Service quality key criteria for selecting CSPs & ISPs - customers prepared to pay extra for guaranteed service quality
SUBTONOMY, the leading Customer & Network Experience Platform provider, has revealed the findings of a new study – State of Mobile & Broadband customer support – it has conducted on the mobile and broadband market in Sweden.
Sweden is a highly advanced digital economy, ranking 3rd out of 27 EU Member States [*1] In 2021, 89% of Swedes aged 16–85 years (or 7.3 million people), used the internet every day (Statistics Sweden). But what were they using it for?
Households are now smart workspaces
Post-Covid, a large proportion of Swedes have continued to work from home, with 54% of Swedish households now having at least one resident home working some of the time and 13% having multiple residents working from home for more than 2 days each week.
This has driven a massive uptake in the use of complex business applications over suburban broadband connections – with more than 65% of Swedish respondents reporting they are now using videoconferencing applications to keep in touch with colleagues, family and friends. Such applications are highly sensitive to service quality and require a reliable broadband connection but, despite this, 8 out of 10 Swedes (81%) do not want a second business broadband line into their home and another 15% said they would only have one if their employer paid for it. This suggests that what customers actually want is to be offered higher tiers of service quality over their existing broadband connection.
Households are also smart lifespaces
Swedes are using their broadband connections for an ever-increasing range of entertainment, social and essential services. 9 out of 10 (88%) are streaming their favorite films and shows, 90% use social media - including video or photo-based social media such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram – and 34% are using home broadband for online gaming. A massive 97% pay bills, check the news or send emails using their home broadband.
These applications have driven a massive increase in demand for broadband along with high expectations of customer service – with average broadband speeds of 164Mbit/s in 2021[*2] it’s unsurprising that 81% of Swedish broadband customers are happy with the service being provided. But satisfaction with coverage in rural areas, as well as for cars and boats, lags behind that for homes.
Customer support when things go wrong
Only a third of Swedish customers (33%) needed customer support in 2021, but when they did they used a range of channels to try to fix their problems. Contact centers were still the channel of choice for a third of customers (32%), and particularly for older age demographics. But digitally-savvy Swedes searched their ISP’s website for answers (34%), or online (31%), while 6% even looked for YouTube videos to help them solve their problems.
“What we’re seeing is increasingly complex behavior by customers,” comments Fredrik Edwall, EVP Sales & Marketing at Subtonomy, “which makes it essential that ISPs are able to offer seamless omnichannel support – ensuring their customers are able to access the same, accurate and up-to-date information about their problems whichever channel they use.”
Edwall warns that the ability to provide omnichannel technical support across a wide range of network types and ever-more complex services is set to become a huge challenge for ISPs in the next 5 years, as they roll out gigabit fiber and 5G networks, but is essential for successful monetization of these services.
Premium service quality is essential for successful monetization and differentiation
Subtonomy’s research revealed that not only do customers expect a better support experience to keep them connected, but this is becoming a point of differentiation between providers. It’s also revenue accretive – with 45% willing to pay more to get higher service quality.
“Faster networks are great, but customers also expect those networks to be reliable,” notes Edwall. “Customers tell us that the quality of service, as well as the quality of support, influence their decisions as to which provider to select. But perhaps even more tellingly, 45% of Swedish customers now value their broadband connection so highly that they’re willing to pay a premium to get guaranteed service quality and support.”
SVP Sales & Marketing, Subtonomy
[*1] 2021 edition of the EC’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) [*2] Ookla January 2021