Customers across the industry are getting increasingly dissatisfied with services and are more likely then ever to switch ISPs, new figures show.
Research company JD Power and Associates polled 1,438 broadband customers across the UK, asking about their provider's performance, reliability, customer service, and technical support.
The 2006 UK Broadband ISP report also showed that customer scores fell across all the ISPs. This in turn help bring the overall customers satisfaction ranking - based on performance, reliability, customer service, cost, and billing - down.
Customer service is worsening
It has become harder to speak to customer service teams, the report states. The average waiting time is up by two minutes to 8.7 minutes since last year.
Caspar Tearle, JD Power's director of service industry research, said in the report: "The 2006 study highlights the adverse affect poor call management can have on customer satisfaction levels."
He added that nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of broadband users had contacted a call centre or technical support in the past year.
"The rise in complaints is significant. In 2005, the number of customers who called customer service with questions outnumbered complaints by three to two, or 62 per cent compared with 38 per cent. In 2006, the ratio is now 50-50," Tearle said.
Many broadband subscribers thinking of changing
The dissatisfaction among broadband subscribers means that many are considering switching suppliers. One in five changed their ISP in the last year, a 15 per cent increase from 2005. A quarter of customers said they were likely to change broadband provider in the next 12 months.
UK broadband users are spending an average of £25.91 per month for services, an increase of £3.59 from 2005. Price is identified by potential switchers as the most critical factor in their decision.
The study also found that broadband users spend about 23 hours per week online at home on average. The most popular online activities include buying products or services, getting maps/directions, online banking, and listening to or downloading music from the internet.