Internet service providers' customer experience rankings are abysmal. Can multi-billion-dollar investments in network access technologies and ultra-broadband infrastructure help?
It's big money but not a big gamble; customer ratings can only go up. Customer satisfaction with subscription television and Internet service providers tied for last place among 43 industries tracked by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Residents prefer fiber optic and satellite to cable, the ACSI Telecommunications Report 2017 found.
If there's any positive news in ACSI's annual survey, it's that satisfaction with Internet service remained flat (at 64). So did wireline phone service (at 70). Pay TV, on the other hand, saw satisfaction fall 1.5% (to 64), perhaps because of the likes of Netflix and Hulu.
Most, if not all, consumer measures find dissatisfaction among residential Internet users.
"When broken down, customers rank Internet as the line of service with lowest return on their investment. Customers also say Internet is the line of service with which they are least satisfied," wrote InMoment in its July 2017 report, "Customer Experience in the Telecom Industry," which polled more than 11,000 people.
In part, it's because Internet is so integral to today's communications, said Erich Dietz, vice president at InMoment, during a webinar this week. "Out of all [operator services], this is the line of service that is more like oxygen in the daily life of the consumer," he said. "There's a heightened state of awareness when something goes wrong."
Service providers face an uphill -- and perhaps unfair -- battle. Consumers often relegate their offerings to the same category as electricity, water or gas -- utilities that, generally, either work well or don't work at all, David VanAmburg, managing director of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), told UBB2020. Communications services, already complex, only get more sophisticated as operators add offerings such as smart home and security, he said. But unmanaged expectations do not include providers' technological hurdles, and customers' increasing price-sensitivity damages any potential goodwill providers earn from enhanced offerings, VanAmburg noted.
"The issue becomes twofold: The expectation that households have of these services, which are rather high, and secondly, and in part what is driving user expectations as high as they are, is the kinds of prices households are paying for these kinds of services," he said. "The 'Do I feel like I'm getting what I'm paying for?' is not in line with expectations. My Internet connection, at times, craps out on me. My picture quality isn't 100% of the time perfect. That's where you get a lot of disconnect."
That's where new technologies enter the picture. With Gfast, XGS-PON, DOCSIS 3.1 and NG-PON2, coupled with the industry's focus on automation and predictive analytics, could quality improve and costs come down? We'll explore that in part two of our report on ultra-broadband and customer experience.
Deutsche Telekom just signed an infrastructure project with the Gigabit Region Stuttgart, home to 174 municipalities and almost 3 million people, one of many partnerships the German operator has inked in its bid to grow revenue and business.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.
The MDU market continues to face fierce competition among service providers due to tech-savvy residents (i.e., millennials), demand from building owners and management companies, plus the favorable economics of bulk contracts. However, no MDUs are the same, so service providers must use multiple technologies and inconsistent deployment models, increasing operational complexity and rollout costs.
The MDU market itself is evolving as residents adopt smart-home technologies, generating rising demand for smart apartments with built-in connected thermostats, keyless entryways and doors, and video doorbells. This evolution presents both new challenges and opportunities. In other words, service providers must consider innovative service-delivery strategies to compete and win.
In this Broadband World News and ADTRAN webinar, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will highlight emerging MDU broadband Internet trends and challenges. In addition, Kurt will outline the next-generation service creation and delivery platform, built on open standards, that allows service providers to connect millions of underserved MDUs, enables creation of user-driven services, and reduces operational complexity and costs.
Plus, special guest, Alice Lawson, Broadband and Cable Program Manager for the City of Seattle, will discuss Seattle’s B4B-Build For Broadband initiative that addresses best practices in planning for MDU telecommunication infrastructure.