Faulty devices are a big problem for consumers and mobile carriers, survey says

Two out of three surveyed said they'd switch mobile carriers and/or device manufacturers due to functionality issues. One out of three report having problems with their devices at least once a month.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

I still sigh a heavy sigh, roll my eyes, and stare disgustedly at people who seem to always be peering into the depths of their mobile devices (mostly phones). But if I were a retailer, I'd be dancing a jig.

Twenty percent of us/you use mobile devices to shop, while three percent use them for researching medical problems. It must be an age thing. The younger the person, the more they stare into those tiny screens. Mobile device madness has defined a generation. According to a global survey conducted by Blancco Technology Group, we do some interesting things with our devices.

Mobile Device Activities Blancco Technology Group

Inquiring minds want to know what that mysterious 18 percent ("Other") is that's done exclusively with a mobile device. I'm guessing social media, picture taking, video making, and making unusual sounds on the bus.

At concerts, I see everyone holding up their mobile phone to grab pictures and videos instead of just enjoying the music. Remember the days when cameras and video equipment had to be surrendered at the entrance to a concert? I do. Nowadays, it's the norm. Performers expect it. There was even some guy flying a drone at the "Panic! at the Disco" concert a few weeks ago.

OK, admittedly I had my GoPro Hero on a "selfie" stick so I could get better video. Still, it's not a mobile phone, so there. I digress.

Twelve percent of respondents access their financial and banking info exclusively from their mobile devices.

Key findings from the study:

  • 64 percent of consumers would switch to a new mobile carrier and/or device manufacturer due to functionality issues.
  • 31 percent experience problems with their devices at least once a month.
  • Timetables for seeking help - 49 percent of consumers would look for help within three days.
  • Lack of storage space and camera/video quality rank surprisingly low among consumer priorities at 8 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
  • 38 percent cite short-lived batteries as the most common device issue.

My experience echoes that of the respondents in that battery life is a common problem -- or so it was with my Windows phone and with my Android phone. My iPhone 5 seems to still hold up well in that area, although I've had other problems lately, which I'm told are due to iOS 8.4.

Mobile Device Disposal Data Blancco Technology Group

I am part of the 35 percent who report that we change devices every two to three years. I'm beginning to really struggle with my iPhone 5 that just crossed the two year age mark for me at Father's Day, but I have no choice at this point but to try to make it work. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus just aren't my thing: I need a pocket-sized phone. I hate Android phones and let's not even discuss Windows phones. I'm stuck. Either Apple comes out with an iPhone 5-sized phone or I might have to go back to a flip phone. It's sad that it's come to this for me. Digression number two.

Problem Frequency Findings Blancco Technology Group

Prior to this latest round of problems with my iPhone 5, I was part of that 45 percent who rarely experience problems. Now, I'm in the 11 percent of at least once a month. But if you add up the numbers, 31 percent experience problems on a regular basis and it all can't be user error. Forty-nine percent of the respondents report that they try to avoid expensive repairs by performing their own fixes before taking their devices into a repair shop or the manufacturer's retail location.

The real focus should be customer satisfaction, which includes quick, friendly service, and extended warranties. No one wants to pay $600 for a mobile device and told 13 months later that it's out of warranty and will cost $200 to fix. That isn't good business. People will switch. In fact, 33 percent said they would switch. Could any device manufacturer afford to lose a third of its customers?

Obviously people love their mobile devices, but they also want them to work. And when they don't, they want good service and support from their manufacturers and carriers. That's not too much to ask. A company should stand behind its products and services and make customers happy. The only problem is that the grass isn't greener anywhere else.

Survey data

Blancco Technology Group surveyed over 1,400 consumers in the United States, Canada, UK and Australia to understand the complexity and frequency of mobile device issues, customer satisfaction with care experiences as well as the role flawed performance and ineffective care play in customer satisfaction and loyalty with mobile carriers and device manufacturers. The survey was fielded from June 5, 2015 through June 11, 2015 and the responses were comprised of consumers, aged 25-65 years old, who own at least one mobile device (smartphone or tablet).

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