Mobile Operators Win The Hearts Of British Customers

UK Public Show Increasing Loyalty toward their Mobile Operator with Mobile Expected to Play a Key Role in the Future of Customer Interactions

Over half of British consumers feel loyal towards their mobile operators
Women are more likely to feel loyal to their network than men
Only 17 percent of Brits say they are members of mobile operator loyalty schemes
Just over a fifth of British consumers are open to engaging a brand through the use of technology (online, mobile devices)

New research into UK customer loyalty in 2012 has revealed that mobile operators have stolen a march on fashion/clothes shops, bars/pubs/clubs, petrol stations and restaurants/cafes/coffee shops in garnering the loyalty of 53 percent of the British population. However, despite the high levels of loyalty in the sector only 17 percent Brits say that they are members of mobile operator loyalty schemes – suggesting that UK network operators are missing a huge opportunity to strengthen their customer relationships.

Sponsored by European customer interactions solution specialist – The Logic Group, the independent research was conducted by leading market researcher, Ipsos MORI among 2,018 UK customers during May 2012.

“It is slightly surprising that in a market where competition is driven by being able to offer the best priced contracts for the popular handsets, it is the network operators and not the handset manufacturers that actually benefit from greater customer loyalty,” said Antony Jones, CEO of The Logic Group. “It does mean there is now a great opportunity for mobile operators to increase custom with greater loyalty schemes and offerings.”

Customer Attitude Towards Mobile Interactions

With real incomes under pressure and footfall across the High Streets on a decline1, retail shopping behaviour is undergoing a rapid change as British consumers start to use mobile handsets for more than just voice calls. While 39 percent of population uses their mobile phone to access the Internet, a quarter (24%) of Brits quite openly use their mobile phone to check product details, prices and reviews while shopping in-store. There is also a gradual consumer acceptance to interacting with brands and stores through mobile technology – 20 percent request loyalty schemes and offers on their mobile.

Antony Jones added: “Mobile interactions are going to play a key role in future loyalty schemes, with the ability to pay, collect, save and share – all through the one device. Mobile operators are in a strong position to enable modern loyalty schemes, while creating a secure and participative environment.”

Social Media: The Journey from Brand Awareness & Interaction to Loyalty

The research also uncovered a slow pace of brand interaction and acceptance of social media loyalty programmes among British consumers:

In the past six months, 22 percent of the public visited the Facebook site of a company they are loyal to (this is projected to rise to 27 per cent over the next 12 months)

Eight percent have followed a company they are loyal to on Twitter, and 16 per cent will have done so in 12 months’ time

Only seven percent have requested loyalty scheme offers via social networking sites (16 percent will have done so in 12 months’ time)

As new payment and loyalty solutions become available on mobile, more consumers anticipate using these:

A year from now 17 per cent of consumers expect to have used their phone to pay for things (only seven percent have done so in the past six months)

The same number (17 per cent) expect to have used their mobile phones in place of a loyalty card to identify themselves when making a purchase (only six percent have done so in past six months)

“From a customer point of view social media is changing the way they now interact with companies. For businesses, using platforms such as Facebook gives a greater opportunity to influence and engage with customers along their purchasing journey, whether that is responding to an enquiry or offering special loyalty deals to followers” said Jones.

Out of all UK sectors covered by the research, mobile network operators ranked third overall for customer loyalty – just behind banks/building societies and supermarkets.

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