Virgin Media may have some of the fastest broadband downloads in the UK but it’s not all good news when it comes to speed. Latest findings from telecoms regulator Ofcom, have revealed Virgin customers have been facing the longest and most frustrating wait times when picking up the phone and trying to speak to someone at the company.
According to the new stats in Ofcom’s fifth annual report, Virgin users spent almost 8 minutes waiting for their calls to be answered in 2020. That’s an increase of almost six minutes over the previous year.
Along with Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile also scored badly with users of this network facing a wait time of almost seven minutes. At the other end of the scale was EE with its team picking up the phone after just one minute and 15 seconds.
Other firms that performed well included TalkTalk (1m:46s) and the Post Office (1m:59s). BT, Sky and Vodafone all managed to answer in under 3 minutes 30 seconds according to Ofcom which is around half the time Virgin users were stuck on hold for.
Of course, with the COVID health crisis, many firms were forced to close call centres and change the way they received messages from customers but it seems some coped with this dramatic update better than others.
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All broadband and landline providers’ average call waiting times increased in 2020. The industry average call waiting time increased from 2 minutes 10 seconds in 2019 to 4 minutes 9 seconds. As with mobile, broadband and landline providers responded in different ways to the impact of the pandemic on their call centre capacity, and some providers discouraged customers from contacting them by phone.
Virgin is clearly aware that it now needs to improve with the company telling the BBC: “We’re proud of how we rose to this challenge.
“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.”
Ofcom says the Covid-19 pandemic has made telecoms services more important than ever to many people. Broadband and mobile were considered to be the most important communications services, and about half of broadband customers and four in ten mobile customers said these services had become more important to their household because of the pandemic.
“Telecoms companies adapted quickly to meet soaring demand for their services last year – helping to keep the country connected,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s networks and communications group director.
“But some have struggled with customer service problems. We’re challenging them to act now, so the telecoms industry becomes the gold standard for customer service.”