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Smaller ISPs nail customer service

Internet service providers PlaNet, Actrix and Inspire have topped Consumer NZ's customer service survey, with all three rating over 96 percent.

Internet service providers PlaNet, Actrix and Inspire have topped Consumer NZ's customer service survey, with all three rating over 96 percent.

Slingshot, Woosh and Compass Communications, did badly, each scoring 60 percent satisfaction against an average 72 percent.

More than 11,000 Consumer members rated their ISPs on in-home setup, phone help with billing and phone help with technical questions, and online help. They also rated reliability, connection and speed.

Smaller providers Actrix and Inspire have been in the top three in Consumer surveys since 2006 and PlaNet has been there since 2009.

Vodafone had a 62 percent customer service satisfaction and Telecom/Xtra got 68 percent on its scorecard, well below the average.

Slingshot took the wooden spoon, being the only ISP to score worse than average across each of the categories.

TelstraClear/Paradise had a 76 percent rating.

Just over half of those who took part in the survey had received help with in-home setup. On average this was the category that had the highest satisfaction rating at 69 percent.

Two-thirds had phoned their ISP's help desk about billing and 66 percent were satisfied with the service they received.

However, less pleased were the 79 percent who had phoned the help desk for technical support – the rating was 58 percent.

Interestingly for companies that provide internet service, online help was the worst, receiving a mere 43 percent satisfaction rating from the 57 percent who had tried it.

Two percent of respondents used dial-up and only one in five of these users had a problem-free connection. One-third of the members with broadband had never experienced disconnections or drop-outs.

Nearly 80 percent of customers had experienced slower-than-expected speeds, and Telecom/Xtra, Vodafone and Slingshot emerged as the least reliable providers.

One in five surveyed had naked broadband (a package not bundled with a phone line) because of the increased usage of Skype and other VoIP (voice over internet protocol) options as well as mobiles for calling.