Nearly one in five German customers could change their mobile provider—more than double the amount who were considering switching before the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), according to a report that noted that many Germans have re-examined their contracts during the crisis and shutdown period. Eighteen percent of respondents stated that they would like to change their mobile service provider at some point in the future, 7 percent said they want to change now and 75 percent said they will remain loyal to their current provider.
Among the operators, Deutsche Telekom performed well, with 84 percent of customers wishing to continue to subscribe to its contracts, while Telefonica ended up in the middle of the ranking and Vodafone underperformed. Seventy-three percent of customers said they wanted to continue their Vodafone mobile phone contract and 18 percent said they wanted to change provider. Two companies performed even worse than Vodafone, namely 1&1 and Mobilcom Debitel.
One perhaps unanticipated side-effect of the pandemic appears to be—at least in Germany, a highly sophisticated market—a lack of satisfaction among mobile customers and a determination to do something about it.
Subscribers depended more than ever on mobile service during the shutdown, and in many cases this period of intensity seems to have revealed shortcomings in operators’ performance. Presumably, placing greater demand than normal on operators’ networks and plan offerings demonstrated to 25 percent of the respondents that these were lacking to the point where migrating to a rival operator is either a certainty (7 percent) or a very real possibility (18 percent).
Operators should certainly take warning, because these results are counterintuitive. Many service providers must have assumed that customers would be especially grateful to have service available for personal and work use during the shutdown, and while 75 percent state that they remain loyal, the balance constitutes quite a big number. That fact that the percentage of those considering leaving their provider doubled from before the outbreak indicates that the new demands exposed, in the eyes of these customers, weaknesses that they either were unaware of previously or did not consider important.
All the German operators—even DT, at the top of the ranking—clearly should take warning from this study and endeavor to provide ever-better service now that the peak of the pandemic seems to have passed. That goes equally well for the future—either post-pandemic or a second wave, should it come to that.