85% for their customer service.

So how does a growing business create great customer service and satisfaction levels to retain and attract business? The obvious things that come to my mind are: their ability to deliver on promises; their capability to deliver; and their action feedback or complaints. Feedback is free and can be used to streamline processes or find training and development gaps in the business. It’s crucial for ongoing business improvements.

With the customer at the center of service and delivery processes you are guaranteed a positive customer experience but when things go wrong, the people working in your business need to be empowered to help the customer. It’s no secret that large companies are notoriously inflexible in their processes which is perhaps the biggest challenge BT face moving forward.

Kerry White is a Senior Consultant in our Manchester office and is still trying to decide whether to stay with BT or not….better the devil you know?