Depending on how you look at it, complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman are either up or down, but either way it’s clear the Telcos aren’t getting the message about customer service.

When compared to the same 6 month period in the previous year (July-December) the number of complaints are up, but when compared to the last six months (January-June) they are down.  Given the telcos would be keen on a downward trend line, they’ll take the latter.

The raw staggering numbers for 1 July to 31 December 2017 show 84,914 complaints, 88 percent of them from residential customers.

Because it’s always the focus of much reporting, the NBN figure is worth noting – 22,827 complaints were made to the TIO about NBN services.

Mobile phone services attracted more complaints, with 24,923 complaints to the TIO and those with multiple issues were even higher at 26,112 .

When it comes to what the issues were, Charges and Fees topped the list, with Telco response coming in second – between them 75,000 complaints, with “poor service” coming a distant third with 18,000 complaints.

So how big is the problem at the Telcos?  Get this – at the NBN level, despite there being 22,827 complaints, just 1052 were sent to the NBN Co to resolve – meaning the vast majority were Telco related, not NBN itself.

Communications Alliance Director of Program Management Christiane Gillespie-Jones said “Our industry cannot be satisfied with these numbers and we will continue to implement measures – including through the enforceable Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code that is currently being revised – designed to improve the overall customer experience”

We won’t know how the individual telcos came off until the full year results come in six months from now, but the one thing we do know is that Telcos suck at handling customer complaints.  When issues are escalated to the TIO they get sent back to the Telco at a higher level and there seems to be a faster resolution – why the internal customer service teams at the telcos can’t identify and escalate these issues beforehand is a mystery to many.