A man speaks on his BlackBerry phone.
Number portability is here to stay, offering mobile phone users the alternative to switch if their current service operator falls short of expectations.
Our survey explored the reasons that prompt mobile owners to change their service providers.
The biggest reason, cited by 36% users, was dissatisfaction with the provider on service related interactions, either at the service centers or the call center.
Network coverage issues — which most people surmise to be the reason behind portability — rank second, followed by tariff related issues.
While a customer may contact the service center for any problem, it is the poor handling of the issue that prompts them to switch.
Having decided to shift, a third of the respondents chose a new provider based purely on brand name.
Tariff plans and schemes attracted 22% of the respondents while 16% were persuaded by the company’s sales efforts.
Another 15% chose a new provider based on recommendations from friends and relatives.
Interestingly, while half the customers had compared different brands before making a decision (choosing a better tariff plan or value added services), the other half had relied upon the brand’s reputation.
Most respondents found the process of shifting convenient.
Customers also reported a significantly higher (20% or more) satisfaction level with their new service operators.
Service operators seem to remain quite unfazed about losing a customer — less than half of the customers said that the previous provider enquired about the reasons for the change.
But number portability is not a solution for everyone — many respondents, dissatisfied with their current operators, had not switched because they believed all service providers were the same.
Ramchandani is the associate VP-Consumer Research and Brand Planning at MaRS