Good Service Will Keep Mobile Phone Customers
from the well,-duh... dept
It’s a bit scary that a study like this is even necessary, but with local number portability rules going into effect in just a few months, the wireless carriers are scrambling to figure out how to keep their customers from jumping ship to another (probably equally as dreadful) wireless carriers. J.D. Power and Associates has come up with a suggestion that is (of course) obvious to everyone except those who work for wireless carriers: treat your customers right and they’ll stick around. Of course, it’s probably too late for many of the carriers who have done their best over the years to make the experience of having a mobile phone with them one of the most aggravating experiences around. Not surprisingly, the study found that customers who felt they had received good levels of customer service were much less likely to jump ship than those who were upset with the service levels.
Comments on “Good Service Will Keep Mobile Phone Customers”
J.D. Power and Associates has come up with a suggestion that is (of course) obvious to everyone except those who work for wireless carriers: treat your customers right and they’ll stick around.
There are certainly a lot of companies who need to hear this…ahmm, RIAA, ahmm, MPAA, ahmm, SBC, ahmm, etc…
Its funny, we used to have this as a common rule of doing business, then suddenly they stopped teaching it in business school and everyone stopped following it. It is nice that we are relearning it, but what sort of damage will be the result for future generations.
View from the inside on network service....
My company observes the wireless industry from the inside and from a customer service point of view, most carriers treat customer service as an expense rather than an investment.
Some carriers use software that we created that allows them to deal with customer complaints about service and to facilitate a bi-directional information flow to the engineers that make it all work. Without some system like this, it’s analogous to FedEx not being able to provide information on your missing package. In this day and age, people would be appalled and FedEx would be out of business. But the wireless industry tends to work like this.
The front-line people who take your complaints at the carriers have little information about the network service available to them. They typically don’t know where it is supposed to work, what type of services are available in an area, roaming information, or even if the system was running properly when you had a problem. So when a customer calls in to complain about a dropped call or static or echo, the front-line representative can’t possibly help nor does much accurate information ever reach the engineers. The best they usually do is provide some free minutes. The reality is the carriers can provide much more detailed information about their product.
Many businesses wouldn’t survive if they lost 20% to 30% of their customers every year. In wireless, it’s the norm. Maybe public pressure through governmental agencies and the competitive pressures through Local Number Portability will do the trick.
(btw the software that we market to the carrier is called OneCall(tm). See http://www.empower.com/onecall )
Re: View from the inside on network service....
The front-line people who take your complaints at the carriers have little information about the network service available to them. They typically don’t know where it is supposed to work, what type of services are available in an area, roaming information, or even if the system was running properly when you had a problem.
Amen. I know this is going to surprise the hell out of some of you (possibly even Mike,) but despite the fact that I hate SBC with a passion, I do have my wireless service through Cingular (an SBC devision.) I love the service Cingular gives (obviously they were an acquisition, since SBC certainly didn’t teach them how to be customer friendly.)
Cingular has a big problem with coverage, but it is getting better, and while there are some areas in San Diego where my phone is a doorstop, for the most part those places have no coverage for any of the wireless providers. Now I personally don’t have a problem with coverage, because the phone has been useful when I needed it to be.
But the problem I have, though I am sure this is a problem with most carriers, is that Cingular doesn’t really have anyone qualified to troubleshoot a defective phone over the support lines. I’ve had a phone go bad on me twice, and both times it took a call and two visits to the office before the phone could be fixed. In one case, there really wasn’t anything wrong, just that the contacts to the battery needed to be cleaned, which I could have done. The other time, the phone was dead, and the only fix was to replace the phone.
Not a big ding in my book, I still love Cingular, and compared to Verizon (“can you hear the money being removed from your pockets now?”) I won’t be leaving too quickly from Cingular (if only SBC would spin them off, since SBC is an obvious lead weight for their business.)