5 ways for telcos to lift their game

This week’s Twisted Wire looks at how the telecommunications industry can improve its reputation, keep customers happy and get the regulators off its back.

Two years ago, Twisted Wire asked, “is telecommunications a shonky business?” Complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) were at an all-time high. So, has much changed since? Well, complaints have risen even farther, and it’s only recently that there have been signs of it easing off.

So, what can telcos do to improve themselves? Industry analyst Shara Evans says that they could start by fixing up customer service. Commentator Kevin Morgan adds the standard of services to the list — not just having mobile companies delivering on their promise, but also Telstra looking after its copper network.

Most of the concern, though, rests with plans and pricing. Marketing specialist Steve Howard says it’s still difficult to understand what you are paying for, and to compare plans between providers.

Confusing plans are one thing, but our top two is more to do with malicious intent. We highlight a phone card that promises 2.5 cents per minute for calls to the UK, which, in reality, are likely to cost almost 10 times that amount. Then there’s that old chestnut, mobile data-roaming charges. And what about the premium SMS industry, which, as we demonstrate again, has some players with questionable business practices? If telcos really want to look after their customers and improve their reputation, shouldn’t they choose more carefully who they partner with?

I fear that if the industry doesn’t do a better job of fixing these issues, self-regulation could quickly become a thing of the past.

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