The survey found that poor customer service was a major concern and behind much customer churn in the industry. Alarmingly, nearly half of all respondents said they would switch ISPs as a result of poor customer service: 31 percent for poor overall customer service responsiveness and 15 percent for a poor customer service experience. Furthermore, 21 percent said they had actually switched broadband ISPs in the past mainly because of a poor customer service experience.
“Internet service providers take note: the report suggests that one in seven of your consumers are just one bad customer service experience away from changing providers,” said Alison Higgins-Miller, Vice President – Asia Pacific, RightNow Technologies.
“Consistent, high-quality customer service is a must-have for ISPs that want to retain customers and reduce the high costs of churn. Yet this survey and masses of anecdotal evidence show that ISPs still aren’t getting it right.”
The survey found older customers were the most concerned about customer service: 57 percent of respondents aged 50–64 said they would switch providers as a result of bad customer service.
Men are more likely than women to have switched broadband providers as a result of a poor customer service experience: 26 percent of men, compared to 16 percent of women.
Interestingly, while the research found competitive pricing to be the main driver for selecting a broadband ISP (43 percent), high download speeds (26 percent) and being able to get good service if something goes wrong (24 percent) scored almost equally.
“The fact that customer service runs a close third in the ISP selection criterion should be a wake up call to providers,” said Higgins-Miller. “In a fiercely competitive market place where it’s incredibly challenging to differentiate a brand by product or price, the customer experience and associated customer service becomes essential for attracting and retaining customers.”
The importance placed on good customer service when choosing an ISP varies dramatically between age groups. For instance, among the 50-64 age-range, good customer service (33 percent) outweighs high download speeds (21 percent), while high download speeds (32 percent) is more important for those in the 18-24 group than good customer service (13 percent).
“Just over half the people surveyed (55 percent) said they would be attracted to a provider that also offered services such as mobile phones or pay TV,” said Higgins-Miller. “ISPs should take the opportunity to diversify their services and increase the profitability of their existing customers.”
“Through our extensive research of the market, we’ve identified more than 650 ISPs currently in operation in Australia. As the debate continues about broadband requirements and what the future of broadband looks like, it’s clear that there’s a message coming from consumers that while price and speed are important, so too is the overall customer experience – Australia’s ISPs would do well to recognise that,” said Shara Evans, CEO at Market Clarity, a leading, award-winning Australian telecommunications research and strategic consultancy.
About RightNow Technologies
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- This Newspoll survey was conducted online nationally in June 2007 among 1,008 respondents aged 18-64 years with broadband.