Last week we unveiled the dramatic results of our Mobile Subscriber Experience Survey, conducted earlier this year with over 500 global respondents. As part of responding to the survey, we promised one lucky person would be selected at random to win a brand new iPad Mini, for all their binge-watching and cat meme video viewing pleasures. Holding true to our word, we used our fancy number-crunching, randomly-selecting highly scientific gizmos to select a lucky winner who turned out to be Alex Ball of Lexington, Kentucky, USA!
We spoke with Alex to get a closer look at his own mobile subscriber experience over his lifetime, shining the light on what makes individual consumers tick and the gaps between consumer and mobile operators’ perceptions about service.
While Alex is one of the most highly sought after demographics by mobile operators (he uses mobile services for both personal and business), he didn’t start out that way.
“I started out on Verizon in the early 2000s,” he recalls, “But tried T-Mobile, and also Cingular which later became AT&T. At the time it was all about cost-- I was in college. That was before the days of porting your phone number, and I remember changing my phone number a whole lot.”
But as time changed, motivations changed and his needs evolved—from college student, to businessman, to having children with their own devices and accounts—and while an operator may believe he is happy with his service because he is not a vocal customer, below the surface there is ultimately no real loyalty to the mobile provider. This sentiment is exactly what makes Alex part of the subscriber demographic teetering on the edge of churn.
“For the most part, my mindset now is-- I don’t want to screw around with switching between providers a lot. Not that I don’t care, I just don’t want to spend all the work playing a game of finding the best deal, features, etc. We haven’t been approached for a new plan or upgrade. But at the same time, I’m not exactly calling customer service to complaining to them about it.”
In fact, lack of personalized plans and personalized services especially at the point-of-sale has been a problem for Alex.
“It would be nice if they would work more to help the individual customers get exactly what they need, versus give every customer the cookie-cutter offering. Suppose I walk into a store and say ‘I want this phone, I want to pay X much per month.’ In my experience, it doesn’t seem like they go through much effort to make your goals happen. I know one friend who wanted to sign up his whole family for new mobile service but he waited until the second visit to the store to talk to someone else, because the customer service rep on the first visit only wanted to sell him on a plan, not find one that met the criteria based on his family’s needs.”
When asked about his worst experience with his mobile operator’s customer service, Alex conveyed a story that is all-too-familiar: trying to communicate with a customer service representative about a problem you’re experiencing that they in turn have no insight into; and their recommendations for fixing the problem are completely out of line with what the actual solution should be.
“I called one time when there was an outage, and it was pretty clear there was an outage because the phone wasn’t picking up a signal from the tower. I called to confirm if there was any local outage. But it was a huge pain to even get them to even admit I had a problem, I had to wait for them to acknowledge it was even real.”
But it got even worse.
“They wanted to reset the phone, all the way back to factory defaults—REALLY? You can’t just acknowledge there’s a service outage? We have to jump through these hoops? That was frustrating,” he said. “Proactive outreach acknowledging a local tower was down would have been awesome.” While the tower outage itself may not have been a forcing issue for Alex to consider alternate providers, the lack of customer service insight into his problems and subsequent poor technical support primed him for potential churn.
Ball’s final note ends sums things up with an ominous warning to mobile operators.
“Apathy is not loyalty. If I had another compelling offer out there, I would probably jump to it. I’m definitely out of contract.”
To learn more about how you can improve your mobile subscribers’ experience with Procera, get a free copy of our new book “Mobile Subscriber Experience for Dummies” and contact us to schedule a one-on-one consultation!