Service factor

25 Aug 2006

Having made the mistake of taking a holiday, I am now paying for it.

I don't mean sticker shock from my credit card bill, but the effort of reinserting myself back into "normal life".

That means dealing with bills, repairs and a host of other chores that cropped up in my absence. One of my tasks was to fax a document to a government office. That took half a day.

For all the apparent "convenience" of modern life, we are really governed by complexity. Indeed, a kind of Newton's Third Law seems to apply: for every convenience there is an equal and opposite inconvenience.

The cellphone is the ultimate example. Humankind survived a million years without one, but to be without a mobile today is akin to going naked in a cave. The assumption is we have mobile services, email and all the rest.

Customers need assistance in dealing with all this complexity; surely a commercial opportunity if ever there were one.

An Accenture study shows consumers will quickly switch if they are dissatisfied with service. Nearly half of all US consumers dumped a service provider in the past year because of poor customer service.

The online survey found retailers were the worst culprits, with 18% of respondents saying they had switched stores because of bad service. ISPs were next at 15%, with residential telcos at 12% and cellcos 11%, while utilities and insurance firms rated best at 3%.


That's not necessarily a big negative for telecom companies.

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