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* Unique impartial star rating
* New players challenge BT on service as well as cost

Toucan beats BT to the top spot to be the first supplier awarded a five-star rating by the uSwitch.com home telephone service rating. The impartial ‘Service Rating’ from independent online and freephone comparison and switching service uSwitch.com provides customers FOR THE FIRST TIME with the opportunity to rate the range of services offered by suppliers, allowing them to assess other factors, beyond price, when considering switching to a new supplier.

Top of the table for Service Rating
Rank % Score Supplier Star-rating
1 74.2% Toucan *****
2 73.3% BT ****
3 70.6% Argos Telecom ****
4 66.0% gotalk ****
5 63.8% Telewest ****
6 61.8% One.Tel ****
Data supplied by www.uSwitch.com Home Telephone Calculator

Bottom of the table for Service Rating
Rank % Score Supplier Star-rating
20 36.0% Tele2 **
21 33.9% Kingston **
22 29.1% VarTec Telecom **
23 26.5% Telecom Plus **
24 26.0% Homecall **
25 24.5% Tiscali *
Data supplied by www.uSwitch.com Home Telephone Calculator


Jon Miller, Director at uSwitch.com comments: “While the price war continues to rage between home telephone suppliers, consumers are upping the ante by demanding more in terms of service. As our rating shows, the newer players are responding to this demand by raising the stakes.

Providing customers with choice is the name of the game for suppliers wanting to offer more appealing packages; uSwitch.com research found that while more than a third (37.7%) of home phone users prefer to contact customer services by phone, the same number (38.38%) prefer to contact customer services by email and overall, nearly half (47.48%) of home phone users want 24 hour weekday and weekend access to advisors.

Suppliers also need to be able to provide a range of payment and billing methods; almost half (40.48%) of people currently manage their bills online, but more than half (50.27%) still prefer to receive a paper bill.

Miller continues: “Our service rating means that customers are not only able to find the best value deal, but can also identify and compare elements like billing facilities, online availability and customer services, therefore ensuring they switch to the supplier best suited to their individual needs. Companies like Toucan, gotalk and One.Tel have shown that it is possible to provide a wide range of services alongside competitive pricing – the gauntlet has been laid down for all suppliers to do the same.”

Joseph Blass Managing Director of Toucan said: " We are delighted with these results which validate our relentless efforts to provide an excellent range of services to our customers as well as excellent prices. At Toucan we put great emphasis on quality and we are carefully planning to maintain and even improve on our service to the customer as we introduce our new ToucanSurf Internet products into the market."

The service rating is based on publicly available, factual information about the services offered from each supplier and is made up of three main categories; billing, online account facilities and customer services. The rating assigns 5 stars to the top supplier, 1 to the bottom supplier and then distributes 2, 3 and 4 stars to suppliers who fall with evenly distributed boundaries. The overall star rating for each supplier will be displayed on the results table. The data used in the service rating will be updated on a quarterly basis.

For more information visit uSwitch.com or call Freephone 0800 093 06 07

- Ends -

For further information please contact:

Jennifer Evans, uSwitch.com on 0207 8022923 or Jennifer.evans@uswitch.com
Helen Wallace, Lansons Communications on 0207 294 3604 or Helenw@lansons.com
Fi Khan, Lansons Communications on 0207 294 3661 or fik@lansons.com
Bill Boyle, WHB Communications (Toucan) on 07764 786 488 or bill@whbcommunications.com

Notes to editors:

*Research was carried out by eDigitalResearch.com on behalf of uSwitch.com Communications between 02 July 2004 and 27 July 2004. 4000 responses were collected.

· Price comparison tables are available on request.


Questions & Answers:

Q. How does the rating work?
A. The rating works by assigning a score to each service offered by a particular supplier. The scores for each service are derived from a survey of 4,000 people carried out by the market research company eDigitalResearch. The survey asked consumers how important they felt certain factors were. For example, a freephone contact number had a relatively high importance, while being able to update your services online had a relatively low importance.
The results were used to assign a score to each service offered by a supplier. These scores were added-up to give each supplier a score in each of the three categories: billing, online account management and customer services. The three categories are weighted and totalled to provide an overall score for each supplier.

NOTE: the relative importance of each category is derived from the customer survey.

Q. Why does only one supplier get 5 stars?
A. The rating has been designed to clearly demonstrate the top and bottom suppliers, and to help consumers differentiate between providers. Therefore only the highest-scoring supplier receives 5 stars, and only the lowest-scoring supplier receives 1 star. If more than one supplier has the same top score, they will all receive 5 stars. Similarly, if more than one supplier has the same lowest score they will all get 1 star.

Q. How are the remaining stars allocated?
A. The remaining two, three and four star ratings are allocated depending on where suppliers fall within three equal boundaries between the highest and lowest scores. For example, if the boundary for a three star rating is between 41-56 then a supplier achieving a score of 53 would be awarded three stars.

Q. How often will the rating be updated?
A. The supplier data used in the rating will be audited every 3 months. The survey used to derive the weightings will be carried out every 6 months.


uSwitch.com is a free, impartial online and phone based comparison and switching service that helps consumers compare prices on gas, electricity, home telephone, digital television, broadband providers and personal finance products. Our aim is to help customers take advantage of the best tariffs and services on offer from every supplier. The company has developed a series of calculators that evaluate a number of key factors including price, location, service and payment method, and advises consumers on the best deal to suit their needs.

If they chose to, consumers can switch online or freephone customer services direct.

The service is also available via telephone, fax and post. Consumers can call on 0800 093 06 07, fax 020 7233 5933 or write to Customer Services, uSwitch.com, 10th Floor, Portland House, Stag Place, London, SW1E 5BH , with their postcode and usage details.

uSwitch.com is not a supplier but acts as an independent advisor, giving consumers an impartial view of what’s on offer.



This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of WHB Communications in the following categories: Men's Interest, Women's Interest & Beauty, Consumer Technology, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.