Why Mobile Networks Suck at Customer Service 🤷🏼‍♂️


January 20, 2020

Written By

When you buy the latest iPhone handset, you’re making a serious purchase.

Often, that new smartphone is an indispensable work tool, or a piece of hardware that makes your life easier.

Given how important that phone is to you – and the significant investment you’ve made in it – you’d expect the seller of said device to be on hand to assist with any issues that you may have.

Great customer service is the cornerstone of any great business. And yet, the major mobile networks have a terrible track record when it comes to customer satisfaction. As Choose notes, “most mobile operators have received fines from Ofcom for poor customer service at one time or another.”

That poor track record is reflected in their Trustpilot scores. Of the four major networks, two are rated a dismal 1.5 out of 5. Another scores a slightly better – but still ropey – 2 out of 5. Three is the only provider that scrapes a passable score with – appropriately enough – 3 out of a possible 5 points. Even then, 3 out of five doesn’t scream “customer service kings” to us. It screams bare minimum.   

What are these companies getting so wrong about customer service? If customer satisfaction is so low, why aren’t they doing more about it? And how, in spite of such low scores, do they manage to dominate the industry? Let’s take a look.

What makes bad customer service? 👎🏼

In most cases, bad customer service is a business killer. And the statistics show it. According to Youstice, 89% of consumers stop doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. A dissatisfied customer, meanwhile, will tell 9-15 people about their bad experience, compared to happy customers that get their issue resolved, who tell about 4-6 people about their experience.

They continue that bad customer service which takes the form of things like employees who don’t have the tools to solve problems, hard-to-reach customer service, lack of listening and comprehension skills and a long waiting time for responses.

Sounds familiar? We’re guessing that tallies with experience you’ve had with your mobile network at one time or another. That’s certainly what people are saying in their Trustpilot reviews.

The four major networks have fallen at the first hurdle of customer satisfaction. So why aren’t they on their arses right now?

Limited choice means bad customer service 🚫

To put it bluntly, the four major networks don’t have to step up because, when it comes to customer service, they’re all bad as each other. 

The big four have an oligopoly on the UK phone industry; according to Statista, they control 87% of the UK telecom market. What that means is that if you’re unhappy with the customer service you receive from your network, you’ve got nowhere else to go. No one is offering you a better experience, so why bother switching? 

It’s a huge problem in the phone industry right now, and one that the experts have spoken out against. Back in 2017 Which? managing director of home products and services Alex Neill called on the government and Ofcom to “listen to the concerns of mobile phone customers so that there is increased competition in the industry which will lead to a better experience for customers.”

A more level playing field? 🥅

We’ve lived with the sorry state of mobile network customer service for decades now, but thankfully, the tide is starting to turn. In the past few years, we’ve seen the rise of smaller mobile networks that are taking on the big dogs in terms of pricing and after-sales service.

In a 2018 survey, Money Saving Expert found that “smaller and cheaper mobile providers [came] out on top for both customer service and network coverage,” with the likes of Giffgaff and Plusnet hammering the big four when it came to customer satisfaction. 

It’s a promising sign, even if it isn’t likely to break the big four’s oligopoly any time soon. The major networks still control mobile signal and the smaller networks have to buy space – or “piggyback” – from them, meaning that the larger companies still profit from their success. 

Then, of course, there are those companies whose business model disrupts the traditional system altogether. That’s where Raylo comes in.   

The Raylo Way ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

At Raylo, we don’t play the networks’ game. Our phone subscription service gets you the latest iPhone devices from £25.99 a month, freeing you to get the best SIM-only deal for you from a network provider. 

More than that, though, we provide customer service that serves the customer. Our UK-based call centres are staffed with a team that actually know their s—t and genuinely want to help you with any queries you have. That’s the way we like it, because it makes us a dependable business. 

To see what we’re talking about, you can check out our Trustpilot page. We’re proud of our 4.9 out of 5 score and our 98% “excellent” rating. It means we’re doing right by you, which is, y’know, the thing that a good business is supposed to do.