According to the report, the average initial time that a caller had to wait when contacting a telco by phone varied by telco over the course of the year, from 44 seconds in the September 2017 quarter for Telcos A, B and C, to over six minutes in the March 2018 quarter for Telco E.
Telstra, Singtel Optus, Vodafone, TPG and Vocus are Australia's five largest telcos, but the identity of the individual telcos is not disclosed by the ACMA which gave statutory notices to the five selected telcos to obtain the performance data.
The ACMA is not permitted to publicly disclose the information collected under notice without permission from the company in question – so the information provided by the telcos is anonymous.
- The five telcos received more than 88 million enquiries from customers;
- The average amount of time consumers waited to speak to their telco ranged from 51 seconds to more than 4 minutes;
- Depending on the telco, between 60% and 86% of enquiries were resolved on first contact;
- Enquiries received by phone fell from quarter to quarter, while webchat enquiries increased. just over 70% of customer enquiries were resolved on first contact; and
- Call abandonment rates ranged from 4.9% to 15.3%.
Under the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code, telcos are required to ensure customer service enquiries are dealt with in a timely and effective manner, and this includes keeping average wait times to a minimum and aiming to resolve customer service inquiries at the first contact.
The ACMA says the selected telcos have different strategies to respond to customer service inquiries, which may have an impact on individual results and may not allow for direct comparisons.
“For example, a strategy focusing on resolving inquiries at the first contact may impact on wait time. The individual results assist in understanding the varied experiences of customers when making a customer service inquiry,” the ACMA notes.
The ACMA says picking up the phone was the most common way for consumers to make contact with the selected telcos, followed by web chat, which increased in use over the 12 months to the June 2018 quarter, while email and social media were the least utilised channels.
Graphics: courtesy ACMA