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We surveyed 1000 digital customers (cell phone/ TV/ Internet) in the US and asked them what channels they are using to engage with their communication service providers (CSPs) and why?

The research highlights exactly how much time customers spend interacting with their Service Providers every month from looking at their billing information, to time on the phone, in-store and time spent online.  We have compiled the results listing the channel customers spend most time interacting with their service providers to the channel where least time is spent.

Here are the Top 5 ways customers interact with their CSPs:

No1. Bills

Americans spend more time looking at billing information than any other interaction with their CSPs.

Our research shows that digital customers spend an average of 14.76 minutes looking at billing information for cell phone, TV and Internet Services each month – Why is this so high?

The average is pushed up as a whopping 1 in 10 US cell phone users (11.4%) find themselves spending more than ½ hour a month deciphering their bills!

Avoiding Bill shock:

Subscribers to TV/ Cell phone/ Internet Service providers are becoming more savvy when it comes to checking their bills. To avoid Bill shock, due to excess data usage and overage on plans, subscribers are spending more time checking billing information, not just on the printed bill, but on mobile, online portals or apps. In fact, over two thirds (67.5%) of those surveyed said they will engage with their CSP through a mobile app, spending an average of 10 minutes a month looking at different bills.

No.2 Social Media

Social Media cannot be ignored:

75% of younger people (16-24 yr olds) to just under 50% of 55+ year olds will interact on social media making it the 2nd most popular channel to engage with CSPs.

Unfortunately, many use social media to complain! The 25-34 age group are most likely to complain on social media, with nearly 1 in 5 (17%) saying they would, compared to only 3.5% of the over 55’s!

Social Media is an important channel that needs to be connected to the rest of the business. Service Providers that manage Social in isolation with no connection to customer data run the risk of frustrating customers when they come online asking a question or raising an issue. CSPs’ social media teams should be able to access the data on who the customer is and what they’ve signed up to as well as recent interactions that may have caused dissatisfaction.

No.3 Websites/ Apps

Digital customers spend up to 12.4minutes per month visiting websites

It’s no surprise that more and more digital customers are spending time online researching what phones to buy and what deals are out there.  Consumers browse Service providers’ websites not only when it’s time to upgrade but also to review the latest and greatest smartphones, devices or offers.  However, older customers are less likely to visit their service providers’ websites, 1 in 3 (28.70%) 55+ year old cell phones users in the US do not interact with their providers through websites, whereas younger people are more likely to browse.  Just 1 in 12 (8.50%) of 25-34 year old cell phone users in the US do not interact with their providers through websites.  However, according to our results, Americans spend an average of 10 minutes a month interacting with their service provider via mobile app.

Customers not keen to self-serve online:

If it’s a billing issue however, fewer than 1 in 20 US cell phone owners would visit their service provider’s website to try to resolve it.  This doesn’t show much confidence in CSPs being able to answer individual customer queries through Q&As or other information shared on their website. Gone are the days of generic information, nowadays, customers expect brands to know who they are and engage them with personalized information tailored for their specific needs and wants.

No. 4 On the phone

Talk to me!

Almost a quarter (22.90%) of 16-24 year old cell phone users in the US would spend 11-15 minutes on the phone with their CSPs. Older customers are less likely to engage with just 1 in 20 (5.70%) 55+ year olds spending 11-15 minutes on the phone with their CSP.

Call centers are expensive to run, whether it be outbound as part of a campaign or inbound calls to customer service. Most CSPs are looking at strategies to reduce the number of costly calls to care.  Improving customer experience across other channels, in particular billing (up to 40% of calls to care are billing related) can improve customer experience and drive down costly calls to care. 

No.5 In Store Face to Face

Although online shopping is on the rise many digital customers will go in-store to review or purchase their phones, devices and services.  Being able to touch and feel a product before purchase as well as avoiding shipping costs still motivate people to visit the store.

Our survey shows that younger people in particular will go to the store with over 70% of 16-24 year olds  interacting face-to-face compared to just 48% of over 55s. 1 in 13 cell phone users (7.5%) will spend over 30minutes speaking to their service provider face-to-face.

Although there is a natural relationship between digital and in-store for today’s “omni-channel” customers, it’s important to make the experience as seamless as possible as many savvy shoppers will expect the same offers they see online to be available when they go in store.

The over all in-store experience tends to be positive one, however, almost 1 in 5 Americans with a cell (19%) would like if billing costs were explained to them in more detail at the point of purchase as they feel it can be confusing when the bill arrives.

Conclusion: It’s time to re-write the rules of engagement!

The bill as an opportunity to engage:

The fact that the time spent looking at billing information is the number one way in which today’s digital customers interact with their service provider presents a huge opportunity for CSPs to engage with customers with relevant, timely offers based on their usage patterns and individual customer preferences.

The bill needs to move away from being a cold, confusing demand for payment and towards becoming a customer-centric, engaging communication across all channels: paper,web, online and mobile.  Few Service Providers have figured out that things could be so much better… because, frankly, billing can be better.  The end game is to provide a solution that provides billing communications tailored to each individual customer as well as providing proactive care to combat churn.  So, if you’re a Service Provider you can start to engage with customers in meaningful and relevant ways using the most important document you send to your customers; the bill, and the richest data set you have; the billing data.

 

About Brite:Bill

Brite:Bill transforms the way service providers present and manage billing communications. Cold notifications and demands for payment are transformed into customer centric and engaging communications. With the Brite:Bill platform, service providers can improve customer interactions by pre-empting questions, tackling issues and highlighting appropriate and new services through personalized, targeted messages and persuasive content. Business customers get the insights they need through tailored analytics and customizable dashboards to easily understand costs and service usage through beautifully rendered, easily understood graphs, tables and alerts.

Improved billing means less costly bill-related helpline calls, less customer churn and boosts long-term loyalty. Brite:Bill is an innovative and unique solution used by tier one telecom operators around the globe. Brite:Bill was named a “Cool Vendor” by Gartner Inc. for 2014 and won ISA “Emerging Company of the Year”. Founded in 2010, Brite:Bill is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and has offices in London, Madrid, Shanghai and San Francisco

For more information: Orla Power, Marketing & PR, Brite:Bill  orla.power@britebill.com

 

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