Poor Customer Care is a Prime Cause of Churn for More Than Half of Mobile Subscribers

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A new survey conducted by Ovum on behalf of Tektronix Communications reveals that a third of all consumers cite poor quality customer care as the most important reason for changing their mobile service provider with over half stating it as one of the key reasons for switching.

With 23% of mobile subscribers only rating their operator 'five out of ten' or less for customer care and up to a quarter of subscribers planning to change provider in the next 12 months, the results underline the cause for concern that exists. The survey also points to a lack of consumer confidence in the ability of customer care agents to deal with and pinpoint the source of problems quickly. When asked to rate the ability of customer care agents to resolve an issue, respondents were least confident in an agent's ability to address poor network coverage, followed by a lack of confidence in the operator's ability to deal with poor handset performance or dropped calls.

Offering his view on the survey results, Lyn Cantor, President of Tektronix Communications explained that improvements in problem response speed can be achieved by empowering care teams with effective end-to-end diagnosis and problem solving tools: "Our view is that whilst network upgrades remain critical to performance improvements, the greatest threat to superior customer care and customer experience lies in the siloed organizational structures and fragmented intelligence that exists within most operator businesses.

"Operators need to combine the data they own with applications that link workflows between their network operations and customer care organizations to speed up identification and resolution of problems. The goal here is to improve the process from open trouble ticket to closed trouble ticket, leading to a fast and efficient dialogue with the subscriber."

The survey commissioned by Tektronix Communications, canvassed 3,500 mobile subscribers across EMEA, U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Operators risk losing up to a quarter of their subscribers, with 24% of respondents stating their intention to leave their mobile operator in the next 12 months. Almost a quarter of respondents admitted that they had changed providers in the last 18 months, with another 42% stating that they were at best undecided on changing providers.

According to the survey, the key drivers for churn among mobile subscribers are poor value for money (38%), network quality (34%) and a limited range of services and features offered by their mobile operator compared to other services available on the market (27%). Poor quality customer care was cited by 30% of respondents as the most important reason behind their decision to leave their mobile operator, with 53% stating it as one of several key reasons behind changing provider. The survey indicates that operators can improve customer care through speed of response to customer enquiries. It also reveals that an overwhelming 69% of subscribers expected to be able to reach a customer care agent quickly, with a further 64% placing great emphasis on how quickly their query is resolved by the agent.

"Operators can't rely on price and competitive service offerings alone to retain and attract customers," added Cantor. "Customer care has become a critical success factor and is often one of the few differentiators in an increasingly commoditized marketplace. Approaching the challenge differently, leveraging innovation and information from the network and focusing on a "lean approach" to process cycle-time reduction is what we believe is missing in the operator's approach today to drive breakthrough results. The results of the survey demonstrate that operators face the possibility of losing almost one in four subscribers to the competition unless they can ensure that customers are receiving levels of care that live up to their expectations.

"Subscribers' expectations of their service provider have changed as they consume mobile data services, using their devices to browse the web, stream video and access social media applications. Customer care is the key touch point for all subscribers when engaging with their operator and it needs to be able to keep pace with the needs of the end user. This can be achieved by arming customer care teams with the summarized performance data from the network in real time, delivering a lens into a subscribers' last 10-20 calls and quickly being able to identify, communicate and direct trouble ticket actions around the degradation in voice, video or data services and the location they were in when it occurred."

Angel Dobardziev, Consulting Director at Ovum's Customer Insights team who lead the research, concluded: "The study shows that quality of customer care is a key concern for mobile users. If an operator is not equipped to cater for subscriber needs then it could significantly influence their decision to churn. Consumers want to be able to get through to a customer care agent promptly and they want their queries to be resolved quickly and effectively. As it stands, apart from dealing with billing queries, consumers don't feel customer service agents are equipped to do this as well as they should."

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Tags: tektronix communications 

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