Ofcom Issues New Customer Service Measures for Communications Industry

Better information, easier switching, improved contract terms, and better complaints handling are the main points of focus in the new measures.

Do you feel that you're providing a great service to your customers, or are there elements that can be improved upon?

Ofcom has found that while service levels in the communications industry have become better, customers are still having difficulty, in particular with changing providers and cancelling contracts. And this has led to a dissatisfaction with the customer service provided.

To improve customer satisfaction, the UK regulator has announced new measures with a focus to better protect and empower consumers.

Sharon White, Chief Executive of Ofcom, said: "Improving delivery to consumers doesn't just fall at the feet of the regulator. The delivery of first class communications services is primarily the responsibility of providers."

The four main areas of focus for improvement are:

  • Better information: Making available clear and accurate information in advertising and at point of sale, so that consumers can genuinely compare offers and make effective choices.
  • Easier switching: Ensuring straightforward processes when consumers want to switch, including cancelling services without entanglement - and coordination between providers for a smooth transfer.
  • Improved contract terms: Clear and fair terms with no hidden charges or lock-ins.
  • Better complaints handling: Setting out simple steps when consumers wish to complain or when things go wrong. It means doing everything possible to avoid a dispute in the first place, including the opportunity for consumers to "walk away" when services fall short. It also means clear signposting of alternative dispute resolution services - which are free to use.

If providers break the rules, they risk an investigation from Ofcom and enforcement action.

White explained: "Where markets don't work well enough - or where competition alone isn't enough to secure good outcomes for consumers - then we have powers to intervene."