Survey: Connectivity challenges during pandemic

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The Covid-19 pandemic created a surge in home network usage and issues, and disrupted customer contact-centre operations for broadband service providers around the globe, according to the findings of a survey carried out by connected homes technical support platform Sweepr, examining broadband users’ recent customer support experiences and inclination to use digital self-service.

The survey of more than 600 consumers across the US and UK found that of those who experienced technical issues, 58 per cent could not connect to the Internet; 59 per cent experienced slow broadband speeds; 27 per cent had a router/modem issue; and nearly 20 per cent could not connect to a service, such as Netflix, over a recent sixty-day period.

In response, 82 per cent first tried to fix the problem themselves, citing speed and convenience as their top two motivators. However, 72 per cent of those who relied on their provider’s self-service tools found them not easy to find, and 71 per cent said those instructions were also not easy to understand.

While 55 per cent of all people could not fix their own issues, the difficulty was far more acute for less tech-savvy consumers. 73 per cent of self-described, non-technical people failed to fix their own problems. In total, 80 per cent of all respondents who failed to fix their problems transferred to a customer support centre, and 80 per cent of them had their issue fixed remotely without the need to send a technician to the home.

“Both consumers and service providers are at a critical inflection point when it comes to digital self-service, accelerated by the Covid-19 situation,” notes Alan Coleman, Founder and CEO of Sweepr. “People want to solve their own home tech issues quickly, and service providers want to keep those customers happy while minimising costs. This survey showed there’s significant room for improvement on both fronts, but also unveiled a powerful upside. If 80 per cent of tech issues can be fixed remotely by a care agent, imagine the possibilities if more of that power was automated, simplified, and placed in the hands of consumers.”

The survey also found:

  • While 45 per cent were able to fix their own tech issues, 55 per cent failed to do so. Of those who failed, 80 per cent contacted customer support, and the remaining 20 per cent just stopped trying.
  • Consumers were willing to spend time fixing their own issues, up to a point. Almost three out of four respondents were willing to spend 30 minutes or less to fix their own tech issues. Only 17 per cent spent up to an hour trying to fix their tech issues, while just 3 per cent spent up to three hours.
  • When looking to fix a technical issue, a broadband provider’s online self-service tools were slightly more favoured and used by 38 per cent of people, while 37 per cent used other online resources, and 25 per cent asked the advice of family and friends.
  • 17 per cent of successful resolutions were attributable to broadband provider self-service support tools.
  • Traditional support channels took considerable time. More than one in three people were on hold for more than 30 minutes to reach an agent.
  • Among self-described, non-technical people only 17 per cent had their issue fixed upon first contact with an agent, and they were 2.5 times more likely to require five contacts to fix their issue than more tech-savvy people.
  • More than one in three of all respondents spent an average of 90 minutes on their tech support issue.

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