ACA Consumer Satisfaction Survey, Financial Year 2000/2001
C. Alternative Sources of Data
What alternative sources of data are available and what use is made of them? (C1)
Data related to consumer satisfaction include:
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.
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In what respects are these alternative sources insufficient? (C2)
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.
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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.
It is beyond the mandate of the TIO to collect information on consumer satisfaction.
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