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Service Provider Blame: Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?

Punishment

Customers punish carriers who put them in the middle of back-end politics. Think that’s not true? Just read the news about the spat between Verizon, Netflix and its bandwidth provider, Cogent Communications.

It doesn’t really matter whether there is a right and wrong. History and consumer research suggest that Verizon will get the blame. In fact, one Harris survey found that nearly half of Smartphone users blame their mobile providers for any service issues.

A badly written app goes viral and crashes network segments – customers blame their service provider. A service doesn’t work properly on a customer device – customers blame their service provider. A dispute between carriers or content providers affects service – customers blame their service provider.

See the theme emerging here? This dynamic underscores the reality of owning the consumer relationship in a complex ecosystem, as mobile service providers do. It’s an incredible asset and a bullseye on your back at the same time.

The takeaway for service providers is to practice vigilance. There are a thousand things that can affect customers’ experiences. Since service providers are going to take the rap for those issues simply by virtue of their position in the ecosystem, they need to be able to predict problems and react quickly. At the end of the day, it’s all about preserving the customer experience – and keeping out of the “mobile tabloids.”

Is your first impulse to blame your service provider if you encounter an issue? Let me know in the comments below.

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