How Customer Service is Being Transformed by the Growth of Mobile Messaging
The world watched in astonishment a few weeks ago as a video surfaced of a United Airlines passenger being physically dragged from a plane after he refused to give up his seat on an over-booked flight. The airline’s initial response was almost as catastrophic a PR disaster as the actual event, going into detail on the policies and procedures, but showing none of the human compassion that all of us would expect from a brand that purports to care about its customers.
This past week, Hulu officially released the beta version of its live TV streaming product. It’s real, and it’s competitive. It enters the fray of many live TV streaming products that have either launched or have been announced, including Sony Playstation Vue, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Dish’s Sling TV, Xfinity Instant TV, and YouTube TV. Each of these products offers compelling features at price points lower than traditional Pay TV (satellite, telcos such as Verizon, and cable companies such as Charter Spectrum)—with some like AT&T, Comcast and Dish even cannibalizing their own Pay TV revenues with live TV streaming products.
For these new forms of video offerings to successfully gain customer buy-in and subsequent profitability, they can’t offer everything at rock-bottom prices, at least not forever. Programming costs remain high, even when leveraged with long-standing agreements, and finding the right niche varies not only by platform, but by provider as well.
Last month, YouTube TV rolled out its “streaming TV” service in five major US cities. Just before that, Comcast and Hulu announced their “streaming TV” services to join an increasingly crowded marketplace with industry heavyweights like AT&T (DirecTV Now), Dish (Sling TV) and Sony (PlayStation Vue). Despite the hype and the big brand names, success isn’t guaranteed for any of these services.
Market Strategies is often asked to recommend research approaches that guide decisions about marketing and product/brand management. A topic that’s been of keen interest lately is brand health. NPS has been the “go-to” measure for some time, but we were curious to compare it to other brand health measures so we used our quarterly consumer omnibus study as a research sandbox.
Specifically, we fielded various questions and used the results to test the efficacy of brand health approaches that would serve clients across industry sectors well. We surveyed more than 1,100 US consumers regarding brands in the social media space: Facebook, Flickr, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube. We then used these data to run multiple brand health analyses, ultimately comparing NPS and several brand health measures and indices at how well they predict our dependent variables: frequent use of the brand and intention to increase use of the brand in the near future.
The buzz around picking your television packages a la carte in the future is getting louder. As a consumer, would you prefer to pick and choose the channels you watch, paying for only what you want, or do you prefer the current set up of pre-packaged channels, including those which you may or may not ever watch? It seems that big cable/satellite companies are worried about the implications of providing an a la carte television package to its customers, and they have been fighting it over the last few years. The potential option of having more choice and control over the channels consumers purchase could change the entire industry, and that may be exactly what many consumers desire.
Massive data breaks involving financial and personally identifying information are becoming commonplace, a frightening trend that is earning increased attention from consumers. Given the heightened media scrutiny and corresponding consumer angst: Which organizations do consumers now trust with their data? What do all of these data breaches mean for the health of your brand? We help answer these questions, drawing from our recently-completed study on consumer security perceptions.
In our technology-driven world, we often hear warnings about excessive screen time and suggestions to regularly “unplug” to mitigate the negative health effects of being continually connected. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and teens should engage in no more than two hours of electronic entertainment media per day to avoid a myriad of developmental challenges such as concentration problems and obesity. Recently, a study out of UCLA School of Medicine asserts that screen time at bedtime can have detrimental effects on sleep.
But could technology actually be—dare we say—good for us?
Market Strategies International was curious so we conducted our own study to explore some of the intersections of health and technology to determine what benefits, if any, are coming out of the convergence. Other than healthy annual revenues that are estimated to reach $2 billion with 13 million users by 2020, are there any healthy paybacks for consumers? Within our sample, even though a vast majority report having good to excellent health, 16% have been diagnosed with diabetes and nearly 20% have struggled with obesity.
Could innovations in health technology empower us to be more aware of and take control of our health?
What types of companies are best positioned to provide solutions?
Who do consumers trust to provide these devices or services?
Our web-based survey included 1,000 adults living across the US who use at least one of several connected fitness health devices, apps or telehealth services. We found that not only can technology provide benefits such as raised awareness of overall health, but it can also help increase healthful attitudes and behaviors thanks to the use of personal fitness trackers, medication reminder apps and patient portals. Furthermore, results show that people trust technology and consumer goods companies over pharmaceutical or healthcare companies to provide HealthTech devices/services and to be responsible for personal information and/or collected data.
Nearly a year ago, my life changed drastically when a tornado destroyed my family’s home. We moved into an apartment while we rebuilt and had many decisions to make, including whether to keep our home telephone number. We decided to keep it in case those who didn’t know what happened tried to reach us or in case certain accounts were tied to it. However, it didn’t take long to realize that, even under these different circumstances, the “home phone” is not as necessary as we had once thought—the only people calling that number were my mother-in-law and telemarketers.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago: we were ready to move into our new house, and, after seeing such little usage over the past nine months, we decided to “cut the cord.” This turned out to be a little difficult in some ways—that number had been a part of us for more than 20 years, and we wondered how we would call our cell phones to find them when they get lost in the couch.
By the time this is published, it is very likely that I will have pre-ordered my Apple Watch. It will be tough to decide between the relatively modest Sport version, or its big sister, simply named Watch. (I am not the target audience for the multi-thousand dollar Edition.)
The recent record-setting Kickstarter campaign for the second-generation Pebble smartwatch was also very tempting. But, in the end, I canceled my $189 pledge for a Pebble Time as I am still enjoying my first-version Pebble and, like many gadget hounds, I am craving ‘new and different.’
The FCC has taken a firm stand on Net Neutrality, making it clear that internet providers cannot sell access to “fast lanes” on their networks. The news media and other consumer advocate talking heads have been chiming in from all directions trying to convince the public why this is either the best thing or the worst thing that has happened since the creation of the internet. There are merits to both sides, but there are definite logical consequences of the FCC’s ruling that internet providers would be well advised to consider.