Mobile customers in the US and UK want their service providers to give them a customer experience akin to the kind they have come to expect from digital-first companies including Amazon, PayPal and Netflix, Matrixx Software said.

A survey of 3,077 mobile users across the US and UK found 73 per cent of respondents wish their mobile service provider operated more like the digital companies by offering key features including ease of use, clear pricing structure, real time access to services and the ability to personalise.

The digital commerce company, which works with operators including Swisscom and Telstra, said its research “surfaced compelling reasons for telcos to leverage mobile user experience as a way of boosting their bottom line and increasing customer acquisition”.

Jennifer Kyriakakis, founder and VP of marketing at the company, said: “Telcos have an opportunity to attract an entirely new crop of customers, ones who are motivated by intuitive engagement that results in a highly personalised, transparent and real time mobile experience.”

The challenge
Kyriakakis told Mobile World Live (MWL): “the irony is that those that build the networks can’t figure out how to monetise them”.

She explained operators’ legacy systems makes redesigning the customer experience very difficult. The apps they offer are focused on basic customer care rather than being used to market and sell products, and keep users engaged.

Founder Dave Labuda echoed this sentiment, telling MWL: “You can’t give someone a window and not serve it well. We see it all the time: operators have apps sitting on top of legacy and at the bottom it says this data might be 48 hours old. This makes the user think: ‘what good is that doing me? Why even tell me?’ Such apps don’t provide any value”.

He said operators traditionally never needed to be agile and digital because they come from a regulatory background where changing prices could take up to six months, and so it didn’t matter if IT systems were slow.

Now, though, they are dealing with OTT services, “expectations of the modern world” and smartphones which generate hundreds and thousands of network interactions every day, creating “a hugely different scale of chaos”.

To keep up with this, they need to be able to “experiment, roll out promotions across a broad swathe of people…and really have highly personalised, highly instantly gratifying selling experiences”.

Labuda said this realisation is now spreading across the globe: “Even in the US, the laziest mobile market in the world, they are starting to realise they’re going to lose if they don’t get their act together.”

Both executives agreed an app with personalised deals and offers based on indivudual usage would mean the consumer would spend more.

Kyriakakis added some operators are working on apps which let users create their own package, rather than do this from a store or call centre, and takes them from the on-boarding experience all the way to self-care.

“We will see some of those come out in the next 12 months,” she said.

More survey results
Matrixx Software’s study found 64 per cent of mobile users in the UK and US would switch their carrier if offered a greater customer experience (see chart, click to enlarge).

The company also revealed nearly 40 per cent of UK mobile users would increase spending with their carrier if it operated more like a leading digital brand.

Some 75 per cent of respondents chose transparency in pricing as the feature they most want their mobile provider to adopt from their favourite app. Ease of use was selected by 63 per cent, 51 per cent cited greater personalisation, and 49 per cent wanted instant access to services.