Phone giants lag behind on customer serviceSmaller phone companies beat BT and NTL

07 September 2006

A close-up of a telephone cord a man is using to make a call.

Phone giants and NTL lag behind smaller telephone companies when it comes to customer service, Which? reveals today.

In a survey of more than 5,400 Which? members, just 23 per cent of BT’s customers and 20 per cent of NTL’s said they were very satisfied with the overall level of service they received.

For BT, this is an even worse result than last year. And there’s more bad news - customers said BT’s bills were the most difficult to understand.

In contrast, at least 60 per cent of those in the survey were very satisfied with the service provided by 18185.co.uk, Call 1899.com, Phone Co-op, Saga and Utility Warehouse.  

Better deals

Which? Editor Neil Fowler said: ‘Our survey results are bad news for established providers such as BT and NTL. People have more options than ever when choosing a home phone and, if they're not happy with the service, it’s easy to leave and find a better deal.

‘With smaller companies and supermarkets overtaking traditional providers, they're in danger of being knocked off their perch if they don't start treating their customers better.’

The Which? survey examined how satisfied customers were with their home phone provider, how good the customer service was and whether bills were accurate and easy to read.

Three companies in particular stood out for how well they answered queries and how easy it was to speak to someone who could help. They were Tesco, which is new to the landline market, Toucan and  Utility Warehouse.  

Switching providers

The survey also found that it pays to switch phone company. Seven out of ten people who switched ended up paying less, and nine out of ten found switching easy.