Sometimes, when you ask mobile subscribers what they actually think about a given subject, the results can be surprising to say the least.
That’s what happened in a recent survey by independent research agency Censuswide conducted on behalf of Openwave Mobility. More than 2,000 consumers were surveyed in the United States and Europe. Not only was the survey revealing about who people trust, it also provides valuable insight for mobile operators. The survey asked mobile subscribers how they felt about privacy, trust and their personal data while using their phones. Most strikingly, it emerged that mobile subscribers are getting increasingly frustrated with logins and passwords and wanted a simpler signing-on method. It became crystal clear, in fact, because 76% of respondents indicated they would find it useful for mobile operators to handle single sign-on type services. That is a really decisive majority. I can’t remember a time that subscribers have agreed on anything to the same extent. See, it pays to listen to your customers….
Lesson 1: The number one frustration for mobile subscribers is…
Remembering usernames and passwords. Specifically, hunting them down, remembering them, having to re-enter them or re-set them. In many ways, it seems an obvious point, knowing what we do about how smartphones are almost ubiquitously used to access goods and services online, but for many years if you asked mobile subscribers this question the answer would have related to dropped calls, poor quality calls and more recently, video buffering.
Guess what? Mobile operators have the power to make these password problems go away and make life easy for their subscribers. Is it time they did so?
Operators might argue that this is not their problem. But subscribers are discerning. If they are willing to dump an operator because of poor video quality of experience and buffering, you can bet your bottom dollar they’d be willing to switch to an operator that makes life a whole lot easier.
Lesson 2: How time flies when you’re hunting for passwords
Is that the right password? No. Re-jig some of the characters. Is that it? No. Argh. Ok. Let’s ask for a password re-set. Check inbox. It hasn’t come in yet. Did I press the button correctly? Check website. Check inbox again. Check junk folder. Check internet connection. Check inbox again. Ah, there it is! Set password again. Tell yourself you’ll remember it this time (but without writing it down). Repeat process.
Does this sound familiar? Hunting down and remembering passwords constitutes many short-lived but annoying episodes. Add it up and average it out, and the survey found that consumers spend around 12 full days of their lives searching for and resetting passwords. Extrapolating this to the rest of the global online population, this represents a frustrating productivity sink of 16.3 billion hours a year! It might be a few minutes each day or each week, depending on usage, but it all adds up.
Lesson 3: Trust me, I’m a mobile operator
In today’s hyper-connected world, massive security breaches are commonplace. When the survey posed the question “Who do mobile subscribers trust with their personal data?” you would think that the answers might reflect people’s gripes with service providers. It emerges that subscribers are relatively trusting of mobile operators when it comes to looking after their personal data, second only to banks. Government intelligence agencies, social networks and search engines all fared worse.
The study narrowed down the findings by age group. It turns out that U.S. millennials – yes, that group of digital natives service providers bend over backwards to please – trust their mobile operator above online banks, above Facebook, above Google and certainly above government intelligence agencies. Mobile operators, your efforts to reach out to them are paying off!
Connect the dots and a golden opportunity emerges. When you line up the time suck involved in the endless password/username paradigm, the understandable frustration subscribers feel and consider that they’re really quite amenable to their mobile operators looking after their personal data, the conclusion seems obvious. The survey then went on to ask, “Would you find it useful if your mobile operator allowed you to securely sign-in to all of your mobile and online apps and services?” The answer was a resounding yes – a massive 76% of respondents.