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Study: Poor Broadband Customer Service May Slow VOD Uptake

2 Jul, 2002 By: Hive News

Broadband Internet access technology continues to increase in popularity in U.S. households, but customer service and support are lagging behind.

Three in 10 Americans who use the Internet use broadband service for access, but over half of the broadband subscribers have had problems with their customer service and 90 percent said they would not buy new services from their provider, according to a Harris Poll survey released today,

The online survey, sponsored by Motive Communications, Inc., indicated that among respondents using broadband, a 51 percent had encountered problems with service and support from their provider. The most common issue was having to contact the provider multiple times to get a problem solved (33 percent of broadband users), while 20 percent said it took the provider too long to solve their problems and 7 percent never had their problem solved at all. Another question revealed that 51 percent of broadband subscribers were forced to wait for a technician to come to their home to install the service.

Given these customer service shortcomings, it's understandable that 90 percent of broadband users don't have enough confidence in their supplier to consider buying additional services now or in the near future, even though 45 percent expressed general interest in new broadband services, such as music, streaming video, games, and home networking. Also, 23 percent of subscribers said based on their broadband experience they would consider switching to a different provider or canceling their high-speed Internet service altogether.

“For broadband providers to generate the revenue per customer necessary to ensure long-term profitability, they must find a way to sell additional services to their subscribers. As this survey shows, when service for basic broadband access is only marginal, customers don't feel compelled to purchase additional services like gaming, music and video from their provider when they can get them through other established channels,” said David Hawley, analyst in the Yankee Group's Telecom Software Strategies Planning Service.

"Broadband providers are faced with the reality that customer service must improve for them to succeed in this competitive marketplace," said Sanjay Castelino, Motive's director of marketing, Home Products. "The fact that over half of broadband subscribers say they have had trouble with traditional service and support emphasizes the enormity of the problem. Providers must take steps to automate key processes and streamline technologies so they can offer a quality customer service experience in a cost-effective manner, or else the financial consequences of customer churn and limited upsell opportunities could be disastrous."

Other questions in the online survey focused on how the respondents gain access to the Internet in their homes. 57 percent of the respondents who still use dial-up service indicated that cost was the main factor preventing them from upgrading to broadband. Another 24 percent said that broadband was not available in their area.

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