Nearly half of mobile subscribers in several global regions who were polled by a recent survey are unhappy with the level of customer service they receive from their mobile operators. According to the survey of 2,000 mobile users in Germany, Spain, Poland, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa conducted on behalf of French mobile network and subscriber intelligence provider Astellia, 48.5 percent of respondents experienced unsatisfactory engagement with their operator’s customer service teams. The survey found that 66 percent of consumers expect network-related problems to be solved in under one hour and that 28 percent are willing to wait one day. Yet most of the 40 mobile operators interviewed by Astellia said customers would wait up to one day for network problem to be fixed and 26 percent said they thought subscribers would wait up to three days.
If this finding with regard to customer satisfaction levels is truly representative of consumer sentiment, MNOs worldwide have some soul-searching to do. While the sampling is small and the number of countries included is also small, the countries have some diversity in terms of development level and mobile adoption, indicating that the problem is not limited to one type of market only. MNOs certainly recognize the need to build and improve networks and to offer competitively priced packages in order to retain customers and attract new ones; it appears that in their zeal to direct resources toward these goals, they may be neglecting the relatively humble task of attending to customer service.
In an increasingly competitive environment, superlative customer service can be a good way for an MNO to distinguish itself in the marketplace. The fact that the dissatisfaction rate, according to the survey, is almost 50 percent indicates that poor customer service is distributed fairly evenly through the mobile telecom sector; therefore, any operator that improves in this regard is likely to reap the benefits quickly. Astellia argues that operators should move toward a model that enables a real-time, holistic view of both the customer and the network, thus anticipating problems and preventing them before they happen. We concur with this view.