Telco customers "waiting too long" for customer service calls to be answered: ACMA

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Telco customers "waiting too long" for customer service calls to be answered: ACMA

Telco customers are “waiting too long” for customer service calls to be answered, with many abandoning calls before they can speak to someone about their issues, data from the Australian Communications and Media Authority revealed.

The authority released its latest report on the customer service performance of five major Australian telcos for 2017–18, with information on issues including the time taken to resolve customer enquiries, and how often enquiries were resolved on first contact.

ACMA did not reveal the names of the telcos that it monitored for the period.

The report also revealed that the average amount of time consumers waited to speak to their telco ranged from 51 seconds to more than 4 minutes, while between 60 percent and 86 percent of enquiries were resolved on first contact. Average call abandonment rates ranged from 4.9 percent to 15.3 percent.

“We’re shining a light on how the big telcos deal with customer enquiries,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“It is clear some consumers are waiting too long for their calls to be answered. In fact, some consumers are abandoning their calls before they can speak to anyone about their issues. And those who do get through don’t always have their issue resolved at first contact.”

Enquiries received by phone fell from quarter to quarter, while webchat inquiries increased each quarter.

Phone enquiries accounted for 82.3 percent in the quarter ending September 2017, with webchat accounting for 13.1 percent. In the quarter ending June 2018, enquiries by phone decreased to 77.6 percent while webchat increased to 17.4 percent.

“We consider telcos can be doing more to give their customers a consistently good customer service experience,” O’Loughlin said.

“The data indicates telcos have different priorities — some have a high rate of first contact resolution but at the same time have relatively long call wait times.”

As part of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code, telcos are required to ensure customer service enquiries are dealt with in a timely and effective manner. This includes keeping average wait times to a minimum and aiming to resolve customer service enquiries at the first contact.

The latest report is its first time to receive customer service performance data about call waiting times and abandonment rates. The data is part of the suite of data the ACMA collects to monitor the telco consumer experience.

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