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Virgin Media urged to improve customer service

Virgin Media urged to improve customer service
Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The telecoms giant was rated the UK’s worst broadband supplier for customer service, according to Which? research.

Since late 2023, thousands of consumers have got in touch with Which? to share their experiences of shoddy customer service in sectors including energy, financial services, telecoms and travel.

The consumer champion said an overwhelming frustration shared in many of these stories is that companies are not providing prompt responses and resolutions when people get in touch about a problem.

Many customers are being left on hold, stuck in never-ending chatbot loops or passed from department to department with no resolution or helpful answer to their query.

Telecoms customer service is ‘poor’

Which? said that telecoms is currently one of the worst performing sectors for customer service, with one in five (22%) people saying they were unhappy with their most recent customer service experience with a telecoms provider.

Which? analysed data from its latest annual broadband customer satisfaction survey, 2023 customer service survey and the stories shared with the consumer champion’s customer service tool to find out how well broadband firms are performing for customer service and whether they are providing timely and effective responses.

It found that Virgin Media was the worst performing broadband firm for customer service – coming bottom for overall customer service, quick and helpful responses and technical support.

The supplier received a satisfaction score of 38 out of a possible +100 for overall customer service, 26 out of +100 for ease and speed of getting in touch and 34 out of +100 for technical support.

Indeed, just recently Virgin Media was the most complained-about broadband, landline and pay TV provider for the second consecutive quarter, Ofcom’s complaint data revealed.

Michael Barraclough, aged 62 from Bradford, had to get in touch with Virgin Media after two weeks of broadband signal issues. He was initially told his issues would take seven days to be sorted out – but it actually took six weeks and 18 phone calls to resolve.

At the other end of the scale, Zen Internet took first place for overall customer service – with a satisfaction score of 84. Utility Warehouse and Plusnet also performed well, with satisfaction scores of 74 or 72 for overall customer service.

‘Customer service has hit rock bottom’

Which? said the findings highlight how dramatically the quality of customer service can vary between individual firms. It has launched a customer service campaign calling on companies providing vital services – such as broadband – to up their game if they are falling short of the standards their customers deserve.

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “Customer service has hit rock bottom – with some customers stuck in endless loops just trying to get help.

“Virgin Media was named the worst broadband firm for customer service in our research – faring particularly poorly for technical support and providing quick and efficient responses. This is particularly unacceptable when the company has enforced mid-contract price hikes of almost 9% this April, on top of an increase of almost 14% last April.

“While many consumers will rightly consider switching, firms that are falling short must urgently make improvements so all customers are getting the standard of service and support they need and deserve.”

A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “We are investing and making changes across our business to deliver tangible customer service improvements and ensure all customers receive the best possible service. For example, we’re multi-skilling our teams and rolling out new IT platforms that make it easier for customers to get support and have issues resolved the first time they get in touch.

“On average, customer calls were answered within two minutes last year, and we resolved 95% of complaints during a customer’s first initial call.”