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Providers must make 'quad play' deals more appealing to consumers

Tuesday, October 27th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Quad play packages will only take off if they offer a "win" for the consumer, a communications expert has said.

Luke Mills, a managing director at Accenture Consulting, said the concept of quad play – getting broadband, TV, mobile and phone from one company – is popular among providers and in the city but that in reality, take-up in the UK is low.

Making packages truly appealing will require providers thinking about both the household and the individual, he told Cable.co.uk.

"The decision around broadband, landline, and TV is a household decision, and the mobile decision is a personal decision.

"The quad play question – there has to be something in it for the consumer too."

Offering a "cheaper deal" will entice some consumers to take their mobile, landline, broadband and TV from the same company but will not necessarily encourage everyone to opt for a quad play package, he said.

"There has to be some sort of win for the customer in this," said Mr Mills, who leads Accenture's marketing, sales & customer service practice in communications, media & technology.

"The real opportunity I think is for the companies themselves to understand the customer better."

He gave the example of 'family plans' in the US, where parents can buy a mobile plan for their children as part of their telecoms package, adding: "It's not really arrived in the UK and you sort of wonder why."

Asked what the most important thing is for consumers when they deal with broadband and mobile providers, Mr Mills said it was the amount of effort they have to put in.

“The most important thing to customers these days is actual effort – the amount of effort that they have to expend in doing what they want to do.

Complaints made public

“Customers hate having to repeat themselves. They hate it if they're speaking to one customer service person then get transferred to another and have to start again, they hate it if they're waiting around for five hours and the engineer doesn’t show up.

"The common denominator of all that is effort."

Mr Mills said customers' bad experiences can no longer be "contained" in a call centre environment, and they happy to make their complaints "very public".

“I think the winners will be people (providers) who can keep it very simple from a service perspective," he added.

Last week, Ombudsman Services: Communications revealed that complaints about telecoms providers were up 5% on last year, while the number of complaints received in the three months from July to September had soared by 35% compared to three years ago.

Nearly a third of complaints in September (31%) related to billing issues, such as complicated invoices, direct debit amounts or incorrect account details. Service issues accounted for more than one in five complaints (23%), while contract issues, including cancellations and mis-selling, made up 16%.

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