Mark Bridge writes:
The adage that “the customer is always right” has apparently been disproved by a recent survey of mobile phone users.
Mobile News reports that virtual networks Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile outperformed their network partners in a recent customer satisfaction survey carried out by research firm YouGov for price comparison website uSwitch.
Now, when it comes to customer service, tariffs and value-for money, it’s not implausible that a virtual network might perform better than the ‘parent’ network it’s using. After all, the MVNO will have created its own charging structure and price plans… and it’ll have its own customer service team.
But it won’t have a different network. It’ll be using exactly the same cables, base stations and switching equipment as its wholesale partner. Therefore the coverage it provides will be identical.
However, that’s not what customers seem to think.
72% of Virgin Mobile customers said they were satisfied with network coverage. Only 66% of T-Mobile customers were satisfied with exactly the same network.
Over at Tesco Mobile, a mere 5% of customers were unhappy with their network coverage – yet 8% of O2 customers weren’t happy.
So – what’s going on?
Well, I’m certain you’d be wrong to blame customers for ‘being stupid’. Cost is likely to play a part, along with usage patterns and brand loyalty. Consumers on a budget MVNO may be less inclined to complain about a ‘cheap’ network – and, with 99% population coverage available across the UK for calls and texts, it’s data services that could well be affecting those judgements about network quality.
Which means the customers in that survey aren’t wrong about network quality. They’re just comparing completely different things.