Research: Swedes value QoS in ISP selection
June 16, 2022
By Colin Mann
Findings from a new study – The State of Mobile & Broadband customer support – by customer and network experience platform provider Subtonomy suggest that quality of service, as well as the quality of support, influence user decisions as to which Internet Service Provider to select.
Sweden is a highly advanced digital economy, ranking third out of 27 EU Member States. In 2021, 89 per cent of Swedes aged 16–85 years (or 7.3 million people), used the Internet every day, according to Statistics Sweden. But what were they using it for?
Post-Covid, a large proportion of Swedes have continued to work from home, with 54 per cent of Swedish households now having at least one resident homeworking some of the time and 13 per cent having multiple residents working from home for more than 2 days each week.
This has driven a massive uptake in the use of complex business applications over suburban broadband connections – with more than 65 per cent of Swedish respondents reporting they are now using videoconferencing applications to keep in touch with colleagues, family and friends.
Such applications are highly sensitive to service quality and require a reliable broadband connection but, despite this, eight out of 10 Swedes (81 per cent) do not want a second business broadband line into their home and another 15 per cent said they would only have one if their employer paid for it. This suggests that what customers actually want is to be offered higher tiers of service quality over their existing broadband connection.
Swedes are using their broadband connections for an ever-increasing range of entertainment, social and essential services. Nine out of 10 (88 per cent) are streaming their favourite films and shows, 90 per cent use social media – including video or photo-based social media such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram – and 34 per cent are using home broadband for online gaming. A massive 97 per cent pay bills, check the news or send emails using their home broadband.
These applications have driven a massive increase in demand for broadband along with high expectations of customer service, with average broadband speeds of 164Mbit/s in 2021, it’s unsurprising that 81 per cent of Swedish broadband customers are happy with the service being provided. But satisfaction with coverage in rural areas, as well as for cars and boats, lags behind that for homes.
Just a third of Swedish customers (33 per cent) needed customer support in 2021, but when they did they used a range of channels to try to fix their problems. Contact centres were still the channel of choice for a third of customers (32 per cent), and particularly for older age demographics. But digitally-savvy Swedes searched their ISP’s website for answers (34 per cent), or online (31 per cent), while 6 per cent even looked for YouTube videos to help them solve their problems.
“What we’re seeing is increasingly complex behaviour by customers, which makes it essential that ISPs are able to offer seamless omnichannel support – ensuring their customers are able to access the same, accurate and up-to-date information about their problems whichever channel they use,” notes Fredrik Edwall, EVP Sales & Marketing at Subtonomy. Edwall warns that the ability to provide omnichannel technical support across a wide range of network types and ever-more complex services is set to become a huge challenge for ISPs in the next five years, as they roll out gigabit fibre and 5G networks, but is essential for successful monetisation of these services.
Subtonomy’s research revealed that not only do customers expect a better support experience to keep them connected, but this is becoming a point of differentiation between providers. It’s also revenue accretive – with 45 per cent willing to pay more to get higher service quality.
“Faster networks are great, but customers also expect those networks to be reliable,” observes Edwall. “Customers tell us that the quality of service, as well as the quality of support, influence their decisions as to which provider to select. But perhaps even more tellingly, 45 per cent of Swedish customers now value their broadband connection so highly that they’re willing to pay a premium to get guaranteed service quality and support.”