Author: Suzy Coulson
Australia’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), released a discussion paper in August aimed at finding a way to lower the costs Australian consumers are currently paying for their mobile phone services. Whilst this is great news for mobile phone users, this does mean a potential shift in which providers we choose.
In July, Global Reviews conducted a marketing effectiveness study into the ways in which consumers research and select mobile phone providers to meet their needs. It was found that of those who didn’t have a preferred provider before they began their research, 54% would go into their research specifically looking for the provider with the best prices i.e. rates and fees. Once consumers had commenced their research, 60% built their shortlist of providers based on them having good rates and fees.
As it currently stands, Optus and Telstra are the most shortlisted brands at 68% and 66% respectively. Whilst Optus and Telstra are the dominant players, there is room for other brands given that consumers said that they would research an average of 4.7 providers. Even so, they still hold quite a lead on the next most shortlisted brands, Vodafone (40%) and Virgin (34%).
Being the largest telecommunications companies in the country, Optus and Telstra can perhaps afford to play around with the rates and fees they charge their customers. Smaller companies, however, most likely don’t have such freedoms which is an issue considering that on an importance scale of 1-5 (1=not at all important, 5=very important), customers rated low fees and charges as a 4.5 in importance when it comes to choosing a preferred provider. This was made evident when Optus, who was originally only preferred by 17% versus Telstra at 35%, managed to finish just one point behind Telstra in final preference thanks discovering their “good plan options” during the research and discovery phase.
With the amount that service providers are charging each other to receive phone calls and text messages now under scrutiny by the ACCC, the costs between providers is set to drop from May 2015, which will in turn allow for a drop in the fees charged to the consumer, opening up the competition to the smaller companies.
So as fees and rates begin to get more competitive, will we begin to see a change in which brands consumers prefer? Will the criteria in which we shortlist and choose providers change? In the coming weeks, Global Reviews will be running a sales effectiveness benchmark to evaluate the digital sales experience of the major telco’s and see just how prepared they are for this potential shift in how consumers will select a provider. The complete website journey will be assessed to see if providers can cater for the full range of customer needs, not just the pricing.
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