When choosing a new broadband provider, the first things you’ll probably look at are price, speed and contract length. But one factor that’s often hard to gauge in advance is customer service.
If there is a problem with your broadband connection, or you have a query about your bill, good customer service will mean that your concerns are addressed quickly and efficiently. And your overall experience with your provider will be better as a result.
Essentially, if you're experiencing a problem with your broadband package that you can’t fix yourself, it's probably time to get in touch with your provider’s customer service team.
What is good customer service for broadband?
Customer service includes any point of contact you have with your internet service provider, and it falls on them to help answer your concerns as effectively as possible.
A big part of that is having knowledgeable and personable customer care staff that can answer your questions quickly and in detail. Another is that you should be able to contact them quickly and in your preferred method, whether it's by phone, email or live chat.
Ultimately, the best broadband service is one you can trust and feel comfortable using. If you're able to contact your broadband provider when needed and discuss any concerns or queries, you’re more likely to feel valued as a customer.
How good is my broadband provider’s customer service?
Here are a few things that show what good customer service looks like, and what to consider when judging your own broadband provider’s customer service:
Finding contact details
Are you able to find your provider’s contact details easily? If they’re hidden or hard to find then the whole process of contacting your provider might take longer — and be more stressful — than it should.
See our guide on how to contact your broadband provider to find the quickest ways you can get in touch with the right customer service team.
Call wait times
Telephone is still the most popular way of contacting broadband companies (85% of customer contacts are via telephone, according to Ofcom).
Having to wait an hour on hold just to speak to someone about your latest bill would hardly qualify as good customer service. Some customer service teams now offer a 'call back' service, where you can hang up and receive a call back later on from the team once it's reached your turn in the queue.
If you still prefer to use your landline, you can see deals from some of the most popular broadband and phone providers on Uswitch.com.
Getting through to the right team
Is it easy to get connected with the right department? Are there endless, confusing options to get through before you even get to speak to someone? And is that the right person to deal with your query?
This can process sometimes be easier with smaller broadband providers.
How well is your complaint handled once you get through to someone? Was the customer service representative knowledgeable and understanding? Did they actually help to ease or resolve your issue?
Politeness of customer service staff
This is an obvious one. If the customer service staff appear rude, you wouldn’t exactly call that a good service, would you?
Were you able to actually get your problem resolved? If the customer service team isn't able to help you directly, do they swiftly arrange the support you need from another department?
For example, if an engineer visit needs to be arranged, the customer service representative should be able to arrange that directly, without keeping you on hold for a long time or asking you to call another department.
If you're unhappy with your provider’s customer service, why not see if you could get a better broadband deal elsewhere.
Ofcom broadband complaints report
Ofcom, the telecoms industry regulator, releases a quarterly report highlighting the broadband providers that received the most (and fewest) complaints per 100,000 customers.
This is one of the best measures of the most reliable broadband providers in the UK. It names and shames providers that received the most complaints over the previous few months and highlights those with the most customer satisfaction that had the fewest customer complaints, too.
What issues get the most complaints?
While the number of complaints per provider changes with each report, there are often similar trends in the top causes for those complaints.
Most recently, the majority of customer complaints were typically for complaints handling, fault, service, and provisioning issues, and billing, pricing, and charging issues.
Broadband complaints report, November 2021
The most recent Ofcom complaints report looked at complaints received as the UK's lockdown restrictions were eased and people started returning to work. As the public started to experience a little more freedom, dependency on broadband relaxed ever-so-slightly.
The affect of this can be seen as complaints returned to pre-pandemic levels in many cases, as providers were now better equipped to handle complaints and send engineers to fix outages.
Virgin Media saw one of the biggest drops in complaints, which is great news for its customers. However, it did still rank at the bottom of the major providers for complaints about pay-TV, and second-worst for broadband after TalkTalk.
You can see more details about the latest Ofcom complaints data here.
If you’re unhappy with your broadband provider’s customer service and want to shop around for better deals, try the Uswitch Postcode Checker to see the speeds you have available directly to your home.