Faults with mobile phones and poor service from operators to help fix those faults are driving an increasing number of consumers to shift operators, according to a survey conducted by analyst company Ovum and mobile diagnostics solutions provider Cellebrite.
The survey of 4,000 consumers in the US, UK, China and Germany, found that 68% of consumer respondents had experienced an issue or malfunction with their mobile device in the past 12 months. Twelve percent of those who looked to their mobile operator for help, would not return to that operator to purchase their next device based on their customer service experience.
In these markets, where handsets are typically purchased as part of a plan from the mobile operator, the survey results highlighted the need for operators to improve their technical support capabilities for customers. Customer service was cited as one of the top three reasons for switching operator.
One out of every four calls to operators’ customer care centres involve trouble with a phone, and the survey also found a steep rise in software-related problems, which account for 40% of total faults. Around one third of respondents suffering from battery and applications-related malfunctions claimed they first turned to their mobile operator or retailer for help.
Fourteen percent of respondents stated that, based on the operators’ inability to fix their problem quickly and satisfactorily, they would look to purchase their next handset from a different provider.
“The findings from this study reveal the extent of the challenge facing mobile operators: a sizable percentage of consumers are growing frustrated with their mobile service providers after experiencing problems that are completely outside of the operators’ control,” said Angel Dobardziev and Michael Philpott, co-authors of the report. “While hardware and operating system faults have stabilised, software-related or ‘soft’ faults, caused by such issues as malware-laden and faulty applications, have increased four-fold, leading to increased customer service costs and affecting customer satisfaction.”
When asked about the research, Shaheryar Zameer, head of Telecommunication Solutions CIS, Middle East and Africa at Gemalto, said that experience and quality of network changes with the time and it is really difficult to measure because there are a lot of external factors that affects it.
“From the end users device, the data available is real time. How operators help or stop the user churning across is by being able to think about the issues that might happen by having data available by the time that this problem happens. Then you have a faster response to solve that problem,” Zameer added.
Operators in the region are aware of this trend and are improving their real time analytic tools to enhance their customer service.
Moreover, other telcos in the region are working with the Global Certification Forum (GCF). The entity core objective is to assure the interoperability of wireless products by means of a globally-recognised industry certification process which ensures compliance of products to agreed standards.
In the region, du is one of the operators working with them. Furthermore, du built its Terminals Innovation Lab which includes a network simulator, which enables to optimise the field testing cost; a fader or emulator, which permits to replay real network live scenarios in unlimited loops; and a customer experience enhancement tool, which provides insights of how the customers experience the NW and help it to close the gap between network KPIs and end-user KPIs.
“The Ovum study validates the true business impact of smartphone faults-customer dissatisfaction, added costs, and increased churn-and highlights the need for more advanced, easier-to-use applications that can identify smartphone issues and allow the user to resolve them at the click of a button,” said Amir Lehr, executive vice president of Products and Business Development at Cellebrite. “Nearly 80% of consumers said they would most likely use self-diagnostic tools as a first step to issue resolution. Operators can dramatically improve the customer care experience and reduce their own cost with a multi-channel approach that puts easy-to-use self-service tools in customers’ hands and equips operators’ own service personnel with solutions that turn even novices into expert technicians.”