“Encouraging signs, but more to do.” says CEO, Clive Selley
Openreach, BT’s local network division, has delivered a strong improvement in customer service performance. It is now connecting new customers and fixing faults faster than at any time since it started to publish performance data in July 2014.
Openreach’s engineers fix 84 per cent of faults within two working days – compared to just 67 per cent when reporting began two years ago[. The business installs 93 per cent of new lines on time, and it has cut the average time to get an appointment from 11 to seven days.
Openreach has also reduced the number of appointments its engineers miss by more than a third in just three months and is on track to halve missed appointments this year.
The business is responsible for installing and repairing around 30 million telephone and broadband lines across the UK, and its engineers complete more than 175,000 separate jobs each week in exchanges and at street cabinets, as well as those that require a customer appointment.
Openreach is exceeding all of the 60 service measures set by the regulator Ofcom[. The company views these objectives as a minimum, rather than a target, and it is determined to continue exceeding them as the thresholds get tougher each year.
Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach said: “Improving the service that we provide to customers, is my number one priority. These latest figures show we’re making real progress and we’re well on the way to hitting my target of halving missed appointments to two and a half percent within a year.
“Everyone at Openreach recognises there’s more to do, but these are encouraging signs that our investments and focus are having a positive effect. We’re recruiting 1,000 engineers this year, and by simplifying the way we work and giving our people the training and tools they need, we will achieve even better outcomes. I’m particularly pleased that we’ve managed to repair faults faster than this time last year, despite the wettest June on record."
The improvements have been achieved with the help of significant new investments in people, systems, tools, training and process changes.
Openreach has hired more than 5,000 new engineers over the last three years, and is currently in the middle of a recruitment drive which will see 1,000 engineers and more than 200 apprentices join the company before May 2017.
The business is investing 50 per cent more into proactive network maintenance, which is designed to identify vulnerabilities and prevent faults from occurring. Meanwhile increasing numbers of Openreach engineers are being given training to widen their skills and reduce the reliance on specialists. This is giving Openreach more flexibility, with engineers able to complete a wider variety of jobs for customers in a single visit.
As part of its commitment to improve service levels, Openreach is aiming to halve the number of missed appointments it is responsible for – from five percent to two and a half per cent – by the end of March 2017, and has an ambition to reduce them even further after that.
It has also established a case management team to step in, prioritise and resolve problems for customers who have experienced two or more missed or unsuccessful appointments.
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