Customer service and experience matches content and cost as new TV differentiators, Paywizard focus groups find
- US and UK focus groups reveal that customer service and experience are now as important as content and value for money when differentiating between TV services
- Paywizard maps 8 significant moments along the subscriber journey which heavily impact whether consumers will stay with service
- Operators’ behaviour at these Decision Moments can directly impact customer satisfaction and retention rates
London, 7 April 2016 – Paywizard, the specialist in subscriber management for pay-TV, has found that customer service and experience are now as critical as content and value for money when differentiating between TV services. Focus groups conducted by industry research experts Decipher in the US and UK show that, as consumers increasingly take a ‘dip in and out’ approach to pay-TV and SVOD services, service is key to making sure customers stay loyal. The findings validate Paywizard’s identification of 8 key Decision Moments across the subscriber TV lifecycle which heavily impact consumer satisfaction: Find, Join, Consume, Upgrade, Downgrade, Bill, Leave, and Win back.
The focus groups were carried out during March 2016, and discovered that these Decision Moments are the engagement points most likely to evoke positive or negative emotional reactions, and impact how long consumers stay with a service. The results are being outlined in a five-part ebook series, the first of which is being released today. Titled ‘Seize the Moments: Tips to acquire loyal customers’ the ebook examines how subscribers feel about the processes of discovering and signing up to TV services. The project stems from Paywizard’s experience acquiring more than 10 million paying customers for its clients, delivering inbound acquisition rates of up to 90%, outbound campaigns driving up to 25% conversions, and churn reduction programmes achieving turn around figures of up to 60%. The first ebook is available to download here.
The focus groups revealed that:
- In addition to seeking premium content and favourable pricing, consumers now evaluate and select subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services based on a wider set of criteria.
- Especially in the US, SVOD services today are perceived as capable of a new and progressive approach to serving customers, making them distinct from other services such as utility companies – “If you feel appreciated by the service, you’re more likely to stay”.
- There was a clear trend towards appreciation of proactive customer service both at joining stage and at times when consumers required service support –“I had a tech issue and my provider went ahead and credited me for that month before I even asked. That was great for winning my trust”.
- Consistently clear communication and upfront flexibility around pricing and packages were important to consumers –“I worry about accidentally racking up a bill. Netflix is better that way, because you know it won’t happen”.
- Simplicity when making account changes such as upgrading and downgrading were also frequently cited as considerations as to whether to select and stay with an SVOD service – “These packages are like a rubber band. You flex them in and out, and it’s fine”.
- A simple and instant cancellation process left a feeling of goodwill, which was vital for the prospect of a future return – “I cancelled Amazon Prime, and they gave me a full refund. It was so easy that I went back. If it had been a nightmare, I wouldn’t have returned”.
Hamish McPharlin, Director at Decipher Media Research comments: “Conducting this investigation into SVOD in 2016 has been a fascinating exercise, as it has become apparent that the landscape has evolved. Users have begun to accept SVOD as an exciting but fundamental part of their digital entertainment services, and as such they are expecting more from the services. Whilst initial drivers were around content, the emerging desires are around great customer service and more sophisticated ways of handling a customer’s interests and needs. And this becomes all the more critical in attracting the large base of older demographics that are starting to show interest, but require a greater level of engagement to help them get involved.”
The 8 consumer moments identified by Paywizard and validated by the focus groups are:
- ‘Find’: Deciding on a service to sign up to, that best suits the consumer’s content and cost requirements
- ‘Join’: The process of signing up, as easily and quickly as possible
- ‘Consume’: Seamless viewing of appealing content, at any time, location and on any device
- ‘Upgrade’: Flexibly upgrading your services package, as and when you like
- ‘Downgrade’: Flexibly downgrading your services package, when it suits
- ‘Bill’: Receiving accurate, clear and timely bills, using a favored payment method
- ‘Leave’: Cancelling a subscription with as little hassle as possible
- ‘Win Back’: Rejoining a service again, at any time, without re-registering.
The findings show that how a TV service provider shows up, behaves and responds at each Moment significantly influences the consumer’s decision to subscribe or continue to subscribe. Paywizard’s ebook series outlines best practice for operators at each stage, and the technology needed to achieve a personalised and seamless service at each moment. There will also be demonstrations at NAB 2016 (booth #SU11705CM) of Paywizard’s subscription, billing and CRM solution, designed to help operators deliver highly efficient customer experiences at every decision moment.
Bhavesh Vaghela, CMO of Paywizard, comments: “For consumers it is harder than ever to differentiate between TV services. Intense competition has led to a point where every service has an extensive content library and price variation is minimal, which means that operators need to find another way to set themselves apart. Our own insight and experience of pay-TV services, together with the focus group findings, have led us to believe that customer service and experience is becoming the new and powerful differentiator. Our goal is simply to get operators in a position whereby they are responding to subscribers precisely when subscribers need them, and taking an approach which is tailored to the particular individual.”
The first paper ‘Seize the Moments: Tips to acquire loyal customers’ is available to download here.