How could a carrier bring more transparency to the mobile wireless category in the USA?
Transparency is defined as not having a hidden agenda but providing full information that is utilized for collaboration, decision-making, and cooperation. This is an important topic in the wireless industry where distrust and general consumer dislike runs rampant. Surveys by Matrixx Software and Consumer Reports show that pricing transparency is one of the most-needed facets of the wireless industry. In addition to pricing, consumers want to know the good and the bad about the company. Sharing company information is important to build trust amongst consumers. This helps with company rating and review sites that can be seen by all consumers. Other ways for transparency are social media visibility and value-added pricing that would include promos and perks for consumers.
Matrixx Software provided a survey that went to 3,077 respondents. Of those, 75% of the participants wanted transparency in pricing with their mobile carrier. Additionally, nearly the same percentage (73%) of participants wished their wireless provider was more like Amazon and if it were, they would purchase the service.
When looking at pricing there are some obvious signs that more transparency is needed.
1) Dissolve installments (too similar to contracts)
While contracts were done away with years ago, they are now replaced by installment plans which seem to be very similar to a contract. You can't get out of an installment plan without breaking a contract and paying the difference.
2) Smaller Companies
Smaller companies rank higher in surveys by Consumer Reports. They are ranked higher in cost, speed, and reliability. Even though they may not be able to get the latest phone devices, their clientele is increasing because they are transparent. Survey respondents also ranked prepaid carriers high, but lack of good devices makes the option less appealing.
3) All-in-one pricing
This summer T-Mobile came out with an all-in-one pricing. They did away with line items for taxes, fees, and other charges. While it's apparent they are going to subsidize some of those costs, they may be on to something. With the simplified billing, they can reduce some staff members required for customer service. In addition, they can combine marketing ads and social media advertising to save on costs.
4) Overage fee reduction
More transparency on overage fees. Consumers need to be allowed to switch their plans back and forth when they have heavy months of traffic so they aren't faced with overage fees. In addition, when calling or receiving international calls and texts, consumers need to know how to protect themselves from overages. Other ways to help with price transparency are to stop charging to see bill details, lower fees for viewing voicemail, and disposing of termination fees.
Knowing the company you are doing business with and trusting them to do their best for you is what makes the world go round. According to a Label Insight survey, more than 90% of consumers shared that they would be loyal to a brand or company that was transparent. In addition, 73% of those were willing to pay more to a company for their product if they were transparent. Companies need to share more about the company in good times and in bad. It's better to tell the consumer before they find out anyway. Consumers are more likely to choose the company or continue with the company when they know all the details.
1) Ratings and reviews
Consumers today spend a lot of time on rating and review sites to find the products they may potentially want to purchase. The same goes for companies. Companies who are transparent are generally favored on the ratings and reviews, which helps gain consumers.
2) Social media visibility
Today, nearly 90% of business are using social media advertising. This is a 24-hour-a-day operation these days with information being shared faster than ever. This can be a positive way for companies to be transparent and to offer company information to get the word out.
3) Availability of information
Consumers demand the knowledge of instant information and are used to getting their way now that social media is around. This has become a pressure point for businesses and an ideal way to be transparent.
General Business Practices
Business practice is important and knowing your company and what your consumers expect can help a company thrive.
1) Promos and valued-added benefits
The first thing to do is use the "get something for nothing" approach. Establish new promos and value-added perks that help the consumer feel like they are getting a deal.
When the company partners are being transparent with where the money is going, find ways to make them be transparent or your company will suffer the consequences. Today's consumer wants complete transparency and this is up to the company to provide it.
3) Bad news travels fast, so be first
According to a Bedford Group survey, consumer expectations are only met about 39% of the time. With that said, when the company makes a mistake, own up to it. If the company isn't performing well, share it with your consumers. There is a high likelihood they are going to find out anyway, so telling them at least makes them informed. If you make a mistake as a company, let the consumer know, along with how you plan to fix it.
In summary, the price is a big proponent that consumers want complete transparency with. There are ways to accomplish this, such as all-in-one plans that don't have line items for other charges, limiting overage fees by allowing consumers to change plans back and forth on the fly, work like the smaller companies do to provide valuable cost, speed, and reliability. Other ways to improve transparency is by sharing information which will help on ratings and reviews, being visible on social media, and making information available. Bad news can travel fast, so be sure to share it before consumers find out from someone else. Finally, businesses gain consumers by making the consumer feel like they are getting something so give them value-added bonuses for becoming a customer.