Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cell-phone users unhappy with customer care: survey

India may be the world's fastest growing telecom market, but subscribers are increasingly dissatisfied over poor customer care, according to an International Data Corp (IDC) survey.

The average waiting time to speak to a customer care executive is well over five minutes, according to the survey by the IDC, a global market intelligence firm specialising in IT, telecommunications and consumer technology markets.

The survey, entitled "India Mobile Services Usage and Satisfaction Study 2007", was conducted on a sample of 4,760 users.

IDC noted that the key concern areas of consumers were lack of knowledge and promptness among customer care representatives, with no satisfactory final result.

"It appears that service providers are not upgrading their infrastructure to match their growing customer base. This needs greater attention. Implementation of a well-defined customer care programme is likely to benefit service providers," Shailendra Gupta, senior manager for consumer research, IDC (India), said in a statement.

Although there had been an overall improvement in consumer satisfaction levels, customers are eager to change their service operator any time for a better offers, the survey found.

The number of loyal customers has gone down and the number of disloyal and opportunist consumers has risen, the survey highlighted.

According to IDC (India), this problem would become greater when the long-awaited number portability policy is implemented.

Mobile number portability would allow users to retain their numbers even if they change service operators.

"Mobile service providers should not let go of their brand's inherent perceived strengths and continue to devise innovative pricing schemes and offers. With the total number of mobile subscribers in India set to double to 500 million by 2010, the pie is big enough for everyone," Gupta added.

Among the 11 service providers surveyed, only three - Aircel, BPL Cellular and Vodafone - emerged as the most preferred operators.

"Indian telecom operators have done a good job of satisfying customers continuously over the last three years. But this may not continue if the government does not address the issue of spectrum availability speedily," said Kapil Dev Singh, country manager, IDC (India).

"Although at present it is considered a core technology issue, customers will soon start complaining about network quality," Singh added.

Indo-Asian News Service

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