If you've recently been subjected to shoddy mobile phone reception, confusing data plans, 'free' 1800/1300 phone call fees or non-existent customer service, prepare to be utterly non-plussed: It turns out that two thirds of Australians are dissatisifed with their current telco provider, and many are "more hated" than banks.
At least, that's according to the findings in a new poll conducted by Macquarie University on behalf of mobile service provider amaysim.
"Are mobile phone providers more hated than banks? Absolutely," said Dr Steven D'Alessandro, a senior lecturer at Macquarie University who assisted in the study. "...You get some problem resolution with a bank. With telcos, this is often not the case. I think [this] is the main reason why customers are fed up."
The study, dubbed State of the Mobile Nation, comprised a 64-person focus group and a nation-wide survey of 1600 individuals, making it one of the largest of its kind conducted in this country. Its aim was to analyse the behaviors and switching attitudes of mobile phone customers in Australia (along with some good marketing material for amaysim).
The Macquarie University's survey model was based on the European Commission's Mobile Carrier Market Performance Index report, which was the first attempt to develop a generic market performance indicator (MPI).
The study found that customer satisfaction with telcos in Australia was significantly lower than Europe in the areas of comparability, trust, problems & complaints and the meeting of expectations.
"According to the European Commission, mobile telco trust in Europe rates six out of 10," explained senior researcher and Macquarie University lecturer Dr David Gray. "By comparison, our research shows that the Australian public rates mobile telco trust at a dismal four out of 10."
Reasons why telco customers refuse to make the switch. [Source: Macquarie University Sample of respondents n=804].
Interestingly, while 41 per cent of respondents claimed they wanted to switch providers, less than 20% had actually done so in the past 12 months. The reasons for not switching were various, including contract lock-ins (33%), an inability to properly compare deals on the market (32%) and the anticipated time drain and perceived high costs associated with switching (25%).
However, the study found that this is set to change in 2012, with 46% of those polled claiming they were either 'likely' or 'very likely' to switch providers in 2012.
“We believe that this sense of inaction is coming to an end and that in 2012 we will see the start of a surge of switchers," Dr Gray said.
"Australian customers are sharpening their knives," added chief investigator Dr Leanne Carter. "They're waiting for their contracts to end and they want revenge."
According to the study, approximately two million Australians switched mobile phone telcos this year, with each saving an average of $26.52 per month on their new plan.