Study from Ovum and Cellebrite Shows Smartphone Problems Leading to Customer Frustration and Churn

(PresseBox) (Barcelona, Spain, ) Independent Analyst Firm Identifies Sharp Increase in Software-Related Faults; Advises Operators to Enhance Problem Detection and Correction Capabilities in All Channels to Preserve Customer Relationships and Reduce Growing Labor, Repair Expense

Cellebrite, the leading developer and provider of mobile diagnostics solutions, and independent market analysis Ovum announced today a global study that examines the extent of smartphone users' service issues and the business impacts of mobile operators' customer technical support abilities. Ovum reached its findings based on a survey of more than 4,000 consumers in the US, UK, China and Germany, and in-depth interviews with executives in 6 mobile operators in these markets.

The study found that within the last year, 7 in 10 consumers had experienced an issue or malfunction with their smartphone and 12% of those who looked to their mobile operator for help, would not return to that operator to purchase their next device based on their customer service experience. Also of concern for operators, software-related problems-which are outside operators' control-have increased from 10 percent to 40 percent of the proportion of total faults. No Trouble Found (NTF) claims, which fail to identify the actual problem, account typically for 1/3 of all handsets that are sent for repair, at a cost to operators that in some cases reaches $300 per unit.

"The findings from this study reveal the extent of the challenge facing mobile operators: a sizable percentage of consumers are growing frustrated with their mobile service providers after experiencing problems that are completely outside of the operators' control," said Angel Dobardziev and Michael Philpott, co-authors of the report. "While hardware and operating system faults have stabilized, software-related or 'soft' faults, caused by such issues as malware-laden and faulty applications, have increased four-fold, leading to increased customer service costs and affecting customer satisfaction."

The Ovum study's findings highlighted the importance of an integrated, multichannel approach that addresses "soft" issues quickly and closer to the customer. Whether operators' policies are to provide a loaner device or to furnish a permanent replacement, these are costly options for the operator and consume resources on the back-end. Further, the study cited three components of the technical service function that will mitigate costs and maintain customer satisfaction are self-help applications, remote diagnostic tools and advanced in-store technical support capabilities.

"For the average consumer, the smartphone has become an indispensable device for work and play, but with that higher degree of capability comes added complexity and frustration when it fails," said Amir Lehr, Executive Vice President of Products and Business Development at Cellebrite. "This study validates feedback from a growing number of our operator customers: rapid and accurate diagnostics do more than save cost as they can save end user relationships at a critical time in the customer lifecycle."

Additional highlights from the study include:

Mobile service providers face a range of direct and indirect costs of not being able to identify and address customer device malfunction issues, regardless of whether the operator is responsible for the actual fault.

68 percent of consumer respondents had experienced an issue or malfunction with their mobile device in the past 12 months.

Approximately 1/3 of respondents suffering from battery and applications-related malfunctions claimed they first turned to their mobile operator or retailer for help.

1 out of every 4 calls to operators' customer care centers involve trouble with a phone.

34 percent of consumers who responded that had experienced a software virus, and 39 percent that had experienced software crashing, stated that it had rendered their device unusable.

Customer service is a top three reason for churn, cited by 25 percent of users that plan to change providers.

14 percent of respondents stated that, based on the operators' inability to fix their problem quickly and satisfactorily, they would look to purchase their next handset from a different provider.

The number of consumers stating they would purchase their next handset from a different provider, due to unsatisfactory technical support, increased to 18 percent for respondents with an applications-related fault.

37 percent of consumer respondents indicated that they suffered a malfunction after their device warranty period was over and of those respondents, 33 percent resolved to put up with the issue that arose when their device was out of warranty.

No Trouble Found (NTF) claims-no faults found with warrantied hardware or software - typically account for 30 percent of all handsets sent for repair. NTFs have a direct cost to the operator in terms of administrative services charges and in some cases handset loan and replacement stock, as well as an indirect cost in terms of customers frustrated by a lack of resolution.

Ill-equipped to identify the true source of problems, technical support staff often resort to brute force resolutions - flashing the phone software or resetting the device to factory conditions. While offering temporary relief, problems resurface when consumers, unaware of what caused the original problem, reintroduce troubled apps or suboptimal configuration settings.

Leading providers of mobile diagnostic solutions, like Cellebrite, are modernizing the repair landscape for the increasingly sophisticated mobile devices introduced on a near daily basis. Diagnostic tools that work across all devices, operating systems, and points of customer interaction help operators and after-market service providers deliver the effective, consistent, omni-channel experiences their customers demand no matter where or when they encounter problems.

"The Ovum study validates the true business impact of smartphone faults-customer dissatisfaction, added costs, and increased churn-and highlights the need for more advanced, easier-to-use applications that can identify smartphone issues and allow the user to resolve them at the click of a button," added Lehr. "Nearly 80 percent of consumers said they would most likely use self-diagnostic tools as a first step to issue resolution. Operators can dramatically improve the customer care experience and reduce their own cost with a multi-channel approach that puts easy-to-use self-service tools in customers' hands and equips operators' own service personnel with solutions that turn even novices into expert technicians."

To download the full Ovum study or inquire how Cellebrite Diagnostics helps operators address the issues identified in this paper, go to http://go.cellebrite.com/...

About Ovum

Ovum is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. Through its 180 analysts worldwide it offers expert analysis and strategic insight across the IT, telecoms, and media industries. Founded in 1985, Ovum has one of the most experienced analyst teams in the industry and is a respected source of guidance for technology business leaders, CIOs, vendors, service providers, and regulators looking for comprehensive, accurate and insightful market data, research and consulting. With 23 offices across six continents, Ovum offers a truly global perspective on technology and media markets and provides thousands of clients with insight including workflow tools, forecasts, surveys, market assessments, technology audits and opinion. In 2012, Ovum was jointly named Global Analyst Firm of the Year by the IIAR. Ovum is a division of Informa plc, one of the leading business and academic publishing and event organisers globally, headquartered in London. Informa is quoted on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, visit Ovum

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