Survey shows mobile network operators need to invest in customer service as dissatisfaction grows
London, UK. April 28, 2015: New research from MobileSquared on behalf of Astellia, a provider of network and subscriber intelligence for mobile network operators (MNOs), has revealed that almost 50% of mobile subscribers are unhappy with the level of customer service they receive from their mobile operators.
The survey results are based on 2,000 individual responses from subscribers contacting their MNO in the last 24 months. The sample was drawn from operators in six countries; Germany, Morocco, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa and Spain. When liaising with operators about a customer service issue, 48.5% of people surveyed believe they have had a less-than satisfactory engagement with their mobile network.
In the survey, 66% of subscribers expect a network-related problem to be resolved within one hour. Only 28% of consumers are prepared to wait up to 24 hours. This contrasts starkly with the findings from the MNOs themselves, the majority of whom believe their customers will wait up to one day for network problems to be resolved, and a further 26% expecting their customers will wait up to three days. This is despite the fact that the MNOs themselves also admit that more than 50% of network-related calls are not resolved on the first attempt and require an additional call-back.
Get it right first time
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 43% of mobile operator respondents believe that an improved customer experience will be achieved through the ability to increase their first call resolution (FCR). Unfortunately for them, however, more than one-third of mobile customers state that their MNO did not have access to the relevant information when dealing with their network-related problem during the call, such as customer usage, location details, network data, and quality of experience.
Half of the MNOs themselves also believe that their contact centres do not have the requisite tools to deal with customer problems. “This is why the MNOs might change their tools,” says Cedric Arnaud-Battandier, Astellia’s CMO. “Getting a new subscriber is eight times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”
“As voice and messaging services become increasingly commoditised and the pressure from OTT providers prevents MNOs from entering competitive price wars, we are seeing customer experience emerge as the new battleground for operators,” adds Arnaud-Battandier.
Only one in four customers would ‘promote’ their operator
The research also found that only 27% of mobile users would be classified as a Promoter of their MNO according to Net Promoter Scores (NPS), 30% would be Passive, and 43% would be termed as Detractors. Amazingly, not one MNO respondent believed their customers would rate their satisfaction as a Promoter.
More than a third (36%) of MNOs therefore cite improving their NPS as a clear ambition; increasing the percentage of Promoters and migrating Detractors into Passives with a long-term aim of becoming Promoters. To achieve this requires increased first call resolution, which can only be achieved if the contact centre has a real-time holistic view of every mobile user.
Two-thirds of customers in the survey expect their operator to find an answer to their problem within six minutes. But as Arnaud-Battandier says, “This can’t happen if the customer has to describe the problem three times to different agents. MNOs need to empower Level 1 agents to identify and resolve issues; yet these agents are representatives for three businesses, the network, the device, and the app.”
To improve their customer experience management strategy MNOs have started to migrate their network-centric organisation to a customer-centric model. This not only involves an internal restructuring, but also a significant shift in mind-set throughout the entire company, from call centre agents to middle management and all the way up to C-suite personnel. The same research found that MNOs that have moved to a customer-centric model are already reporting a 17% increase in customer satisfaction and a 21% decrease in the number of complaints over a 12-month period.
This transition does not happen overnight though. MNOs that have undertaken this customer-centric model evolution claim it takes between 18-24 months, and often happens in conjunction with the development of a Service Operations Centre (SOC) which allows marketing, network operations and customer care teams to work together more effectively.
According to Cedric Arnaud-Battandier, “The data revealed by this research shows that MNOs still have a long way to go when it comes to customer service excellence. This is a clear call to action for operators to progress towards a more customer-centric model that enables a real-time, holistic view of both the customer and the network; preventing problems before they occur. This will ease pressure on contact centres, reduce the time required to resolve a call, limit the number of call-backs, and massively increase the number of satisfied customers, driving up NPS, lowering FCR and, crucially, operating expenditure.”
Asked by VanillaPlus why customer experience is only now coming to the top of the agenda, Arnaud-Battandier says, “It’s because of saturation of the market, especially in markets where people have multiple SIMs, so you want subscribers to use your network more than your competitors.”
There appears to be some worrying ignorance within operators of their own contact centre set-up.
“If you ask an operator, ‘How many tools do you customer care agents use?’ they don’t know. Agents have as many as 10 windows open on screen to try and find the right answers. It’s all about having a 360 degree view of the consumer, in a single window. Then they can immediately see if it needs deep resolution, so they can transfer the call immediately to ensure they meet the six-minute rule,” Arnaud-Battandier concludes.
Click here for a copy of the white paper on the research and the implications for MNOs: