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Telecoms on shaky mobile ground

By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager

A new report from Capgemini Consulting   finds that nearly half (44%) of 5,700 global consumers surveyed would switch from a traditional service provider if  companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon introduced a mobile service. U.S. consumers reported even higher numbers at 52% and consumers cited ‘better service quality’ and ‘personalized experience’ as the main reasons for their dissatisfaction.  Sarah Pope, Principal, Digital CIO Advisory for Capgemini Consulting, North America, answered some questions for us.

What’s behind consumer dissatisfaction with mobile network carriers?

From our research, we have several indications of what’s behind the increasing dissatisfaction

between consumers and mobile network carriers. The reality is that the digital innovations and consumer behavior is evolving more rapidly than the network carriers and their supporting technology and processes. Consumers feel this, and ultimately lower their tolerance for waiting on carriers to meet their expectations, decreasing brand loyalty so much so that 46% expect to change carriers in the next year.

Where are the threats to these carriers coming from?

Consumer behavior is shifting largely to online and mobile app based engagement. We shop for our clothes and groceries, check in for flights, deposit checks, and read the news all from our mobile devices. A customer experience that takes consumers away from their screens or creates additional steps automatically creates friction. Most of the threat is coming from other adjacent players meeting consumer needs through digital channels that create a quick and seamless customer experience. You can look at the example of Google Fi, an edgy service that provides a fast, easy wireless experience and simplified pricing structure through partnering with multiple carriers and hardware providers.

Where does digital innovation come in?

Digital innovation comes in now and in every way. The data clearly shows that it’s imperative for carriers to innovate or they will become irrelevant. There is an increasing chasm of dissatisfaction between consumers and their carriers while over 62% of the highest paying customers are willing to switch to digital only providers. At the same time as understanding the

Sarah Pope

Sarah Pope

data, you have to know where you’re coming from in order to know where you want to go and how you’ll get there. That’s why leveraging frameworks like our Digital Maturity Assessment shows companies how to achieve higher digital maturity which clearly correlates with revenue growth and customer satisfaction.

What steps are the telcos taking?

We are seeing telco companies take steps to modernize their data capabilities, increase coverage, provide competitive data pricing, undergo all-channel transformations, and revamp their customer facing experiences. For example, some are trying to understand their customers better by leveraging consumer usage analytics and integrating that with customer service goals in order to drive a better technology roadmap.

What still needs to be done?

Data speaks louder than words. The correlation is very high between promoters and companies that are leveraging digital innovation in customer experience. Telco companies need to close the chasm between customer expectations and current satisfaction through challenging the status quo.

We set ourselves up for effective digital innovation when it’s anchored in the customer journey and a business case. When companies go through a Digital Maturity Assessment for example, they can prioritize needs and identify low hanging fruit that can create positive momentum with their customers while in parallel they can manage to tackle some of the more complex and transformative opportunities.

What’s in the future?

More convergence, more innovation, and bigger bets. Telco companies do not want their value to be reduced to that of a utility company when there is so much potential to pivot, mine their assets, and think of what’s possible given the consumer and market trends we’re seeing. They will begin going more head on to protect their market share with adjacent competitors like Facebook, Google and Apple, especially given that 44% of consumers said they would be willing to switch if those companies were to provide mobile services.

 

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