New customer care models are required if operators hope to improve customer satisfaction in an increasingly intricate smartphone market, new reports have concluded.

According to new findings from vendors Astellia and AetherPal, almost half of all mobile customers are dissatisfied with the level of customer care they are receiving from operators, who are in turn struggling to resolve problems stemming from increasingly complex devices.

Operators must overhaul existing network-centric customer care models in order to improve first call resolution (FCR) and combat customer dissatisfaction, according to a report from Astellia.

It cited a poll of 2,000 mobile users across Germany, Morocco, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa and Spain, which found that 48 percent had experienced a “less than satisfactory” engagement with their mobile operator’s customer service unit.

In particular, the findings showed a stark disparity in the expected resolution times of calls to customer care centres between subscribers and operators.

Sixty-six percent of users polled by Astellia said they expected network-related issues to be resolved within one hour.

However, the majority of the 40 mobile operators quizzed by Astellia said customers would wait up to a day for network problems to be resolved.

A further 26 percent said they believed subscribers would wait up to three days.

Astellia CMO Cedric Arnaud-Battandier commented: “This is a clear call to action for operators to progress towards a more customer-centric model that enables a real-time, holistic view of both the customer and the network; preventing problems before they occur.

“This will ease pressure on contact centres, reduce the time required to resolve a call, limit the number of call-backs, and massively increase the number of satisfied customers, driving up NPS, lowering FCR and, crucially, operating expenditure.”

This echoed findings from a separate report by AetherPal, which forecasts that the total cumulative cost of supporting smartphone users over the next five years will cost the average UK mobile operator around £380 million (€531 million).

The vendor said rising device complexity and ongoing fragmentation of the Android OS platform would drive up calls to operator call centres.

Daniel Deeney, CEO of AetherPal, said: “The combination of smartphone uptake and OS fragmentation issues means that it’s essential for operators to evolve their customer care strategies.

“Market momentum behind the smartphone is such that there is very little operators can do about the anticipated increase in volume of customer care queries over the next few years.

“What operators can do is get smarter with how they manage this surge, and carefully consider the valuable role that self-care solutions can play.”

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