Virgin Media customers left waiting longest on phone

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Virgin Media and Virgin Mobile customers face the longest wait to speak to customer service operators by phone, the regulator Ofcom has found.

Virgin Media customers waited seven minutes and 40 seconds on average, while Virgin Mobile took six minutes and 44 seconds to answer calls in 2020.

EE had the shortest average wait time with one minute and 15 seconds, followed by TalkTalk.

Virgin Media said customer service was a "top priority".

Overall, 52% of all UK broadband customers were happy with how their complaints were dealt with.

That compared with 57% of mobile users.

Virgin Media said it had been forced to change the set-up of its contact centres during the pandemic.

"We're proud of how we rose to this challenge," it said.

"However, we recognise there's room for improvement, which is why we have already increased our investments in digital and customer service, including creating more than 1,000 customer care roles in the UK last year, and will be making further improvements later this year."

Better deals

It is Ofcom's fifth annual report exploring how well the major providers support customers and provide information about what they offer.

The regulator said while many companies were now offering better deals, customer service was still facing issues.

Other findings included:

  • Broadband and landline customers waited four minutes and nine seconds on average to speak to someone in 2020
  • Mobile customers waited two minutes and seven seconds
  • 26% of broadband customers had "a reason to complain" about their provider or service
  • Only 3% of mobile customers were unhappy with their service
  • Most people were only without services for a maximum of two days due to faults

Soaring demand

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's network and communications group director, said on the whole broadband and mobile companies had "adapted well" to soaring demand for connectivity during the pandemic.

"Some have struggled with customer service problems," she added.

"We're challenging them to act now, so the telecoms industry becomes the gold standard for customer service."

Rocio Concha, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Which? said it was important for the sector to uphold the commitments they had made in 2019.

"In a time where being connected is more important than ever, providers need to take their commitments seriously and do more to meet consumers' expectations - particularly on customer service, pricing and ease of changing contracts," she said.

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