TalkTalk Remains Stable Despite Steady Loss of Customers

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Broadband and TV provider, TalkTalk has reported a loss of another 50,000 customers in the final three months of last year, making it the 5[SUP]th[/SUP] consecutive quarter of customer defections. The company, which has lost 170,000 customers since November of 2010, now only has a total of 4.079million customers, which is peanuts when compared to its rivals BSkyB and BT Group.

Apart from losing customers, the company has also struggled with the integration of its billing platforms after recent mergers with Pipex, Tiscali, and Carphone Warehouse. Just recently, the company wrongly billed thousands of Tiscali customers. The issue ended with Ofcom fining the company £3.1million.

Despite the problems, however, TalkTalk has seemingly remained stable, and chief executive, Dido Harding actually forecasts a rise in profit. The share price of the company is up 9% and full year underlying earnings are expected to be between 18% and 19%. Revenues in the the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] quarter have remained stable, rising to £422million, and the call volumes to its customer service centre are down by 26% year-on-year.

“We are growing the number of customers on our network every week and that is what is driving the performance of our business. We have continued to improve our customers' experience with further falls in customer service call volumes and an increase in the rate of online self-service. As a result, churn has stabilised and we remain confident of a return to positive total net adds in the first half of 2012,” said Harding.

According to sources, business has become more profitable because of the increasing number of customers using its network lines “unbundled” in 130 new BT exchanges. About 80% of its customers are now on fully unbundled lines. The system is designed to improve profits because TalkTalk will be able to offer lower prices, but make bigger profits, taking the average revenue for TalkTalk broadband customers to £25.30.

In addition to that, the optional product, HomesafeTM, which blocks mature content and self-harm sites is now being used by 270,000 customers. Internet privacy groups have raised concerns over this service because it can track every website visited by a user, but the recent addition of 60,000 customers shows it is something people are willing to pay for.

Finally, TalkTalk has much to look forward to in 2012. It will be launching its YouView service this spring, with trials for the on-demand internet TV service already about to begin. This could boost the numbers of buying super-fast fibre optic broadband from the company, once again increasing revenue.

“At the moment there are very few households who genuinely really need fibre but that will change over time as demand for multiple live video viewing within a single household grows,” said Harding.
 
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I cannot say I am surprised at this, their over aggressive sales policies from four or five years ago meant they abused customers rights and from what I hear continue to do so. My friend was living in Switzerland at the time their salesman persuaded my friend's elderly mother who suffers from dementia to take their phone and broadband package. This has been paid for, for the last 3 years although she has never had a computer or modern mobile phone. When my friend's elderly mother was forced to move into a care home, my friend tried to get a refund from them as he still had the unopened broadband kit. TalkTalk claimed it was all part of the 'Talk Talk Essentials package' she had bought and would not offer a refund and when he tried to close the account they would not take instructions from him only his mother. Having finally gained power of lasting power of attorney after 7 months of waiting my friend paid £30.00 for a certified copy, sent it to Talk talk who proceeded to allow him to administer the account and promptly shredded the £30.00 LPA despite a return stamped addressed envelope being included with the document and letter. Needless to say his one and only act having gained LPA status was to close the account. One of many reading this report above, shame on you Talk Talk
 
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