Ads Leading Reason Mobile Subscribers Consider Rival Carriers

August 30, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Brand Metrics | Customer Service & Experience | Data-driven | Mobile Phone | Telecom

cmocouncil-top-reasons-considering-new-mobile-carriers-aug2012.pngAds are the top reason why mobile subscribers who consider switching carriers look at new options, according to [download page] results from a CMO Council survey, sponsored by Ricoh and released in August. Among respondents who had thought about switching carriers in the previous year, 16% said their top reason was having seen a lot of ads about other companies. Despite advertising’s apparent influence, it is worth noting that just 11% of the total survey sample had considered canceling service or transferring accounts to a different carrier in the previous 12 months. An additional 18% had done so.

Only 3 in 10 Are Loyalists

According to the study, mobile subscribers don’t perceive themselves to be extremely loyal to their providers. Only 29% of the sample identified as loyalists – who would stick with their provider rain or shine. 24% said they were on the fence, and would switch based on better service, packages, or phone upgrades, while another 14% are apathetic, not caring about who they do business with as long as their phone works.

Only 43% Fully Satisfied With Service

11% of mobile subscribers identify as concerned – in that they believe service is slipping, and they are questioning if they should find a new carrier with better service. Separately, when asked their greatest concerns or complaints about their carrier, 17% cited poor quality of service, second only to hidden fees or unexplained costs (21%), and tied with high fees for texting and accessing the internet.

Overall, only 43% of the subscribers surveyed said that they believe the customer service, attention, or experience they receive is commensurate with the fees they pay. 25% said no, and the remaining 31% said sometimes.

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), customer satisfaction with wireless carriers dropped a point to an index score of 70 this year (on a 100-point scale). This was on par with fixed line services and ahead of other information sectors such as newspapers (64) and pay TV (66), but behind other sectors such as cellular phones (74), network cable news (74), motion pictures (76), and computer software (77).

Subscribers Skeptical About Response to Negative Feedback

Further details from The CMO Council’s “What’s Critical in the Verticals | Telecommunications” indicate that subscribers most commonly react to a negative customer experience by calling customer service and lodging a complaint (41%), canceling service (36%), and emailing customer service to lodge a complaint (31%). Roughly 3 in 10 are vocal about the experience, telling everyone they know.

Even so, most don’t believe their negative reaction would prompt a change in actions from the provider. Asked whether their reaction would move the provider to change, a leading 29% share of respondents said no, the company simply would not care, while a further 18% said no, but they would expect some form of apology or communication from the company, and another 16% said the company would not address the concerns of one person out of a million.

35% indicated that the company would change their actions, yet only 11% said it was because their carrier is attentive and customer-centric.

Other Findings:

  • A plurality (29%) of respondents indicated that they had done business with their current provider for 1-3 years.
  • The most common reason given by those who had left a carrier in the previous 12 months was prices being too high (48%), followed by the new company offering better rates with more all-inclusive options (26%) and poor service quality (calls dropping or bad reception – 23%). 13% said a negative experience in-store or with customer service had prompted their switch.
  • 59% of respondents said their provider had informed them about other products or services that might be relevant to their life. 38% did not purchase or upgrade, while 21% acted on the information.
  • The most mobile popular activities subscribers engage in are: phone calls (84%); text messaging (73%); taking photos with a built-in camera (48%); accessing the internet (39%); and checking personal emails (31%). According to the most recent comScore data, 75% of US mobile subscribers used text messaging in the 3-month period ending in June 2012, while 50.2% used browsers.

About the Data: The CMO Council data is based on a survey of 1,660 mobile subscribers from the US (53%), Western Europe (27%), the UK (16%), Eastern Europe (3%), and other (0% – presumably rounded). 52% of respondents are female, and 59% are aged 18-44. Services respondents have include: voice (82%); SMS (59%); and data (51%).

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