Understanding subscriber sentiment towards the monthly broadband payment is more critical than it has ever been. 89% of Americans are worried about the cost of living, including essentials like food, healthcare and shelter, and since internet is as much of a commodity as water and electricity nowadays, it’s time for CSPs to sit up and pay attention.
A recent Consumer Report study of more than 2,000 homes in the US found that almost a third of those who don’t have internet say that they can’t afford it. Even when we hear from those who have home internet, 30% say it’s difficult for them to afford.
The lack of consistency in pricing doesn’t help. Consumer Report reviewed thousands of internet bills in both urban and rural areas that cover various connectivity options including Fiber, DSL, Cable and fixed wireless. They found that while half of subscribers in the U.S. are paying between $60-$90 each month, others are paying up to $200, or as little as $10.
With so much variance, subscribers are starting to ask – how do I know if I’m getting value from my CSP?
Does My CSP Have My Back?
According to EY, the cost of living crisis is one of the top risks for CSPs in 2023. Household attitudes towards spending are changing, and 33% of subscribers are looking to reduce the amount they spend on connectivity, especially as 45% say they pay too much for content that they don’t utilize.
There’s also a clear lack of trust in the CSP. 60% of subscribers are concerned that their broadband provider will increase their monthly bill, and 44% think their broadband provider could do more to support them with a better value deal. Recurring network problems and reliability issues only exacerbate the lack of goodwill between CSPs and subscribers, as customers ask, “Is this really the best I can do for my hard-earned money?”
This distrust, alongside the marked differences in price tags from available packages sends subscribers looking to the competition. After all, why should customers be loyal if they aren’t getting a great internet experience, and they don’t believe that their CSP has their best interests at heart?
Retention During a Cost of Living Crisis Needs a Different Approach
Both individuals and businesses are feeling the squeeze, so a strategy for ensuring loyalty during a troubling macro-economic climate can’t be put on the back burner.
To solve for this issue, CSPs need to be able to understand their subscribers’ needs, their underlying network performance, and the subjective experience which each user feels. This is where Contextual Intelligence can make a real difference, the visibility into the whole end to end network, as well as how this impacts the devices and applications that are being utilized inside the connected home.
First up, CSPs need to get to know who their subscribers are, and what their consumption patterns and preferences are. Subscribers are complaining that they pay for services that they don’t use – so what do they use? Using App ID technology, CSPs can gain accurate insight into how each home is using their internet service, down to whether they are gamers, streamers, web conferencers, or online shopping enthusiasts.
Layering this with Device ID, the CSP gets a full view of the connected home topology, so that they can better understand the subjective experience of each user. The result is a true understanding of where the user needs help. What will cause serious service degradation on a flatscreen HD smart TV, may not cause as much as a wobble on a mobile phone, for example.
This contextual intelligence allows CSPs to see more than just how the network is performing, and critically – add the intelligence to recognize how this is actually impacting each home and user within.
Adjusting Your CSP Offering to Support Subscribers as Individuals Through the Crisis
This level of insight is a welcome mat for personalization, which is exactly what subscribers need to see when they are tightening their belts. Here are some tangible ideas that can show customers that they are right where they need to be:
- Reassure subscribers that they are paying for what they use: Share data on usage, and offer adjustments to internet packages that will meet their demand. For example, if a household is a light web user, you could offer a smaller package, cutting their monthly bill. If they use what they pay for, seeing that by numbers can help them feel they are being given value for money.
- Offer personalized bundles and packages: Once you know what applications subscribers rely on, you can create personalized offers that can help them reduce the monthly spend. If a household is paying for Netflix separately, you could offer an internet bundle that comes with HBO included, which may allow them to drop the added cost.
- Understand when service degradation occurs: Showing subscribers that you care about them individually is extremely powerful. By knowing when households have poor Quality of Experience in context, CSPs can reach out proactively and offer recommendations for mitigation. This shows the user that you’re not just in it for the money, you care about their service quality.
Have You Formed a Response to the Economic Downturn Yet?
75% of middle-class Americans say that their income falls below the cost of living. When money is tight, every dollar counts. To ensure retention, CSPs need to show that they deserve subscribers’ trust, or customers will quickly look elsewhere to whoever is shouting loudest, or waving a lower price tag.
This starts with gaining visibility over the whole network in context, and truly understanding the topology of each subscriber’s connected home. It’s only with this data to hand that personalization can be kicked up a notch, and CSPs can show subscribers that they are truly on the same team.
Interested in using data to show your subscribers the value of your offering? Schedule a call.