Alcatel-Lucent revealed that smartphone users in four key global markets increasingly would prefer to access operators' customer service functions via a mobile application than a call centre.
A study of smartphone users in the UK, U.S., Japan and Brazil conducted for the infrastructure company by Penn Schoen Berland revealed that the majority of subscribers try to avoid interacting with operator helpdesks, and that a growing number of smartphone owners would prefer to utilise a self-service application to deal with common network service issues.
Penn Schoen Berland quizzed 2,500 consumers in the U.S, and 1,000 apiece in the UK, Brazil and Japan.
The study revealed that at least 25 per cent of UK consumers prefer not to call service provider helpdesks, and that nearly 50 per cent want to access self-service solutions.
Consumers in all of the markets surveyed said self-service applications should cover functions including billing information, troubleshooting, usage tracking and security alerts.
Alcatel-Lucent said the study shows there is a significant opportunity for service providers to differentiate themselves through innovative customer service offerings.
"Customer experience management is a primary focus for communications service providers worldwide," noted Josh Aroner, VP of IP platforms marketing at Alcatel-Lucent.
"Keeping customer happy and, at the same time, alleviating strain on call centres can be complex and challenging," Aroner continued, adding: "This market research sets forth the critical areas where CSPs can effectively offer a self-help approach to give customers greater control over their service and more efficiently manage help desk operations."
The UK-based Institute of Customer Service last month revealed that the telecom industry ranked in 11th place out of 13 in its latest UK Customer Satisfaction index, and that a growing number of subscribers are using social media to register complaints about their service.
Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute, said complaints are a "moment of truth" for any company, and that telecoms customer service will only improve "if the sector provides a clear and easy way for customers to make a complaint and if they resolve issues rapidly."
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