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The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has urged businesses to improve on their services as it had a 54 percent increase in the number of complaints this year.

According to the TIO’s 2008/09 Annual Report, it has received a total of 230,065 complaints from consumers and small businesses, which was a 54 percent rise compared to 2007/08.

Billing and payment of telephone and internet services remains to be the main area of concern, but the TIO said that the highest increase in complaints was among mobile phone users (79 percent rise), internet (57 percent), landline (40 percent), and mobile premium services (13 percent).

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Deirdre O’Donnell, said one of the biggest increases in complaints to the TIO continued to be about poor customer service or complaint handling. She said that a lot of consumers feel that their phone or Internet provider did not care or follow through on commitments.

In addition, complaints about issues surrounding customer service and complaint handling almost doubled, with the main concern being incorrect or inadequate advice by the service companies. Many consumers said their providers had failed to follow through on promises.

“Providers should focus on improving communications with customers and to ensure their processes put people first,” says O’Donnell.

“Sustainable improvement across all areas of customer service could be achieved if telecommunications companies, regulators, policy makers and key consumer and industry groups continued working together to resolve issues,” added O’Donnell.

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