Photo - Graham Tocher Managing Director APAC, Customer Experience, TNS.
According to market research firm TNS, Malaysia's mobile service providers can win more new users and retain existing ones by reviewing and strengthening customer service.
During the unveiling of a new study called 'Cracking the Customer Code - Telco', Graham Tocher, managing director, customer experience, for TNS APAC, said only 41 percent of 500 personal mobile phone subscribers feel that their mobile network operator (MNO) is performing well and a quarter are likely to switch provider because of this.
Tocher said that in a market with "a mobile penetration rate of 143.6 percent (about 43 million mobile subscriptions), this under performance is placing MNO subscriptions at significant risk."
He added that as the mobile formed an important aspect in the lives of Malaysians, who spend 2.7 hours a day with their phone in their hand. "It's essential that the MNOs get their service right, if they are to retain their customers and grow revenue."
Tocher said the negative responses from customers show that MNOs are still "struggling to get the basics right and include: waiting for customer service (25 percent); poor connection quality (14 percent); and poor customer service when they do receive it (8 percent)."
"We're seeing real indifference and latent dissatisfaction from customers towards their MNO," he said. "In an environment where many providers are failing to get the basics right, there's a real opportunity for those MNOs who can consistently deliver what matters most to their customers - when it matters."
Negative word of mouth
Tocher said that "these service failures could lead to even more impact when they lead to negative word of mouth. The TNS study found that 45 percent of Malaysians have spoken negatively to others about their MNO in the past six months. And in a country where 29 percent of Internet users write about brands online, this negative word-of-mouth could lead to a significant reputational impact."
However, the majority of customers planned to remain with their current provider (53 percent), according to the study. Tocher said that this inertia was probably because people felt the other providers were of the same level. "Half of Malaysian MNO customers feel that all brands in the market offer more or less the same pricing and services, whilst 55 percent feel that switching would simply be too inconvenient."
"Good customer service - knowledgeable, friendly and efficient - is key to securing preference with all customers in this sector and there are gains to be made for those providers that can really deliver this. Even getting the basics right could offer strong differentiation in Malaysia," said Tocher.
There was a modicum of positive news from the study, he said. "Those customers that spend the most have the strongest relationship. Gen Y customers (18-24 year olds) also have a strong relationship with their service provider."
"Where MNOs have built and delivered a targeted customer experience, it is paying off in increased returns. Scaling this approach across more customer segments presents a strong opportunity for those that can successfully implement it," said Tocher.
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