Why customer support should be top priority for ISPs

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7.7.2015

Driven by increased consumer demands and government mandates, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are working tirelessly to upgrade network infrastructure to deliver high-speed connectivity to all. Yet while advertising for new customers might focus on the speeds, customer satisfaction is about so much more and ISPs need to focus on the right areas to manage churn. 

A recent pan-European survey we commissioned looked at how happy we are with the support and information ISPs provide – and how this impacts our overall satisfaction with the service. Rather than focusing purely on speeds, it’s this overall satisfaction that ultimately results in churn and so ISPs need to take note.

ISPs need to be able to adapt and offer help to satisfy the changing demands of users, while efficiently resolving issues when things do go wrong. Our research revealed that customer service leaves much to be desired in most countries and, interestingly, that fast broadband speeds do not necessarily reflect efficient customer service.

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools for attracting new customers but with fewer than one in four consumers agreeing that their ISP offers sufficient support to resolve problems, there is a risk of bad reviews and ultimately, missed opportunities. Long-term loyalty is key for ISPs to compete effectively and build their subscriber base. 

Looking at individual regions across Europe, consumers in The Czech Republic are the most satisfied with both their broadband speed and the service provided by their ISP.

Technical problems are inevitable but it is during these circumstances that customer service is of utmost importance. To illustrate its importance, German consumers admitted to being the least satisfied with their home broadband speed, but proved to be by far the happiest with their ISPs with 31% agreeing that their ISP delivers all the support they need to resolve connection problems. In comparison, the UK, which tied with Germany on low levels of broadband speed, experienced the lowest customer service satisfaction across Europe. This captures the essence of good service; when problems are handled fast and efficiently, consumer frustration turns into satisfaction and retained business.

Consumers want tailored packages that suit their ever-changing needs and above all, they want to know they are getting value for their money. Tech savvy users are demanding access to the latest features on their existing network. With a focus on security and online safety, these people are growing in number and ISPs are under significant pressure to support these customers who want more than the basics.

Consequently, it seems odd that only one in ten Europeans feel that their ISP gives them advice on how to implement different features on their home network. If these people don’t have access to the support they need then there’s a real danger of them going elsewhere to find it. For ISPs this means they need to find a way of easily providing support and advice without taking up the time of customer service teams.

Ultimately, consumers expect to be connected to a network that runs effortlessly in the background without having to worry about the technicalities. While investment in infrastructure is necessary to deliver high-speed access, it is a responsive and helpful approach from ISPs that is much more important to subscribers and it’s this area where ISPs are really falling behind.