A third of all consumers cite poor quality customer care as the most important reason for changing their mobile service provider, with over half stating it as one of the key reasons for switching, according to research.
Analyst Ovum questioned over 3,500 consumers globally for its research, and found that 23 percent of mobile subscribers rated their operator only "five out of ten" or less for customer care, and up to a quarter of subscribers planned to change provider in the next 12 months.
Almost a quarter of respondents said they had changed providers in the last 18 months, with another 42 percent stating they were at best "undecided" on changing providers.
According to the survey, the key drivers for churn among mobile subscribers are "poor value for money" (38 percent), "network quality" (34 percent), and a limited range of services and features offered by their mobile operator "compared to other services available on the market" (27 percent).
Poor quality customer care was cited by 30 percent of respondents as the most important reason behind their decision to leave their mobile operator, with 53 percent stating it as one of several key reasons behind changing provider.
The survey indicates that operators can improve customer care through speed of response to customer enquiries. It also reveals that an overwhelming 69 percent of subscribers expected to be able to reach a customer care agent quickly, with a further 64 percent placing great emphasis on how quickly their query is resolved by the agent.
But the survey points to a lack of consumer confidence in the ability of customer care agents to deal with and pinpoint the source of problems quickly.
When asked to rate the ability of customer care agents to resolve an issue, respondents were least confident in an agent’s ability to address poor network coverage, followed by a lack of confidence in the operator’s ability to deal with poor handset performance or dropped calls.
Angel Dobardziev, an Ovum analyst, said: “The study shows that quality of customer care is a key concern for mobile users. If an operator is not equipped to cater for subscriber needs then it could significantly influence their decision to churn.
"Consumers want to be able to get through to a customer care agent promptly and they want their queries to be resolved quickly and effectively. As it stands, apart from dealing with billing queries, consumers don’t feel customer service agents are equipped to do this as well as they should.”
The research was commissioned by mobile industry assurance firm Tektronix Communications.
Lyn Cantor, president of Tektronix Communications, said: “Despite significant investment in human resource and infrastructure improvements in recent times, customer care continues to be a challenge for operators, impacting key KPI’s such as customer satisfaction and NPS scores, and presenting an ever increasing risk of churn.”