Wireless internet providers leave South Africans unhappy and wanting

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Throw a dart into a crowd and you’ll hit a person that is unhappy with their mobile internet.

While that statement rings true for some it’s rather anecdotal, or rather it was anecdotal.

The South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SA-csi) compiled and presented by Consulta has today presented five years of customer satisfaction data and how local customers perceive brands and more importantly how much they value these brands.

Industries right at the top of the SA-csi include sports clothing, fast food, automobiles, cellular handsets and life insurance. What this means is that the expectations of customers are served by these brands. So for example you might buy a running shoe, that running shoe is comfortable and it meets your expectations, therefore the perceived value of that product goes up.

That’s what this survey does rather well, it presents perceived value in a tangible way such that companies can take action and turn themselves around should there be a need.

And gosh, is there a need for wireless internet providers to step up their game.

According to data from the SA-csi gathered between 2013 and 2017, wireless internet providers (including brands such as Vodacom, MTN and Cell C) rank among the lowest in terms of customer satisfaction. In fact the only industry that has lower satisfaction is municipalities.

Hell, even airlines and medical insurance have better customer satisfaction scores than wireless internet providers.

There are multiple reasons for this according to Consulta founder and chief executive officer Professor Adré Schreuder. “It’s a combination of the customer expectation level, the tech, the signal quality and the degree to which the brand handles complaints about that,” explains the CEO.

For most customers the technical aspect of a product doesn’t matter all that much. Sure having 200Mbps internet is great but what use is it to you if the network offering that service is always down?

Complaints also play a big role but what is important to note it’s less about how complaints are handled (though this does matter) and more about the volume of complaints.

As Schreuder explains, complaints will happen, that’s just a reality companies have to face but how you solve those problems is what folks will remember.

It doesn’t help if you solve 100 complaints about signal issues today if there are another 100 complaints about the same issue tomorrow. People talk, especially on social media and if there is a stream of people complaining about network issues that is going to hurt your customer satisfaction rating and ultimately this can negatively affect a firm’s bottom line.

The top performers showcase how important customer satisfaction is.

In fact Schreuder posits that if companies fixed the problems as and when they arise the need for call centres would decline drastically and customer satisfaction would improve. These are very logical ideas we must say and its astounding that companies aren’t implementing these measures. Though Schreuder has thoughts on that as well.

“Companies are very much still engineering and product focussed. They believe that if they create a fantastic product customers will love it and that is simply not a guarantee anymore,” explains Schreuder.

These days there are many factors that make a product great or terrible in the eyes of a customer. As regards wireless internet that includes the router, the network, the quality of after sales support.

While the network might be speedy the router provided by the company might be terrible or after sales service is impossible to get hold of. So yes, the product is working well but everything else is falling to bits between your fingers.

“The speed of a network is only one criteria that people consider when buying a product,” Schreuder tells us.

Quite simply wireless internet providers, as customers we don’t care that you’re investing billions into chatbots, perhaps one day we will, but right now we want to feel like we are getting value from your products of services or as Schreuder puts it, “I want my life to be easier with your product, not more difficult.”

The long and short of it is that customers are not happy with the state of the wireless internet industry and companies have some hard work ahead of them to make folks feel like they are getting even just a hint of value.

Organisations such as Icasa are forcing change but if change doesn’t happen soon enough wireless internet will become a grudge purchase. Well, a bigger one than it is for most right now.


[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.