Both consumers and businesses say that they are more likely to stick with a telecommunications provider based on the quality of their experience as a customer rather than on the cost of the service, according to the global Customer Experience Survey from customer management software provider Amdocs.
The survey highlighted a level of frustration that many consumers (including business users) feel about the level of customer service they receive from telecoms providers, particularly when trying to reach a support agent.
The survey polled more than 1,000 consumers and 400 businesses in the USA and UK about interactions with their existing providers. It was found that domestic users have more complaints than their business counterparts about how their providers treat them, and the cost of services ranked lower than a good customer experience on the list of priorities for both groups of respondents.
Not just about price
According to Michael Matthews, chief marketing officer for Amdocs, "The survey shows that keeping customers happy isn't just about reducing prices. By adopting an better, more integrated customer management strategy, providers can get a fuller picture of their customer interactions. From there, they can identify real customer needs and provide an intentionally differentiated customer experience."
Consumers consistently registered their frustration at not being able to get a customer service agent on the phone quickly when they have a problem or a question. Indeed, 57% of consumers said they would even pay the equivalent of an extra US$5 per month if it meant that they would not be put on hold and not have to talk to multiple service agents when they use the provider's call centre.
All important services
Self service also continues to grow in importance. More than three out of four consumers said they want online access to their account, to handle administrative tasks such as viewing and paying bills. Only 45% of US businesses currently use self-service capabilities from their existing provider, but 70% wish they had more self-service options.
Businesses and consumers both said they want their providers to branch into whole new sets of services, too. More than half of businesses (56%) said they wanted their provider to offer systems integration and implementation services. However, they also want those new services to be cost-effective: when asked what drives their decision to buy new services, more than half (58%) of businesses said that cost was the most important factor.
Consumers wanted more digitally-based services. Among those surveyed, 30% of US consumers said they want their provider to offer services such as ring-tones, music downloads, and video games. In the UK, the wish list was slightly different, starting with text messaging and chat programmes, followed by video (such as TV shows and music videos). Interestingly, the least requested new service was "original mobile phone TV programming" (such as mini sitcoms). These services are so important to consumers that 53% said they would consider switching to a new provider to get them.