Can you commercialise trust?

Written by on March 5, 2015 in BillingViews, Opinion with 0 Comments

mobile soccerWe have often said that an operator’s largest potential asset is trust. This theory is borne out by the latest customer experience spotlight survey from Amdocs. 80 percent of the respondents to the survey said that they would not switch to Digital Service Providers (DSPs) – formerly ‘OTT players’ – such as Google, Amazon or Facebook, because they had privacy issues with them. They also mentioned ‘internet quality’ and ‘distrust.’ Interestingly, customers in North America were more loyal to their operator than elsewhere – 20 percent of those respondents said they would switch if they could.

The survey dug into customers’ experiences with their operator and found that 63 percent would recommend their operator, the main reason being ‘customer care/experience.’ This sounds like good news for operators, but the survey also showed that a huge 71 percent had been with their current provider for less than two years. This figure would seem to throw into question the loyalty of these customers, particularly the 50 percent who had been with their operator for less than a year. While customers seem happy and loyal, that loyalty also seems short lived and there should be no let up at improving customer service.

Price is still an issue, yet customers now expect coverage and connectivity anywhere. High bandwidth applications such as video and TV are mostly watched on public WiFi. These two factors both point to the continuing lack of clarity around mobile data pricing. Customers simply do not know how much data they are using or are about to use and wait until they can connect to WiFi before watching TV. Operators need to address this as a matter of urgency, otherwise they open themselves up to a whole new range of competitors. Already cable companies are aggressively rolling out public WiFi, to steal mobile operators’ customers. In fact, if public WiFi becomes ubiquitous, and if Google (even given the lack of trust) can deliver WiFi or something like it from balloons, then there is a serious problem. Not only does it put current mobile data technology and therefore business models at risk, it casts a dark shadow over the viability of emerging technologies such as 5G. It is all very well for the CEO of a Korean company to dream of going to work in a driver less car, and watching a hologram of his daughter doing ballet, but if WiFi was available in the car, would you need 5G?

Meanwhile the quad play trophy is also still there for the taking with only nine percent subscribing to triple or quad play services from the same provider. 60 percent have just one service.

It is a mixed bag of results. One the one hand operators have more trust than DSPs, and must take advantage of that through increased simplicity and security. On the other there is much to worry about, in churn, pricing for data and public WiFi.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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