Loyalty is a marketer’s Holy Grail.
However, in our age of abundant choice, consumers are in the driver’s seat, and brand loyalty is as elusive as ever.
For mobile wireless network operators–boasting a 6.5 billion subscriber base worldwide–customer loyalty is tenuous at best. Only 34 percent of 1,660 mobile phone users surveyed around the globe are loyal to their carriers.
And it’s likely to get worse. Much worse.
A recent Ricoh-sponsored study conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, called “What’s Critical In The Telecommunications Vertical,” surveyed mobile phone subscribers and senior marketers in the communications services industry. The results are eye-popping: Enormous gaps exist in what telco marketers are delivering vs. what mobile customers want.
Most alarmingly, mobile subscribers are expressing growing frustration over inconsistent service, plan/fee complexity and waning value, negative customer experiences, and the perception that mobile service operators don’t care about or know them. In fact, 63 percent of those having a negative experience would take action in the form of lodging complaints, cancelling service, and telling everyone they know about the incident. Telco marketers know these are very serious repercussions. It’s time to move beyond knowing and spring into action, fast.
Where Are The Disconnects?
Almost 50 percent of mobile marketers believe their subscribers are hungry for technological innovations and enhancements, so that is currently their primary focus. Full stop. That is not what mobile consumers want. According to the survey, the top areas of consumer concern are:
- Hidden fees (21 percent), poor service or network speed (17 percent), and high data/text costs (17 percent)
- Lack of value in fees vs. service received (56 percent)
- Issues with notification about other products and services (41 percent)
- Belief that mobile providers don’t care about their defection (29 percent)
While mobile marketers are pushing technology with complex feature/function plans, their customers are frustrated, fatigued, and fed up. This is a stark wake-up call to action.
Is It Denial?
The survey also revealed that mobile communications marketers do realize that they don’t have a handle on the real voice of their customers. The issue is that they have failed to take action and execute in order to resolve the gaps in customer insight and engagement. Consequently, the current trajectory of carrier priorities is way off-course, with customer loyalty hanging in the balance.
Not surprisingly, some 65 percent of marketers surveyed admitted they are not confident in their knowledge of the customer. More than half of the marketers believe they need better access to real-time analytics to improve customer engagement, customer insight, and customer life time value profiles. Priorities expressed were as follows:
- Retaining most valuable customers and driving loyalty (47 percent)
- Improving the relevance of communications (40 percent)
- Developing new points of engagement (38 percent)
- Educating customers through relevant content (33 percent)
What’s The Remedy?
Mobile carriers already have the customer data, which can be turned into customer insights that will help tremendously to drive customer engagement and loyalty. The obstacles that need to be overcome are not atypical–functional silos, data clarity, and access, all resulting in underleveraged assets. Paralysis, it seems, is the mobile service providers’ bane. Action is needed, and needed urgently.
Without the use of data-driven insights, mobile marketers will continue to miss the core needs of their current customers and prevent the relevant exchanges that their customers are demanding. For telco marketers who choose to extract data-driven insights and act on them, a tremendous opportunity exists to reinvigorate and re-engage customers whose loyalty is waning.
Mobile marketers get to choose, and the payoff of powerfully engaged customers, highly loyal customers, and stronger customer advocates are the keys to generating more predictable and solid financial results.