Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ranking full stop

I've been messing around with the ISP comparison tool available for the UK market, which uses customer ratings to rank up to six players at a time. It yields some interesting results. (By the way, wherever you are in the world, if a similar tool exists for your local market, please send in a link, regardless of the language.)

So let's start with the top six incumbent players in the space: BT, NTL/Telewest, AOL (I know it's been sold), Tiscali, Orange, and Pipex. Keep in mind that this chart may look different when you access it, assuming it is going to continue to be updated. The result: NTL and Pipex fare the best here overall, but notice that ratings generally are nothing to write home about - particularly customer service, where 60% approval is a real triumph.

Next a group I guess we could consider challengers: Be (Telefonica), Demon (Thus), Eclipse, Sky, TalkTalk, and Virgin. The result: Telefonica seems to have bought a strong franchise, and Demon and Eclipse both perform well.

I also think it's interesting to compare the relative ratings of acquirers and their acquired franchises. TalkTalk/AOL shows, as we would expect, a significant disparity in customer views. Ditto for Tiscali/HomeChoice, particularly on customer care. Pipex/Bulldog show a similar relationship, though there is an alarming convergence here, in the wrong direction. Also of interest is Sky/UKOnline - significant differences despite being the same company. BT/PlusNet appear strikingly similar, and I guess well-suited.

Lastly, and most provocatively, let's look at six smaller, perhaps nimbler, names: altoHiway, Be (again),, supanet,, and Zen. The result: recall all the 40 - 60% scores we saw in the earlier examples. Here 70% speed ratings and 80% levels for reliability and customer care are the norm. To put things in perspective, contrast three from this group with the top three in the market.

Admittedly, this is not the most scientific of exercises, but it intrigues me nevertheless. Is broadband customer satisfaction really a scalable proposition?

UPDATE: A fair-dinkum Australian mega-uber value reader rises to the EuroTelcoblog challenge and submits the local consumer broadband resource site for our perusal.

UPDATE 2: A Norwegian mega-uber value reader submits the local comparison site here.

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