Cost is still king when it comes to retention, but customer care and a carrier’s service and device portfolio are becoming increasingly important factors in consumers’ decisions to stick with their provider or head for the door.
According to Nokia’s 2016 Acquisition and Retention Study, customer care is “quickly becoming one of the most important retention categories.”
The report indicated the global impact of customer care on retention has grown from just 15 percent two years ago to 24 percent in 2016. Its importance, the report said, is consistent for both mature and transition markets.
“Not being able to provide the right level of service when consumers make general inquiries or complaints is a major source of dissatisfaction,” the report said.
Nokia’s report said there is a “growing group” of consumers who are more than willing to switch if their needs aren’t met, especially if they believe another operator could serve them better.
Another retention factor that has grown in importance since 2014 is a carrier’s service and device portfolio. Though still not a main driver of retention, the factor’s importance has grown from 6 percent two years ago to 10 percent in 2016. Nokia said the measure provides an opportunity for operators to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Though its influence has waned from 45 percent in 2014 to 40 percent this year, cost and billing is still the number one factor that influences whether or not a consumer will stay with their carrier. According to the report, customers who can’t find an appropriate price plan from their carrier are “extremely likely” to churn.
Also on the decline is the influence of network quality, which has dropped from 34 percent in 2014 to 26 percent in 2016, though the factor remains the second most important for retention.
Nokia noted that smaller operators with lower prices tend to have higher satisfaction ratings than premium operators because the associated quality expectations are lower. However, Nokia said 68 percent of respondents said they would leave an operator over network quality issues.
In terms of quality expectations, Nokia found speed and a solid Internet connection matter more than voice quality or network coverage.
The report also found that value-added services – or offerings outside the core services of SMS, data and voice minutes – had a positive impact on retention.
According to Nokia’s report, value-added services increased the likelihood of retention by 11 percent, improved consumer perception of network quality by 55 percent and increased the number of users consuming more than 1 GB of data per month by 15 percent.