EY Claims UK Consumers Overwhelmed by Broadband ISP Choices

confused uk consumer

Too much choice can be confusing. EY‘s annual digital home survey of 2,500 UK consumers found that 46% of households believe there is too much choice in the broadband ISP and content market (up from 43% in 2017). Plus the various discounts on offer don’t make it any easier to choose.

All of the biggest ISPs tend to offer discounts on their initial contract periods, although post-contract prices are often significantly more expensive. Generally 55% of consumers agreed that such “introductory offers” play a significant role in their choice of broadband provider, although 56% also said that these offers make it difficult to work out which packages give the best value.

Admittedly the issue of consumer confusion is probably only going to get worse before it gets better, particularly with so many new alternative network ISPs cropping up all over the United Kingdom (most of those only have very limited coverage). Figuring out precisely what is available and where can be a real headache, which isn’t helped by providers that don’t publish coverage maps or checkers.

Highlights of the EY Digital Home Survey

* 56% of consumers believe that a “single point of customer service” is an important reason for taking a bundle of services from one provider.

* 32% of households surveyed say they are willing to pay more for their broadband bundle in return for good customer service.

* 37% of consumers consider a reputation for good customer service as an important factor if they are going to switch providers.

* 38% of consumers surveyed have contacted their service provider in the last 12 months with a query or to resolve an issue.


Apparently 13% of consumers who have broadband issues do not contact customer support (rises to 23% of 18-24 year olds) and 20% were dissatisfied with the response to their broadband issues. When asked why they were dissatisfied with the response, the top reasons were lack of issue resolution (36%), time spent interacting with customer support (29%) and multiple transfers to different departments to resolve an issue (26%).

Adrian Baschnonga, Global Lead Telecoms Analyst at EY, said:

“Broadband bundle providers should take heed of ongoing customer grumbles as they look to improve satisfaction and loyalty. It is essential for them to provide customers with simplicity and value to stand out in an ever more crowded market place.

A good reputation for customer support is also a critical factor in purchasing and switching decisions. Providers should take extra care to deliver a smooth customer experience that recognises why support might be needed and offers the most painless route to resolving issues.”

The study also revealed that call centres remain the dominant channel for customer support outreach, cited by 66% of households. Meanwhile 15% said they had used an instant messaging facility (live chat), another 15% phoned the provider’s head office instead, 12% had used an online contact form, 7% sent an email (harder these days as most of the big ISPs don’t publish email addresses), 5% sent an email to the head office, 5% used social media and just 4% sent a letter (snail mail).

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