Subtonomy Research Reveals South Africans’ Online Habits and Support Expectations

South Africans are avid internet users, spending over 9 hours online daily. Fast, proactive, digital support is crucial.

Subtonomy, the world’s leading telecoms technical customer support vendor, reveals new research on the South African market, providing key insights into the online habits and customer support expectations of South Africans.

The global shift towards digitalisation hasn’t bypassed South Africa. Rather, as South Africans transition to the latest smartphones, they’re spending more and more time online. According to a recent ProxyRack report, for example, the average South African now spends 9 hours and 38 minutes per day online – making them the world’s heaviest internet users.

A new study by Sweden’s Subtonomy, provides unique insights into how South Africans are spending this time, revealing:

  • 97% are using at least one social media platform
  • 88% are watching the latest movies or streaming TV
  • 86% are paying bills or reading news online
  • 74% are using their mobiles to work from home or to access video conferencing apps
  • 56% are gaming on their handsets
  • 28% are controlling smart home applications.

What all of these advanced data applications have in common, is that they require a robust, stable and always-available network, and this is precisely where customers say there’s a big problem – with 7 in 10 admitting they’re frequently experiencing problems with their connectivity.

In addition to dealing with the demands of more complex services, and responding to changing customer needs, South African service providers have the added challenge of regular and unpredictable load balancing events to cope with. But while South Africans don’t necessarily blame their service provider – indeed 8 out of 10 say they’re doing a great job supporting them – disruptions to their service have become such a significant issue that customer support quality is now seen as a key decision point when deciding which network to use.

But what does excellent customer service look like to the average South African? Increasingly, they expect it to be fast, convenient, proactive and digital.

  • FAST – 53% of customers say they’re only prepared to wait a maximum of 5 minutes to access service.
  • CONVENIENT –  39% of customers expect round-the-clock support, and in the 50-54 demographic this rises to 56% of customers.
  • PROACTIVE – 94% of customers say they’d like to be notified about planned maintenance ahead of time, so they can take mitigation actions, and want to be notified in real time about any outages.
  • DIGITAL – although 51% of customers are resolving their problems via the call centre, 30% said digital self-service is now their preferred support channel, and a further 56% said they’d choose self-service via their mobile app IF their service provider could troubleshoot and fully resolve problems from within the app.

The good news is that the type of fast, convenient, proactive digital support South Africans want has already been developed, tried and tested, and is now being routinely delivered in the advanced mobile markets of Scandinavia. South African service providers are now actively seeking to replicate this type of experience in order to meet customer expectations, drive down support costs, and deliver a world-class experience to customers.

All networks experience both planned and unplanned problems at one time or another. But what differentiates service providers is the ability to rapidly pinpoint exactly what’s causing their customer’s problem and then quickly resolve it, while at the same time keeping the customer informed and updated throughout.

Fredrik Edwall, EVP Sales & Marketing, Subtonomy

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