A new study says mobile phone customers are among the quickest to jump ship when they experience bad customer service. With long-term service contracts becoming a thing of the past, consumers know they’re freer than ever to find a new provider.
In the ‘Age of the Customer, as an influential Forrester Research paper dubbed these times, “brands are built — or broken — on customer experience,” says a new Ipsos and Medallia report titled “The Customer Experience Tipping Point” that resulted from surveying 2,000 consumers from the United States and a like number in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Medallia provide research and guidance for the ecommerce sector.
In the United States, one out of six mobile network customers said their providers failed to meet their expectations, and that leads to a companion statistic: Mobile consumers say they are less loyal than they were two years ago. And of those customers, 46% said “poor customer experience” ranks near the top of the list or irritants, right up there with price and choice as reasons they might look elsewhere. The insurance industry also ranks comparatively badly..
“Service is the real differentiator,” Rachel Lane, digital solutions principal at Medallia, tells Marketing Daily, and improving it includes a more judicial use of artificial intelligence resources. “When consumers hear a recording that says ‘you can expect to hear back in the next five days’ to work on a phone problem, they’re not going to wait. The consumer doesn’t have to look hard” to find another carrier.”
The insurance industry has about the same percentage that are less impressed by the customer experience than a couple years ago but customer service isn’t the problem; 49% say they’ve had a good customer experience.
The industry sectors doing the best with meeting customer expectations are online retail--only 3% feel disappointed--and offline retail, where just 6% do. Hotel companies and banks fall in the middle.
What does it mean? “Across all sectors, customers who reported that the brands they use exceeded their expectations were two to three times as likely to report an increase in loyalty as those who report that their expectations were merely met,” says the Medallia report. “Similarly, customers who report that their experiences failed to meet their expectations were less likely to report an increase in loyalty across all industries. nd that includes mobile phone providers.”
Medallia’s Lane says that, oddly enough, mobile providers were among the first to use artificial experience to help consumers but have lagged behind other industries in finding quick identifying ways to shift the customer with a specific or odd problem to a real expert. She says says the trick to improving service is “empowering employees to make decisions” on their own, and she says, the industry seems to be moving that way. The next stage of marketing in the cell phone business, she says, will be a race to improve the customer experience to woo defectors.