You Mean We Have To Support The Customer Too?
By Mike Masnick, Fri Mar 25 01:30:00 GMT 2005

Mobile operators have invested plenty upgrading their networks and improving coverage and services. It appears they haven't paid as much attention to basic customer support -- and it's proving costly.

Complaints about mobile operators are nothing new. Customer satisfaction in the mobile industry is rarely anything people talk positively about. With increasing competition and things like number portability, many operators have finally been convinced that improved coverage and technology is a must. In many areas, this technology investment has paid off, and there are reports of increased customer satisfaction over these issues.

However, one area that is still a problem is customer service. That is, when things do go wrong, how does the company handle it? In the UK, a new study has shown that customer support is awful, and it's one of the main reasons why many subscribers are interested in paying their subscription fees to another provider.

It seems that an unfortunate trait across companies in many industries these days is to focus most efforts on getting new customers, while ignoring the existing ones. You can easily reach a sales person, but trying to reach a customer service representative sometimes seems to be nearly impossible. Then, those representatives often aren't provided with the tools to help or aren't empowered to do anything to fix bad situations. While it's good that operators are fixing the technology side of things, they need to remember that it's the subscribers who pay the bills, and keeping them happy even when things go wrong is important. In fact, some studies have suggested that customers who get good customer service after something goes wrong are more loyal than those who never had any problem at all. Everyone knows that things do go wrong -- but how the company responds is how they're measured. So far, it appears that many mobile operators haven't learned that lesson.