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BT/EE merger would create customer service nightmare

Barry Collins
15 Dec 2014
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BT and EE finish bottom of customer service charts in their relevant fields

The potential merger of BT and EE would be a horror show for customers, according to the latest service satisfaction stats from Ofcom. BT was rated as the worst major landline and broadband provider, while EE finished bottom of the table for mobile networks. 

BT is currently in merger talks with both EE and O2, although it is the latter who is expected to finally end up in the hands of BT once more. Whichever company it acquires, BT has plenty of work to do on its customer service, if Ofcom's research is anything to go by. 

Only 61% of customers are satisfied with BT's service when it comes to landline telephones, a decrease on the 63% it scored last year. Sky came out top of the satisfaction survey for landline providers, scoring 79%, followed by Virgin Media on 72% and TalkTalk on 62%.

Things are also heading south for BT when it comes to broadband satisfaction, with BT this time scoring only 60%, once again down from 63% last year. Ofcom singled out BT for criticism when it comes to matters such as "speed and ease of getting through to the right person, time taken to handle issues and offering compensation or a goodwill payment". Virgin Media topped the broadband charts with 76%, followed by Sky (75%) and TalkTalk (62%).

EE, meanwhile, finished rock bottom of the five mobile networks rated in Ofcom's poll, with a customer satisfaction score of 69%. BT's other potential acquisition, O2, finished top of the pile, scoring 78%. 

The merger of BT, which is the country's biggest broadband and landline provider, and EE, the country's biggest mobile network, would likely require regulatory approval from Ofcom. The Communications Act says Ofcom's prinicpal duty is to "further the interests of citizens and of consumers", although it's doubtful whether the poor customer service records of the two companies will be taken into account if Ofcom is asked to rubber stamp a takeover. 

Ofcom's consumer and content group director, Claudio Pollack, said he hoped the research would "act as an incentive for providers to continue aiming for the highest standards of customer service". 

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