Canadian Subscribers Opt For Better Customer Service and Network Quality

by Istvan Fekete on November 12, 2014

As the incumbents routinely match each other’s prices in the market, it is becoming hard for Canadians to make a choice when it comes to signing up for a wireless service. Excluding price from decision factors, the choice is based on other elements such as customer service or claims about network quality (via The Globe and Mail).

“Whether it’s perception or reality, this is a marketplace that offers very little choice, or at least very little differentiation other than on things like customer service. Some may well choose on that basis, but I do think … consumers would like to see more choice in terms of price,” said Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa.

Looking at the quarterly earnings reports published by incumbents, Telus comes out as a clear winner: it added 113,000 customers in Q3, followed by Bell with 92,000. Rogers is well behind with 17,000 new customers added during that period.

It looks like Telus’ emphasis on better customer service – as highlighted in every earnings report – has brought results. This investment was also reflected by the number of complaints received by the CCTS during the past 12 months: only 5.76% of the total complaints were filed by Telus customers.

Bell and Rogers, on the other hand, received the lion’s share of customer complaints. New Rogers CEO Guy Laurence has identified customer service as a problem the carrier needs to address, and this spring he created a business unit focused on customer experience.

The picture isn’t complete without the regional players, which offer lower prices, but as analysts and their subscriber bases reveal, price doesn’t seem to be a decisive factor: Canadian wireless subscribers apparently prefer quality instead of lower cost.

While wireless startups and regional carriers have experienced noticeable growth in terms of subscriber base (Wind Mobile has exceeded 800,000 customers, and Videotron added 39,000 new customers in Q3, 2014), lack of network coverage imposes limits they will need to overcome. However, their pricing strategy has forced incumbents to adjust their prices and lower their monthly plans by up to $15 compared to other provinces.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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