ACA Consumer Satisfaction Survey. 2002/2003, Financial Year 2002/2003 -->
C. Alternative Sources of Data
C1 Alternative sources
What alternative sources of data are available and what use is made of them? (C1)
Note. Should include surveys conducted during the previous two years that collect similar data, other sources apart from surveys, and Commonwealth, State Government and private sector sources.
Data related to consumer satisfaction include:
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- Telstra and some of the other telecommunications companies survey their own customers about satisfaction. Some of these companies provide these consumer satisfaction data to the ACA, but none have provided detailed information on methodology, data capture or processing. Therefore, we are unable to perform a valid comparison of data between companies or assess the adequacy of the methodologies for individual surveys;
- Most carriers and carriage service providers (i.e. like Telstra) collect statistics on the number of complaints received by topic of complaint. These data are provided by some companies and are published in the quarterly Telecommunications Performance Monitoring Bulletin. Data on number of complaints is related to, but not directly the same as, consumer satisfaction data;
- The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) collects statistics on complaints relating to specific issues concerning carriers and carriage service providers. The ACA does access this data for use in the Telecommunications Performance Report.
In what respects are these alternative sources insufficient? (C2)
The data collected by the companies (customer satisfaction and complaints) do not cover the entire industry because they are specific to a given company. As well, not all companies survey the same items or use the same methodology. The data do not cover all the topics of interest to the ACA for tracking industry performance. The data do not provide an objective, independent or comprehensive look at customer satisfaction with telecommunication services across Australia. Therefore, while we do make some use of the company-collected consumer satisfaction data, these data do not fit all of the ACA’s data needs with regards to consumer satisfaction. Of most importance, however, is the legislative requirement that the ACA independently assess carrier performance. Utilising data collected by carriers for this purpose would leave the ACA open to challenges of bias.
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The TIO data cover only complaints and not consumer satisfaction. Data on complaints are related to consumer satisfaction, but are not a substitute. Also, the nature of the TIO’s operations means that this data is second tier complaint data - in other words, customer’s can only complain to the TIO if a carrier of carriage service provider has been unable to resolve their complaint. The TIO data are quite different from the consumer satisfaction survey data.
C3 Joint data with other agencies
What consideration has been given to working with other agencies or organisations to make their data more suited to your needs? (C3)
No other agency collects consumer satisfaction data of the nature required by the ACA (although carriers obtain this data for their own commercial interests, these organisations are not considered to be ‘agencies’). However, the industry and a number of other agencies utilise the analysis and reports obtained from the consumer satisfaction survey. There is also the need to identify trends over time as part of the ACA’s mandated reporting regime - under section 105 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 the ACA must report on ‘world’s best practice’ in relation to carrier performance. In order to do this it is important to ensure a consistent core of survey questions from year to year. The ACA is unaware of any agency conducting regular surveys that contain similar information to that obtained through the consumer satisfaction survey.
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It is beyond the mandate of the TIO to collect information on consumer satisfaction.