What are the odds you've been let down by your phone or internet provider?

Flip a coin – they’re about that.

New findings from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) show that one in two Australians have had phone or internet issues in the past year – equating to potentially 10 million affected users.

Presenting the results of its first such survey, which interviewed 3,000 Australians, was Ombudsman Judi Jones.

“Today's results show us that everyone with responsibility for planning and delivering telecommunications service has to make things better,” she said.

“Phone and the internet services are essential services, making a vital difference to families, within communities and to business.”

Jones also revealed that 20% of respondents had encountered more than one issue, and that one in four issues were still not resolved after four months.

The findings were worse for small businesses, with 60% facing issues and 25% experiencing more than one issue.

However, Jones pointed out that while millions of Australians had faced these issues, far fewer had taken action.

“Our research also tells us that only 12% of people who had a serious issue contacted the TIO,” she said.

“Which means that their complaints could have been quickly resolved – but remember 25 per cent of issues were not resolved after four months.

“Would you wait for four months for a service?”

Jones advised customers to contact their phone or internet provider as soon as a problem arose to ensure it is dealt with swiftly, explaining how complaints can strengthen the industry.

“By focusing on complaints phone and internet providers will be in a much better position to understand the needs of their consumers.”

The value of customer service was also highlighted by Jones.

“Make sure you understand the problem from the perspective of the person making the complaint. Try to walk in their shoes.”

“Ask open questions and don’t assume you know what either the problem is or what has caused the problem.”

She explained that dealing with complaints quickly and effectively was a way to build customer loyalty, while unresolved complaints were a common reason why customers left a provider.