Customer Satisfaction UK, a consultancy that specialises in measuring and improving customer satisfaction, has found that, in terms of overall customer satisfaction, the level of satisfaction amongst telecoms customers was lower than for other market sectors.
Overall 87% of customers are satisfied with their telecoms supplier. This compares unfavourably with 94% for other market sectors. However, when they looked at customers’ perception of the value for money offered by telecoms companies, they found that the average 87% satisfaction rate amongst telecom customers, was slightly above the 85% average for other markets.
So what’s going wrong? What factors are dragging down the overall level of customer perception?
The area in which satisfaction amongst customers was at its lowest was in the area of problem handling. Whilst the telecoms customers didn’t report substantially more problems than other businesses (32% for telecoms against 27% for other businesses), the level of customer satisfaction in the way in which these problems were handled was very much lower. Only 45% of telecoms customers who had experienced problems with their providers were satisfied with the way in which their problem was handled.
This compares with an average satisfaction rate of 77% within other industry sectors that Customer Satisfaction UK have surveyed. The reasons for this are not immediately obvious but it would seem that within the telecoms industry there is a greater focus on acquiring new accounts than on building a high level of satisfaction amongst existing customers. It could be argued that this approach is essentially short sighted as it merely leads to higher levels of customer churn. 92% of customers within other business sectors said that they would chose their current supplier as a long term business partner, whereas only 87% of telecoms customers wished to continue their current relationship. This 5% difference this can have a huge impact on the bottom line.
As the market becomes more and more mature, the relative cost of acquiring profitable new customers is getting higher and higher. As far back as 2001 Peter Bamford, chief executive of Vodafone UK, was saying “Changes in Vodafone UK’s commercial policies reflect the move of the UK market into a phase of greater maturity and our recognition of the need to reduce the current levels of expenditure on customer acquisition.” Similarly switching resources to focus more on retain existing customers by increasing their levels of satisfaction in the level of service that is provided makes more and more economic sense; as does monitoring that level of satisfaction.