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Consumer survey – mobile operators and digital leadership

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Openet commissioned Sapio Research to survey 1620 consumers from Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, Singapore and the UK to see if they view their mobile operators as digital leaders or also-rans. The survey also discussed what consumers want from their mobile providers and what would make them switch.
Consumer survey – mobile operators and digital leadership

70% of consumers view their mobile operators as ‘digital first’ companies. This is significant as it means that the digital transformation work that operators are doing is making a difference to the people who matter most – the operators’ customers.

With regards to what exactly is a digital- first company, the survey provided the following definition:

“A digital-first company embraces modern technology to enhance the way it interacts with customers and offers new services. The company does this by prioritising digital channels, such as web, mobile, social media, apps etc. over traditional channels like phone, post or direct mail. Digital-first companies deliver services that are in line with shifting consumer trends, demands and habits.”

When it comes to engaging over digital channels, the majority (66%) of consumers interact over digital channels at least once a month, with 32% saying they interact on daily basis. Only 10% say they never use digital channels to engage with their operator.

One of the big ticket items for any digital company is brand. Digital companies can often leverage their brand (and their customer base) to introduce new services and new offers. The mobile operators have been doing this with many new content and other digital services over the last couple of years (from TV and music to banking). The good news for operators is that 95% of consumers believed their operator had a strong and clear brand identity. Indeed, 46% said that their operator’s brand was the reason they selected them in the first place.

However, the survey also identified opportunities for operators. Just over half (52%) of consumers see their mobile operator as providing a utility-like service. Of this figure, 21% seem entrenched and will always see their operator as providing a utility service. However, 31% said that while they see their operators as currently providing a utility service, there is an opportunity for operators to better engage with them and add more value. So, almost a third of consumers see the opportunity for operators to sell them more services and provide improved engagement. 32% already see their operator as being a key digital service company that engages with their customers and provides services that deliver real value.

Consumers want to buy more digital services from their operators. They want to see more innovation (e.g. more channels to engage through) from their operators. In fact, 65% said more digital services would make them feel more engaged with their operators and 79% said that more digital service innovation would make them more loyal to their operator.

Using partnerships to deliver digital services is key to most operators’ digital content strategies. They’re also important to their customers. Almost two-thirds (64%) of consumers said that partnerships (like Spotify, Amazon, Netflix) were important and are a key reason why they stay with their operator. Related to this, when asked what would make you switch operators, 38% said ‘increased choice of content offers’. This was the joint top answer along with ‘increased choice of subscription plans, for example free access to data services like social media sites’.

When asked what’s the key attributes of ‘digital-first’ companies, consumers see speed as key. Speed of operation and getting new services to market quickly was voted by 30% as the key characteristic of a digital company. Speed of resolution (getting problems solved quickly) came in second with 26%.

These results should make good reading for operators who have been toiling with digital transformation projects. The message is that your customers are noticing. They are changing their behaviour (e.g. engaging through digital channels) and want to buy more digital services from their mobile operators.

This is just a sample of some of the results of this global survey. To download the full results paper please click here.

Blog Author

Martin Morgan
Vice President of Marketing

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