The biggest complaint holding mobile providers back in Canada stems from a lack of communication about billing, according to the most recent J.D. Power findings. The study, running from February through March, found that of the 39-percent of respondents who contacted customer service over the prior six months, half complained about their billing.
The most common complaints -- with Freedom Mobile, Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility, and Bell MTS ranking below the industry average in rankings overall -- were either that bills were too high or were based on discrepancies in the billed amount. J.D. Power suggests that points to a lack of trust, indicating that carriers who are more transparent about billing will see increased satisfaction among customers.
Where do Canadian carriers rank?
In terms of top carriers, as compared to the industry average of 761 on a 1,000 point scale, Virgin Mobile and Videotron came out on top with 811 and 804 points respectively. The pair were the only providers to score a JDPower.com Power Circle Rating of five out of five. Both Koodo Mobile and SaskTel scored 799 points with a Power Circle Rating of four -- a ranking shared by TELUS Mobility with a score of 786.
Fido ranked just above the industry average at 767 with a Power Circle Rating of three.
For comparison, the Wireless Customer Care Performance Study from J.D. Power for the US showed an industry average that was slightly higher at 803 points in January. That was topped by T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless with 833 points and 812 points, respectively.
The primary difference between the two markets, according to J.D. Power's findings, is that the US has a completely different customer care problem.
Namely, while Canadian carriers need to improve the transparency of their billing practices, US carriers seem to have a problem with connecting to customers at all. Nearly a third of customers in the US experienced issues with connecting for support, to begin with. T-Mobile has begun addressing that issue by implementing new measures that provide consumers with access to real people instead of machine-based help systems and a team of experts with a callback-based system for bigger issues.
The solution ...according to J.D. Power
The global marketing information and services firm points to a multifaceted solution for Canadian carriers looking to boost their scores. The first of those facets centers around increased clarification of billing practices from the start, ensuring consumers are well-apprised of the charges they should expect.
Less obviously, J.D. Power suggests that carriers would benefit by being more proactive about alerting customers to their usage and making that use easier to access as it pertains to changes that could occur on their bills.
The underlying problems related to cost and transparency that's been expressed by Canadian subscribers is not at all exclusive to the region though.
Alongside increased global competition to be the first carrier to arrive at a full-fledged 5G rollout, customers are faced with the prospects of price increases that may not be made entirely clear. The added cost to consumers is actually a central part of T-Mobile and Sprint's arguments in favor of a merger, as a result of that uncertainty. So it isn't unlikely that carriers in other regions around the world will face scrutiny and lower customer satisfaction scores in the future as next-gen networking technology becomes more widespread.