Nokia said that as network quality improves, mobile subscribers are placing more importance on customer service and value when choosing an operator, with clarity of contract terms also an important factor.
According to the company’s 2016 Acquisition and Retention study, customer care has a greater impact on loyalty than it did previously, with respondents stating that “better general services, self-service capabilities and effective complaint handling are increasingly important to them”.
“Customer care is now basically on a par with network quality as a deciding factor to stay with a mobile provider,” the company said.
In particular, speed and consistency of internet connection matters more for keeping customers loyal than either voice quality or network coverage.
Significantly, 4G can play a role here, with subscribers of such services 38 per cent more likely to be satisfied with data speeds, and 24 per cent more likely to be satisfied with data consistency than earlier technologies.
And security is a growing issue. Globally, 47 per cent of respondents said they would change operators if they suffered a security breach – a 7 point increase from 2014.
“We can see the marketing battles to acquire mobile subscribers are fierce. What we don’t see as well is the work operators do every day to retain customers. Our study shows how important that work is – and also how challenging it is as customers, attached to their phones, demand higher levels of service,” said Bhaskar Gorti, applications and analytics president at Nokia.
Nokia’s Acquisition and Retention study is now in its 10th edition, and polls more than 20,000 mobile users in “mature and transition markets”.