The vast majority of consumers want pay-TV operators to demonstrate they understand their needs and provide them with a positive customer experience at every stage of consumer engagement – but close to a third say they are falling short.
This is according to new research from subscription, billing and customer relationship management (CRM) specialist Paywizard.
The survey of more than 3 000 consumers across three bellwether markets – the UK, the US and the Philippines – reveals 85% of all respondents expect a positive, personalised customer experience from their pay-TV providers throughout the customer lifecycle, yet the research also shows 31% have in fact experienced a negative interaction or issue with at least one operator in the previous 12 months.
The research, detailed in a report entitled “Show the Love with customer experience”, finds three-quarters of those reporting a negative interaction or issue say it damaged their view of the brand, while just a quarter felt their issue was dealt with effectively and were happy with the outcome.
Bhavesh Vaghela, chief executive of Paywizard, comments: “This research clearly demonstrates not just the critical importance of customer experience but that a startling proportion of operators are failing to meet the demands of today’s connected consumer. The findings make clear that modern consumers, especially millennials coming of age in the era of big-data, expect pay-TV providers to know them – and what’s more, with every interaction, reflect genuine insight into their habits, preferences and needs by acting on them.
“It is all too evident that too many pay-TV operators are simply falling short in their efforts to build customer loyalty and brand reputation,” Vaghela adds. “The days when they could rely merely on the strength of their content offering are gone. Instead, operators have to make sure every point in the customer journey – from signing up and accessing content, to being billed and changing a package, to cancelling and even coming back – works for the subscriber.”
The study also demonstrates that failing to provide a consistently positive customer experience has real and serious ramifications: 26% of those surveyed terminated an over-the-top (OTT) TV subscription in the previous 12 months because of poor customer experience and 44% of consumers who had experienced a negative interaction or issue with an OTT provider had cancelled. Overall, 75% of all respondents say they would cancel if service and support became poor and a provider seemed out of touch with their needs and preferences.
On the positive side of the customer experience equation, the research also reveals half of consumers across the three markets surveyed kept a pay-OTT subscription they had considered dropping in the previous 12 months because of excellent customer experience.
Other key findings in the survey include:
* 85% of consumers across all three markets have at least one pay-TV subscription, with two-thirds of respondents having a traditional cable, satellite or IPTV service and half subscribing to an OTT service – with one-third taking both.
* 55% of survey respondents plan to sign up to at least one new pay-TV service of any type in the next six months.
* Close to half of consumers subscribed to a pay-OTT service in the previous 12 months, with young people proving to be particularly enthusiastic online TV viewers – as under-45s represent 74% of those who signed up to a digital on-demand service.
* 32% took a new pay-OTT subscription the previous year andincreased their total spend as a result, while 17% added a new subscription but cut or downgraded either their general package or another pay-OTT service to reduce spend.
* 87% of all consumers say they would be more loyal to a TV service provider that was proactive in ensuring their package and price are always at the best level for them.
“The new report shows that the pay-TV marketplace is thriving and competitive,” notes Vaghela. “Looking at these three different markets in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific, we see a number of common trends – the continuing momentum of OTT, the power of positive customer experience, and the need for all pay-TV operators to adjust to changing market dynamics.
“One of the biggest trends highlighted by the research is the rise of consumers with multiple pay-TV subscriptions spread between traditional options such as cable and satellite and pure online offerings. This group of ‘pay-TV polygamists’ – 33% across the three markets surveyed – offers a glimpse into a future where consumers increasingly pick and mix services.”