Showing posts from January, 2012

Wireless Customer Satisfaction Doesn't Prevent Customer Churn

The conventional wisdom for most people, including executives at mobile service provider companies, is that there is a relatively direct relationship between "customer satisfaction" and customer churn. In other words, "happy customers" don't leave.

It doesn't appear that is the case. Perhaps perversely, even happy customers will churn (leave a supplier for another), and at surprisingly high rates.
Two out of three (66 percent) wireless and cable TV consumers switched companies in 2011, even as their satisfaction with the services provided by those companies rose, according to Accenture.

The paradox is that “customer satisfaction” does not lead to “loyalty.” Also, there are new precursors to churn, especially the growing pattern of consumers adding a second provider of a service, without dropping the original provider. That of course puts a potential full replacement provider into a relationship with a consumer.

The Accenture Global Consumer Survey asked cons…

User Experience on PCs, Tablets, Smart Phones Differs Vastly

Latency is getting to be a bigger deal for mobile user experience. Apps that load quickly on a PC take much longer to load on a smart phone or tablet, Yankee Group reports, using Keynote Systems data.

Also, according to Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe, typical users now carry as many as five different mobile devices. But each of those devices might be optimized in different ways, in terms of latency.

Load times among sites differ because in most cases, content owners are not customizing the content they deliver to the device, says Howe. The majority of the sites Keynote Systems monitored, including major online brands Craigslist and Apple, sent the same content to smart phones and tablets, for example.

Facebook, Bing, Kayak, MSN, Amazon and IMDB all sent significantly more objects and bytes to tablets than to smart phones. These sites detected the larger screens of tablets and sent them more information, says Howe.

The one company that behaves significantly differently is Google, which …

Telecom Finally Has its "Fashion" Moment: But Apple Owns It

When Apple set out to revolutionize the phone handset business, it might not have foreseen precisely how much change it would cause. Not the least of the changes is a shift of power within the retail business, as mobile service providers for the first time have lost the ability to dictate what devices users can use, and what features devices should provide. On the other hand, some of us have argued that the key marketing problem for any telecom service provider always has been that nobody really "loves" their service provider, and identifies with the service, in the same way that people routinely identify with their autos, clothing, perfumes, shoes, hobbies or sports. What telecom has needed, in that vein, is a way to create, for consumers, that high emotional bond. Apple's iPhones have become that bond, for the first time in the industry's history. Of course, there is a bit of a downside: the emotional bond is with the device, created by Apple, still not the service…

Global Telco "Meltdown" Coming? Or Just Normal Product Substitution?

BSkyB has been a major player in the United Kingdom subscription TV market for decades. But BSkyB faces a maturation of its base business, as do all other video entertainment and communications providers in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

 “The company made a number of announcements which confirm that, beyond the near term slowdown, structural issues are looming,” Bernstein analyst Claudio Aspesi argues.

“While we believe the pay TV business is inherently more defensive than advertising-funded ones, the depth and length of the downturn in the U.K. economy are still unknown: any significant changes to our forecasts for the UK TV ad market could be large enough to change the outlook for the stock.”

Structural changeis another way of saying that saturated markets and greater amounts of competition are eroding the growth potential for virtually all big communications or entertainment businesses.

According to analysts at Ovum, global service provider revenues grew seven percent in 2011.…

Strong Tablet Adoption Changes Device Behavior

That shipments of tablets are expected to grow from 72.7 million units in 2011 to 383.3 million units by 2017, according to NPD, would not surprise many observers.

Growth in emerging markets, expected to account for up to 46 percent of worldwide shipments by 2017, an increase from the 36 percent share in 2011, might be more surprising.

The tablet forecast also illustrates an important change in connected appliance trends. In the past, “PCs” have been one category of appliances, while MP-3 players, phones and digital organizers, game devices, cameras and e-reading devices have been distinctly different categories.

These days, many of those devices have overlapping functions. Taken as a whole, the changes suggest the crucial role “content consumption” now plays as a lead application for most devices. Though PCs, cameras and organizers still largely have “work or business” use cases, virtually all the other devices are oriented around content consumption.

If results of a U.K. consumer poll…

No Surprise: Internet Value is at App Layer

A new Boston Consulting Group perspective piece about the inescapable role of the Internet in economic life raises obvious questions about where value now lies, as “every business needs to “go digital.”

By 2016, there will be three billion Internet users globally, and the Internet economy will reach $4.2 trillion in the G-20 nations, BCG argues.

“No company or country can afford to ignore this phenomenon,” BCG says. But that doesn’t mean every part of the ecosystem benefits equally, one might argue.

On one hand, a trillion devices will need to be connected to the Internet, which obviously implies the need for access services. Many of those devices will be sensors, which is why mobile service providers see such potential for machine-to-machine services.

But the business now is “about ecosystems,” BCG says. “The Internet is increasingly being shaped by ecosystems orchestrated by companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, Baidu, Tencent and Yandex, BCG argues. .

And that is th…

Can Broadband Access be Segmented and Differentiated?

MetroPCS is among the few U.S. mobile operators that have embraced the idea of application-based charging, at least to the extent of offering plans aimed at light video consumers, heavy video consumers, and those in between.

Though it remains unclear precisely which new charging systems might gain favor, a survey of some 30 tier one service providers, sponsored by Tekelec and conducted by Heavy Reading, suggests several approaches are being considered.

Though the emphasis has been on simplicity and buckets of usage, there has been a change in thinking over the last two years, about the necessity of using differentiated charging mechanisms and plans to better manage and “monetize” mobile networks, in particular, says Mark Ventimiglia, Tekelec director.

“Usage problems and average revenue per user” are the main drivers of the new thinking, says Ventimiglia. But operating cost reduction also is part of the new thinking, especially as the dominant mobile service providers increasingly fac…

ESPN Goes Mobile First

You'd expect ESPN Mobile to emphasize mobile content. But the more-important change would be if all of ESPN had that same perspective. It might be a bit early to say that has happened, but there is little doubt thinking is changing.

The thinking at ESPN is to "program and design from the mobile standpoint first, then extrapolate what could be applied for the PC, television and print experience,” says Michael Bayle, ESPN Mobile VP. Mobile First at ESPN
That is a shift of perspective.

50% of Adults Used Mobiles In-Store While Shopping

More than half of all adult mobile phone owners used their devices for some shopping-related purpose during the last while they were in a store Christmas and holiday shopping season, the Pew Research Center reports.

Some 38 percent of mobile phone owners used their phone to call a friend while they were in a store for advice about a purchase they were considering making. Some 24 percent of mobile device owners used their phone to look up reviews of a product online while they were in a store. The rise of in-store mobile commerce

Some 25 percent of adult mobile owners used their phones to look up the price of a product online while they were in a store, to see if they could get a better price somewhere else. That is the aspect of mobile in-store shopping that seems to worry most brick and mortar retailers.
Taken together, just over half (52 percent) of all adult mobile phone owners used their phone for at least one of these three reasons over the Christmas and holiday shopping season…

Millennials Trust UGC

About 51 percent of Millennials (born between roughly 1977 and 1995, by some estimates) say that recommendations from strangers through user-generated content on a company website are most likely to influence their opinion when making a purchase, compared to 49 percent who say that recommendations from friends and family is most influential, according to Bazaarvoice.

In contrast, Boomers (born between roughly 1946 and 1964, by some estimates) are almost twice as likely to favor recommendations from friends and family over user-generated content.

Some 66 percent of "Boomer" respondents say friends and family are influential when consumers are weighing purchases, compared to 34 percent who say recommendations from people they don't know are favored. Millennial Trust in UGC High

Yahoo Goes "Mobile First"

You can add Yahoo to the list of companies that have said their business strategy is "mobile first." Google executives have been saying that company's strategy is "mobile first" for some time. Most leading telecom service providers have been "mobile first," in terms of revenue, for some time as well.

Now Yahoo says "we’re moving forward with a 'mobile first' mindset."  Mobile first is simply a response to where revenue opportunities and growth now exist.

For Google, mobile first means new applications and initiatives are centered on mobile devices rather than PCs, mobile Internet rather than PC access to the Internet, and the mobile context instead of PC context.

That's why Android, Motorola Mobility and Google Wallet are associated with Google, where it might not have made so much sense in the past.

Inc. 500 Firm Blogging Down, Other Social Media Up?

For the first time since 2007, Inc. 500 firms seem to be blogging less, and shifting support to other forms of social media.

In 2010 half of the Inc. 500 had a corporate blog, up from 45 percent in 2009 and 39 percent in 2008.

In the 2011 study, the use of blogging dropped to 37 percent. The caveat is that the composition of firms in the Inc. 500 also has changed, and that makes a difference.

Companies in the advertising and marketing industry are most likely to blog, while companies in government services and construction make very little use of blogging. Still, it might be fair to note that firms across verticals are focusing more attention on Facebook and Twitter.

The platform most used by the 2011 Inc. 500 is Facebook, with 74 percent of companies using it.  But 73 percent use LinkedIn. About 25 percent of respondents said Facebook was the most effective social networking tool, while 24 percent said LinkedIn was the single most effective social networking platform.

Some 13 percent …