People are demanding more connectivity and higher quality of service – and are ready to pay for it, according to Amdocs research into consumer attitudes. The company recently released the results of a global study into consumer behavior and attitudes as we move into the connected world, particularly that consumers are prepared to pay a premium for increased connectivity and quality of service.
The research, conducted by Coleman Parkes, surveyed more than 4,700 consumers of various age groups in 14 countries, spanning North and South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Consumers embrace the connected world
The survey found that consumers have quickly adapted to the connected world and expect to see continued evolution:
- Demand ubiquitous connectivity (and are willing to pay for it) – More than 70 percent of respondents expect to be able do more on their mobile device. As a result, more than two-thirds of consumers expect and want their mobile device to connect to a wide range of other devices, such as televisions (43 percent) and cars (38 percent), and to have the ability to access their content from any device (54 percent). More than 40 percent of respondents are willing to pay a premium for this connectivity.
- Function over fashion – Almost two-thirds of respondents strongly agreed the mobile phone is an essential part of how they run their lives, with almost half viewing it as a social enabler. Consequently, when selecting a device, functionality was seen by respondents as eight times more important than appearance. According to the survey, people use their mobile phones for a number of core functions aside from simple voice calls and text messaging, including managing contacts (100 percent), calendar management (100 percent), and more recent features such as picture messaging (70 percent), Internet search (68 percent) and browsing (67 percent), mobile games (66 percent) and social networking (63 percent).
Back to Basics: Consumers demand more value in the connected world
Almost two-thirds of respondents stated that the best way for a service provider to improve their relationship with customers was to start offering them services they want, rather than what service providers think they want. There appears to be a clear opportunity for service providers to increase revenue, as consumers are willing to pay a premium for quality of service.
- Quality of network a top priority – With more than two-thirds of respondents utilizing the mobile Web for simple searches (43 percent), webmail (30 percent), social networking (38 percent) and location-based services (21 percent), the issue of network performance is rising to the top of the consumer agenda, particularly as respondents cited poor coverage (19 percent) and poor network availability (17 percent) as reasons for leaving their current provider. As more devices become connected, service providers are rolling out new technologies such as 4G and FTTx in order to address the capacity crunch, as well as exploring policy management solutions to enforce traffic flows and enable premium rate charging. Service providers able to deliver this higher level of network performance will benefit with respondents willing to pay a premium for the ability to use all services and applications from any device (40 percent)and data bundles that are applicable across all devices (25 percent).
- Delivering value is about control – While four out of every five respondents state that they look for the best deal when selecting a mobile provider, flexibility (75 percent) and the ability to add new bundles and service plans (57 percent) are also top priorities for consumers, showing the need for service providers to have agile and flexible charging environments in place. Respondents show a clear preference for price plans which provide greater control over expenditure such as pre-paid (41 percent) or dynamic pricing models.
- Keep It Simple: Consumers still lost, want education – Almost half of all consumers feel that mobile device capabilities are hard to understand. With 79 percent of respondents stating they personalize their mobile phones to make their lives easier, service providers need to put in place and promote a multi-touch point platform to provide constant and consistent educational tools for their subscribers. At present, respondents are more likely to turn to family and friends with the same (37 percent) or even a different phone (19 percent) for advice, than contact the service provider by phone (13 percent) or email (7 percent).
Consumers expect service providers to deliver the connected world
Consumers demand high quality of service from their service providers across every point of contact, with 60 percent of respondents stating they would leave if they got poor service.
- No magic bullet for customer churn – Half of all respondents state that their service provider does not currently meet their exact needs, but the research found there was no one, common reason for consumers changing service providers. The most popular reasons for switching providers are a better offer from a rival (30 percent), poor customer service (20 percent), poor coverage (19 percent), poor network availability (17 percent) and increasing costs of service (17 percent). The research showed that subscribers review their tariffs and payment plans on an ongoing basis, with over one quarter reviewing every six months, and one in four wanting more tailored deals. Service providers thus need to plan and design personalized marketing initiatives, and then execute them effectively over the best channel for the consumer.
- Faster response, quality of customer service essential – When respondents were asked what they would like to change in their relationship with their service provider, shorter response time on calls (47 percent) and more proactive outreach (27 percent) are the most cited, highlighting the need for service providers to equip their call-center teams with the relevant technology and information to address basic customer inquiries quickly, reduce call handling time and increase customer satisfaction. Around one in five consumers also state they would be willing to pay a premium for this level of customer service, putting it alongside regular and agreed device upgrades and cool devices in terms of priorities.
“Today’s consumers, regardless of their location, expect to consume services and content across networks and devices and combine multiple channels to interact, discover, buy and get support in a consistent and simple way. They are also willing to pay for better connected experiences,” said Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president of product and solutions marketing at Amdocs. “Service providers therefore need business flexibility. They need systems that can accommodate any line of business, any subscriber type and any payment method in order to capture the connected world opportunities. This requires systems that offer cost-efficient scalability, high availability, support innovative pricing and business models and ensure quick time to market.”