A recent study reveals the irony of smartphones -- they are so "smart" that consumers are having difficulty using them. And service providers are challenged supporting their users.
A global study by Amdocs revealed that service providers in the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, are most challenged in supporting their smartphone customers. APAC service providers noted increased volume in call center support calls, increase in average handling times of calls, increased need to divert calls to a specialist call center representative and increased time to resolve problems.
The study noted that it costs service providers to address customer concerns about their smartphones. But these are costs they have to bear just to satisfy customers. Service providers are, in fact, putting in effort to improve services from smartphone capabilities in order to increase revenues. However, the study also revealed that customers are not maximising these features.
Worldwide, customers are returning the smartphone devices to service operators reportedly because of support issues. However, often, a check revealed that there was nothing wrong with the devices.
"More than half of APAC respondents reported that between 5 to 15 per cent of their customers return smartphones, and 25 per cent of APAC respondents said that 20 to 40 per cent of these phones are no-fault returns," an Amdocs press statement read.
The study also revealed that APAC region had the most number of smartphone customers who do not know how to use the advanced features of the device.
"The survey confirms that smartphone support calls are increasing rapidly, caused by the dramatic increase in number of devices, features, and services," said Ari Banerjee, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, an analyst firm that conducted the study for Amdocs.
Banerjee added that adding more call center staff is not the solution. Rather, customer care managers should focus on efficiently managing these support calls and possibly even consider automating the process and even outsourcing.
Amdocs, which offers customer experience systems, also suggested that service providers use "effective and efficient customer management technologies to ensure better lifecycle management and maximise the potential revenue opportunities associated with smartphones."
The study conducted in November and December 2010 involved 77 IT and marketing professionals from 55 wireless service providers worldwide.