Would it be unsettling if you learned that 4 out every 10 of your customers are thinking about switching to a competitor? For many business owners and marketing managers, it would be a nightmare scenario that could cause many sleepless nights. This statistic is not a hypothetical question for wireless communications providers. A recent global survey of 8,700 consumers by Nokia Simmons Networks found that about 40 percent of wireless customers would entertain switching companies. That figure is astounding in itself; it is further amplified by the fact that this figure is 20 percent higher than just one year ago. Wireless companies hold leverage in the form of restrictive contracts that include early termination fees, but otherwise it appears that they are vulnerable to customer switching behavior.
What Customers Want
According to the NSN survey, what matters to wireless subscribers is pretty straightforward:
- Voice quality
- Network coverage
- Contract conditions
If these factors are the greatest influences on customers’ choice of wireless provider, it should not be too difficult to manage these issues to make them positive contributors to a customer’s experience of doing business with the wireless provider of choice. Managing these factors and other touchpoints in the customer experience (e.g., billing, customer support) can be reduced to one word: Simplicity. A product whose underlying technologies are anything but simple to communicate via voice, text, and access the Internet must replace complexity with simplicity when it comes to the user interface with wireless companies.
Managing the Customer Experience
Knowing what customers value in their consumption experience is a starting point in managing customer satisfaction and minimizing customer churn. Going forward, one characteristic of companies that effectively retain customers will be a commitment to mapping and measuring the steps of the customer journey. In the wireless device category, voice quality, network coverage, and contract conditions influence satisfaction but are not the only determinants. Companies that commit to getting a more in-depth understanding of what customers want at every step in the customer journey will be better positioned to meet those wants and minimize dissatisfaction that could trigger a desire to switch to a competitor.
Here is a parting thought shared by Sarah Reedy, who wrote the article linked below: “Acting like you could lose a customer at any minute is the best way to ensure you don’t.”