Telecommunications provider Macquarie Telecom has announced that it will begin providing live data on its Net Promoter Score (NPS) to make customer satisfaction feedback available for potential customers to view on its website.
The NPS, a score gauging the percentage of customers who would recommend a certain business to others, will be updated daily on the telco's website on a 30-day rolling average.
Macquarie Telecom CEO David Tudehope encouraged other telcos to begin doing the same.
"This is something people might consider a gutsy move, but one I am urging all other telcos -- and, indeed, other industries as well -- to follow," Tudehope said.
"Australian telecommunications has been plagued by terrible consumer satisfaction for as long as anyone can remember; complaints from telecom customers run at about four times the complaints about banks."
He said the NPS is taken seriously as a yardstick for services in every industry.
"NPS is rapidly becoming the standard measure of customer satisfaction for businesses around the world, and Macquarie Telecom's experience shows how powerful it can be if the feedback from customers is communicated in real time," Tudehope said.
"From today, every person in the business can see how we are performing in real time, and now, our customers will, too."
Tudehope added that with the NPS publicly available, customers will be able to compare price, product, and customer satisfaction, helping them make a more informed purchasing decision.
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) agreed with this viewpoint, applauding Macquarie Telecom's decision to publish its NPS.
"We welcome this move by Macquarie Telecom and encourage the industry to follow suit and publish Net Promoter Scores in real time," said ACCAN Deputy CEO Narelle Clark.
"Giving current and prospective customers access to this sets a new benchmark for transparency in the industry. If presented in a simple, easy-to-use way, it will help consumers make more informed choices when deciding which provider to use."
Clark added that the NPS data could be augmented with the statistics provided annually by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) on consumer complaints about telcos.
"Currently, consumers have access to TIO complaint data, but making NPS also available would give a clearer picture of customer satisfaction and allow consumers to compare providers across the industry," said Clark.
"Being more transparent with these scores would also help improve consumer trust in the telecommunications industry."
The TIO's Annual Report 2014-15, published in October, revealed that while Telstra, Vodafone, TPG, and Virgin have all improved their complaints statistics, competitor telecommunications providers Optus, iiNet, and M2 have all increased substantially.
Optus saw an increase in total complaints of 31.5 percent, from 14,144 during FY14 to 18,601 in FY15, while iiNet customer complaints were up by 26 percent, from 3,051 complaints in 2013-14 to 3,844 in 2014-15.
All three of M2 Group's telco brands also saw substantial rises in complaints. Complaints about Commander were up a massive 73.6 percent, from 864 in FY14 to 1,500 in FY15; iPrimus was up 18.5 percent, from 1,072 to 1,270; and Dodo was up 17.3 percent, from 3,187 to 3,737.
Meanwhile, telco providers Telstra, Vodafone, TPG, and Virgin all saw an improvement in their customer complaint numbers. Complaints about Telstra decreased by 4.3 percent, down to 55,529 for 2014-15, while Vodafone's dropped by 46.2 percent, from 35,876 to 19,311; TPG's by 5.4 percent, from 4,759 to 4,501; and Virgin's by 38.9 percent, from 3,460 down to 2,115.
The TIO's annual report also revealed a 68.6 percent increase in complaints by consumers about the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Overall, however, consumer complaints about telco services have now dropped to an 18-month low.