Another independent report has surfaced which says that UK internet service providers (ISPs) are failing to offer basic levels of customer service. The report does not name the worst offenders, but still makes for a depressing read.

In a mystery shopper exercise, customer service specialist Talisma contacted 50 UK ISPs by email and phone. Almost 50 per cent of emails were ignored, while only 12 per cent of ISPs could track emails once they had been received. And 84 per cent did not give staff a unified view of customer interactions across multiple channels.

Talisma's audit awarded each ISP a score out of 100 based on a range of customer service criteria. These included speed of response, accuracy of information provided and the personalisation of interactions.

Some of the most popular ISPs languished at the bottom of the league table due to their lack of email response. Other offences included inaccuracies in the information provided, limited personalisation on calls or emails, and not extending communication channels to include live chat.

No surprises

In contrast, some of the smaller ISPs revealed they had grasped the basics of good customer service.

The average score overall was a somewhat inadequate 54 out of 100. "Selecting a broadband ISP is similar to choosing an electricity or gas provider; customers are primarily concerned about the price rather than who provides the service," said Jon McNerney, vice president international operations at Talisma.

"In this high-churn commodity market, good customer service is vital for ISPs to differentiate themselves and encourage customer loyalty. Response times are critical and delays in answering calls and emails impact customer satisfaction significantly," he said.