Vodafone improving customer service, but losing market share


WhistleOut
18 May 2017

Good and bad news this week from somewhat-beleaguered telco Vodafone. The company continues to see a significant drop in official Ombudsman complaints, but is still watching customers jump ship to bigger and better providers.

Good news: Vodafone has happier customers!


In a huge win for the underdog mobile network, Vodafone’s ratio of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has declined by an impressive 74% since 2014, giving it the lowest rate of any mobile provider. 

In fact, the telco’s most recent complaints data – released May 15 – shows that, on average, Vodafone customers complain 50% less than subscribers from rival networks.

Figures for the March 2017 quarter record 3.9 Vodafone complaints per 10,000 services in operation, down from 5.0 in December 2016. Data shows that this rate has been steadily in decline since March 2014, when the TIO recorded 19.4 complaints per 10,000 Vodafone services.

Vodafone’s March 2017 result sees a 22% drop since the previous quarter, an achievement the telco is attributing to an improved network, ‘value-packed plans’, and an increased commitment to strong customer service.

It’s an excellent result for Vodafone after years of coverage issues and consumer backlash. However, although it provides a great general overview of customer satisfaction, it’s important to remember that the data only reflects complaints which have been escalated to the TIO.

Clearly, the company is doing something right in resolving customer concerns in-house. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped Vodafone from losing market share in the past twelve months.

Bad news: Vodafone has lost market share!


Research firm Kantar has published its annual report on the Aussie mobile market, and Vodafone has again showed a not-insignificant loss in market share. According to Kantar, percentages for the telco has fallen to 13.9%, down from 15.3% this time last year.

Postpaid share has declined to 13.7% (down from 15.8%), while prepaid share has seen a slight shift from 14.3% to 14.2%. Similar small losses were recorded by Virgin Mobile, TPG, and Amaysim, while both Optus and Telstra have seen shares increase.

Optus has moved from 22.7% to 22.8%, but Telstra’s market share has jumped to 41.4%, with a two percentage-point rise in postpaid. Kantar attributes the results to churn from Vodafone and MVNO customers, who have made the move to Telstra in apparent search of better network coverage.

Despite multiple highly-publicised outages in the last year, Telstra still remains the number-one choice for customers prioritising network over pricing. And thanks to the ACCC’s recent proposal not to allow wholesale domestic mobile roaming, this isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

The ACCC shut down the prospect of allowing wholesale domestic roaming earlier this month. If approved, the move would allow Vodafone to use Telstra’s existing mobile infrastructure to offer service to rural communities.

Vodafone argued that the change would have increased market competition, provided stronger coverage in regional areas, and finally shaken up the stranglehold Telstra has on customers outside of cities and suburbs. However, the ACCC remains concerned that Telstra would subsequently decrease its investment in rural areas if wholesale domestic mobile roaming was declared. 

Editorial credit: Tooykrub at Shutterstock.com

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