It will be interesting to see how service providers' investments in automation, enhanced whole-home WiFi and self service should change consumer responses to future iterations of J.D. Powers' service technician studies.
Subscriber satisfaction increasingly lies at the heart of providers' investments and strategies. But given the time it takes to deploy solutions -- and variables in polling -- it may be premature for operators' initiatives to have yet affected subscriber sentiments.
The research firm's debut telecom in-home service technician survey focused primarily on subscribers' perceptions of installation and post-installation service for residential wireline services, including high-speed broadband, phone and TV. The study covered overall satisfaction with on-site service technician visits based on six single-attribute factors: work quality; timeliness for work completion; technician's knowledge; technician's courtesy; technician's professionalism, and appointment-scheduling, according to J.D. Powers.
When service windows are one hour or less, customer satisfaction increased 49 points among consumers with a two-hour window. Those given a one-hour window versus a four-hour window marked a 104-point satisfaction improvement, the research firm said.
Operators are working hard to decrease these windows when technicians must visit a home. AT&T, for example, is incorporating traffic, weather and other local data into its Indigo-based technician-scheduling solution to provide abbreviated service windows and allow consumers and technicians to communicate directly with each other, Andre Fuetsch told Broadband World News last year. Certainly, AT&T/DirecTV performed higher than the industry average, according to J.D. Powers' survey. (See AT&T: Using High-Speed Broadband to Boost Customer Service.)
Customers Lose Patience with the Waiting Game
When technicians arrive on time, customers give an overall satisfaction score of 871, J.D. Powers recorded. That drops to 819 if the tech is early and 683 when the tech arrives late. Despite pressure to be punctual, 12% of technicians reportedly were not: 5% were early, 7% were late -- and of the 7% who were late, 20% arrived at least two days
past the appointment window, the survey found. It's easy to imagine the customer's angry tweets, Facebook posts and irate calls -- perhaps via their mobile device if they have no wired access-- at this point.
Unsurprisingly, overall satisfaction is higher -- 112 points, to be precise -- when the issue is fixed on the first visit. And while 74% note everything is all right when the tech leaves after one try, 26% indicated at least one issue remained unresolved when the tech left their home, the study showed.
"Customers whose issues are not fixed correctly the first time are more than twice as likely to indicate they 'definitely will' or 'probably will' switch providers than those whose issues are fixed during the first technician visit," the report said.
To address this, some operators use analytics to match the best-suited available technicians to each job. Several operators equip technicians with wearables like Google Glass to connect to the central office, said Raghu Puri, managing director in Accenture's Communications, Media & Technology operating group, when he spoke to BBWN in July 2017. And in other cases (with the subscriber's permission), centrally located service center staffers access to the user's devices to remotely and collaboratively diagnose the problem with the on-site tech, he added. (See UBB & Automation: Solutions to the CX Challenge?.)
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter @BroadbandWN or @alisoncdiana.
(Home page image source: USDA/Preston Keres Office of Communications-Photography Services Center via Flickr)