The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s 2016/17 Annual Report has highlighted an increase in complaints to the TIO about services delivered over the nbn™ access network in the 2016/17 financial year. This demonstrates the necessity and importance of an industry-wide effort to ensure improved customer experiences as we reach the peak years of the build.
NBN Co Chief Executive Officer Bill Morrow said: “While it is fewer than 15 percent of the ‘nbn’ complaints to the TIO that are directed to NBN Co, this equates to about 1% of the number of activated premises that we are not making the experience the best it can be and we are taking this very seriously.
“We are working with retail service providers and industry as a priority to improve these figures and the overall experience for consumers. We meet regularly and have programs in place, some in isolation to deal with company-specific improvements, and others in collaboration to ensure end-to-end process are the best they can be.
“This work is being reflected in a 13.6% decline in overall TIO complaints between July to September 2017 and a 26.3% decline in TIO complaints about landline and internet services over the same period. We believe it is an early sign of movement in the right direction.”
NBN said in a statement that it is important to note that no large scale construction project has ever been problem-free. With a workforce of close to 30,000 people digging trenches, hauling cable, climbing poles and going into people’s yards and homes, there are inevitably going to be some issues. This is especially the case given approximately 9 out of every 10 Australian homes will be impacted by this industry-wide transformation. We can see a direct correlation between the speed of the rollout and the increase in complaints – while the business is taking this very seriously and working to improve the customer experience, it is an unfortunate reality of such a fast-paced infrastructure build. This is especially the case as the rollout has hit an unprecedented pace, with around 40,000 premises across Australia activating every week – NBN Co has activated 1 million premises in the past six months alone.
“We are working hard to maintain the balance of getting broadband to people as quickly as possible, while minimising these problems,” said Mr Morrow.
Some of the initiatives NBN Co has underway to improve the end user customer experience from our end include:
- Improved installation experience: accelerated in-house training facilities to provide hands-on experience for field workers with the aim of increasing quality assurance with the installation of the network to homes and businesses.
- Advanced fault detection: leveraging big data, machine learning and existing capabilities to help nbn determine whether a fault can be dealt with remotely and immediately or whether a field technician needs to visit an end-user home to resolve it.
- Enhanced case management with retail service providers: improved process for managing the timeliness of end user customer responses and resolution activities following escalations by retail service providers as well as ensuring end user issues are case managed by nbn if they are not resolved on the second visit.
- National awareness campaign: educating Australians about the role of nbn and their retail service provider, the factors at home or work which can improve internet experience, as well as how to choose a speed and data broadband package that suits their needs.