Online services have become an increasingly crucial part of our lives, especially during the past few turbulent months. Quadient wanted to explore how consumers view the experience they are receiving from their providers, and just how important their broadband connection is to them – which is why we developed "Is Telecoms Customer Experience Fit for Purpose in the Time of Covid-19?,” a research report based on a survey of 2,000 UK consumers, designed to investigate whether broadband providers are meeting consumers’ demands.

To begin with, broadband is certainly crucial – when asked which essential service was the most important to them, more than half (51%) of consumers identified broadband, ranking higher than banking (20%) and council services (10%), and even gas supply (36%). This importance has been even more pronounced since the UK went into lockdown in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now a broadband connection is the only way for many of us to socialise, check on our loved ones, work and learn. Almost two thirds (61%) of us have been using online services more during COVID-19 lockdown, with broadband connections used for an average of five hours every day. Against this background, being able to provide a consistent service – and give customers the experience they demand – is vital.

While broadband providers cannot prevent every outage, fixing problems quickly has been more crucial than ever during this period, with a third (33%) of consumers saying this is more important than the range of services offered (6%) or how quick they are to install (19%). While consumers have been somewhat more forgiving of outages during a period of national emergency, they will still assume – and appreciate – they will be kept informed by their broadband provider, ideally over the right channel, at the right time, with the right message. However, there seems to be a disconnect between what users expect and the service they receive. This is surprising when you consider that customer retention and high-quality service should be front of mind for broadband providers in a turbulent time, especially against the backdrop of a crowded market.

Switch or be switched

Overall, a quarter of respondents (25%) said the quality of customer service from broadband providers is below what is advertised. As Ofcom continues to make it easier for consumers to switch provider if they’re unhappy with the service they’re receiving, improving customer service should be a priority. After all, almost half of our respondents (42%) have switched broadband provider in the last year or want to, with two-thirds (67%) confident it would be easy for them to do so.

The key to avoiding losing customers is focusing on making the customer experience more personalized and agile, as well as ensuring problems are resolved quickly. Partly this means taking advantage of technological short-cuts. For example, two-thirds of consumers (67%) would be open to using self-service tools to find an answer or solution to their problem quicker, but supply simply isn’t meeting demand – one in ten (11%) broadband customers want self-service tools but are not currently being offered them. Ultimately, it comes down to really knowing what the customer wants and needs from you and delivering that as quickly and efficiently as possible, through their preferred communication channel.

As all industries face uncertainty after the COVID-19 crisis, connecting with customers has never been so important for broadband providers. Being able to communicate key information and fix problems quickly is going to be a critical factor in retaining customers, as well as securing new ones, as it becomes increasingly easy to switch providers. One way to help ensure this is by using an omnichannel customer experience platform. This will support proactive and reactive omnichannel customer communications, and unify the channels, data and content an organisation needs in a single hub so that they are communicating quickly, consistently and accurately with customers; whether by phone, SMS or other channels.

To learn more, download the full report here: or if you’d like to speak to one of our team, contact us here.

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