Vodafone still beset by poor customer satisfaction

By Wenlei Ma | 30 October 2013

Virgin Mobile has the most overall satisfied customers while Vodafone, despite increased investment in its network, still lags last, according to an AIMIA report.

The AIMIA annual Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index surveyed mobile phone users aged 18-years old to 75. Among a range of findings was telco carrier satisfaction increased across all major brands except for Vodafone.

In overall satisfaction, Virgin Mobile led with 88%, followed by Optus with 85%, Telstra with 82% and Vodafone sat at 62%. Virgin, Optus and Telstra all gained a few points compared to last year but Vodafone dropped two points.

Vodafone has been battling for years to retain and regain customers following a series of high-profile network failures. It rolled out an ambitious rebrand last month.

Vodafone lost ground across all carrier service points, with the most significant decline across range of plans and packages and cost of accessing data. Network coverage was still a sticking point for customers who reported a 36% satisfaction rate versus 37% last year.

The survey was carried out between August to September, before the launch of Vodafone's rebrand, so the results will not have had the advantage of seeing a boost from that. However, Vodafone has been spruiking investment in its network, including 4G coverage, for a little while.

In addition to overall satisfaction, Virgin Mobile led every category – customer service, range of plans and packages, variety of mobile handsets, cost of accessing data, cost of voice calls and content and services available – except for network coverage, which had Telstra squarely in front at 85%.

Other key findings from the report included 56% tablet ownership rate, compared to 38% in 2012.

More people are using their mobile phones to compare prices before making a purchase with more than 60% of respondents having done so. Worryingly for traditional retailers, almost 30% of respondents said mobile commerce has decreased their in-store purchases.

“The ease with which mobile phone users can now buy everything from shoes to books and even consumer electronics on mobile phones is increasingly affecting in-store purchasing. Within a handful of clicks, the purchase is complete,” Complete the Picture Consulting director Marisa Maio Mackay said. “It's evident that the mobile phone is not only a platform for making the actual purchase, but is also important for many consumers in aiding their purchase decisions.”

AIMIA chief executive David Holmes said: “There has been a lot of hype around devices such as Google Glasses and Nike Fuel Band over the last year and I'm excited to see how these devices will interact and affect the use of mobile phones in the future.”

Vodafone still lagging behind rivals.

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