Network Churn and Burn: Why We’re Switching Phone Providers

Joanna Tatum
August 12, 2015

Study reveals that faulty phones and failed fixes are key in why we’re changing networks.

Network providers want to keep you with them. It’s simple business; the more customers they have, the more money they make. And the power of the customer to vote with their feet – or at least with their contracts – means that studies like the one released today by Blancco Technology Group are things that they need to pay attention to.

What’s churn?

‘Churn’, or customer turnover, is when people choose to move to a different network in the hopes of getting better service or a better deal. And it’s when your phone has issues (or appears to) that you need good service most of all. Unfortunately, you can’t always get it.

“When consumers head in-store for help, they’re usually under the assumption that customer service agents, sales representatives and repair specialists are geniuses in troubleshooting and fixing their mobile devices,” says Amit Mahajan, CTO of SmartChk by Xcaliber Technologies, a division of Blancco Technology Group. “In reality, a vast majority of support staff are young, immature and lack adequate training – and there isn’t any mobile diagnostics solution or technology onsite to close that skills gap.”

Or, in other words, some sales assistants may not know any more than you.

Common problems

While 49 percent of those surveyed would go for help within the first three days of discovering a problem, and a solid 9 percent in less than three hours, the report states that a staggering 60 to 80 percent of devices returned aren’t actually faulty. Given that every return is costing $30 to $60 (USD), and any purchase of a new phone is costing consumers significantly more, teaching the staff to do simple repairs could potentially save money all around.

Many of the ‘problems’ reported are to do with battery life or frozen/crashed apps – 38 percent mentioned that battery life issues were their main woe, while 13 percent had regular issues with apps that refused to cooperate. And nearly a third (31 percent) said that they had issues at least once a month – if not more often. With problems like that going unfixed, it’s no surprise that 33 percent would want to try a new brand of phone, or that 31 percent would move to a new network.

However, if networks invested in the right training, the report suggests that both they and the customer could save an impressive amount of money . . . and customer loyalty.

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