Complaints data market averages

UK industry stats show that the number of customers complaining to the regulator, Ofcom, continues to decline.

An analysis of complaints data provided by Ofcom shows that prepaid customer complaint levels are roughly static and very low. They average 1 per 100,000 customers per quarter. Rates for postpaid customers are always higher but in decline on average. In mid 2011, the average for the quarter was 13 per 100,000 customers, but this had fallen to 6 per 100,000  by Q1 2017.

The effect has been a drop in the long term average. The average number of complaints over the 24 quarter period studied was 10.2 per 100,000. However if we just analyse the last 8 quarters (ie 2 years), then the average was 7.4 per 100,000 customers.

The cause of complaints was significant. Ofcom noted that it is overridingly billing, pricing, complaint and fault resolution processes that were complained about, rather than network quality.

Please note when interpreting these figures:

  • the figures should be seen as an index – the unit is number of complaints per 100,000 customers
  • Ofcom fields about 70,000 complaints per year. A customer usually complains to Ofcom because either they believe the problem is egregious or because there are problems resolving it. This is not a simple measure of problems (since¬† most problems are mopped up by internal teams), but rather a measure of how well the operator addresses problems. Some operators may have the policy of appeasing the customer even if they don’t strictly need to, simply because of their customer-centric stance or because the cost of fighting the complaint is too costly
  • the data shows improvements over time
  • the data shows a norm for the UK market to help you judge your performance.

Tesco Mobile beats all UK MNOs when it comes to complaints