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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Ian Goldsmith, Ed Featherston, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

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Vital but unloved - negative buzz about home telecoms/TV/broadband providers exceeds that of banks, finds Keller Fay

-- Plusnet best in terms of consumer sentiment.

-- TalkTalk and BT are the most criticised.

LONDON, March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Data from marketing research group Keller Fay's TalkTrack® programme indicates that negative word of mouth (WOM) for companies providing phone, TV and broadband services in Britain is higher than for most other sectors.

  • Every day in the UK, an estimated 3 million negative opinions are exchanged about one or other of five major providers - BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk or Plusnet

TalkTalk attracted 29% negative WOM, a figure which is almost three times the UK all-category average (10%). The performance of BT is not much better, receiving negative press in over a quarter of discussions.

Plusnet is the best of the providers, recording the lowest criticism and achieving the highest level of positive sentiment (58%) - although even this fails to impress when it is compared to the UK all-category average of 62%. Plusnet's significant WOM advantage is reflected in its strong market share growth in 2013.

% of WOM which is negative for home communications providers – 12 months to January 2014

TalkTalk

29%

BT

26%

Sky

18%

Virgin Media

17%

Plusnet

10%

Cheaper, faster and more reliable home communications and entertainment are constantly sought by residential customers. Those people involved in negative conversations cite 'having a bad experience with a supplier' as the main trigger to the discussion, with conversation content focussed on expensive prices, bad service and – in consequence – advice on changing provider. Ofcom's updated guidelines for consumers considering new phone or broadband contracts are clearly meeting a need.

Naturally, a positive brand or service experience has the opposite effect, and drives a more positive dialogue. But conversations which reference the brand's side of the story – advertising or web content – are also somewhat more positive – brands must complement customer service improvements with impactful and relevant communications.

In summarising the research results, Steve Thomson, MD of Keller Fay UK, said "Providers in this sector are struggling to achieve positive buzz for their services in the current environment. But consumers will give praise where it is due, and the best performers in the sector attract significantly more brand advocacy than their competitors."

About Keller Fay
The Keller Fay Group are the consumer conversation experts. We are the first full-service market research company focused exclusively on word of mouth (WOM) and brand advocacy. Launched in 2011, Keller Fay's TalkTrack® Britain programme is the UK's only continuous study of consumer conversations about brands across all channels, online and offline. TalkTrack subscribers include leading agencies, brands and media organisations. For more information, go to www.kellerfay.com

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