The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman released its latest Complaints In Context report yesterday, and while the continuing trend sees overall complaints dropping further, the news is better for some telcos than others. Telstra, continuing a steady trend of decreasing complaints, saw complaints drop from 7.1 in every 10,000 to 6. Vodafone has dropped all the way down from 19.3 to 6.3, while Optus has seen a rise from 5.4 to 8.5 complaints in every 10,000 services in operation.
Overall the results are encouraging, showing a 10.5 per cent drop in total complaints on the previous year, with the number of complaints lower than it has been in 18 months. Vodafone has seen the most dramatic decrease in complaints, with its rate declining for the fifth successive quarter — and even performing better than the average for all participants in the program. "It’s very pleasing to see our customers are even happier with their Vodafone experience, with the ratio of complaints in the April quarter less than one third of that just 18 months before," says Vodafone Australia's Director of Customer Service, Errol van Graan. "We attribute this result to our continued investment in our strong network and customer service operations, our award-winning bill shock initiatives and more simplified products."
Telstra also saw a decrease in complaints — although more modest than Vodafone's drop, it now sits at the lowest ratio out of the top three telcos. Overall complaints to the TIO about Telstra decreased by more than 2500 in 2015, despite Telstra adding more than 850,000 new services. The ratio in the report sits at just six complaints per 10,000 services — "It’s still six complaints too many," says Telstra's Director of Cross Company Complaints, Steve Bannigan in a response to the report posted to a blog on Telstra Exchange. "So we know we still have a long way to go, but we’re encouraged that we’re heading in the right direction."
Optus was the only one of the major telcos reporting a rise in complaints in this period, which an Optus spokesperson attributed to a number of factors including: a rise in mobile data usage on the 4G network, fixed network performance difficulties and bad weather conditions causing Mass Service Disruptions across the country. Optus isn't dragging its feet on the poor result, however. "In response to the rise in complaints, Optus has implemented a number of initiatives to help both mobile and fixed customers," a spokesperson said, with these including faster delivery of usage alerts, enhanced front-line education and additional field technicians. These initiatives seem to have been working, with Optus reporting that complaints have already been decreasing from July to September, for which period a TIO report has not yet been released.