Over time, we have become excessively dependent on the internet for our day-to-day activities. While it used to be limited pre-pandemic, since the onset of the pandemic, just about anything can be done online - be it schooling, banking, business, shopping, etc. In such situations, your internet service providers are pivotal to facilitating seamless internet services.
Such facilitators strive to provide excellent services at competitive rates while dealing with multiple problems that often go unseen, as the general public is not aware of such challenges.
This article highlights the behind-the-scenes challenges faced by ISPs, ranging from pricing and quality maintenance to customer retention and satisfaction. So, let's have a look!
1. Fixing prices of plans
As the demand for the internet has grown, so has the number of service providers. In such a competitive environment, it is difficult for each provider to price services at high rates to make the business profitable.
Moreover, since customer loyalty is low, price hikes are bound to result in losing subscribers as they would shift to a provider with low pricing.
In such a situation, the only way to make a profit is by increasing the number of subscribers while maintaining quality and keeping operating costs low.
2. Maintaining customer satisfaction
Competitive markets where different providers offer similar or identical services make customer retention difficult. The only way to do so is by ensuring that the quality of service and customer satisfaction is exceptionally high.
By slashing the price, if the service quality also falls, customers will instantly switch over to another service provider- even at higher rates, as long as the internet connectivity is stable.
Offering deep discounts, extended plans, and subscriptions to other services along with the internet plan are temporary tactics that can retain customers for a short period.
However, in the long run, no customer will be contented with these additional perks when the primary requirement- the internet is not stable and high-speed. These offers only add to the overall cost of running the business without showing proportionate returns.
3. Limiting operating costs
Running an internet provision business is not cheap. The infrastructure takes hefty investment and requires regular maintenance to keep the network working.
The salaries of the staff based on the size of the network vary. The cost of operating a network in a sparsely populated region is higher compared to densely populated areas.
Irrespective of how small the network or how many subscribers, the list of expenses keeps piling high in the background of low customer loyalty.
4. Dealing with customer inquiries
The service industry comes with the inevitable task of dealing with frustrated customers. While customers see the problem as the internet is down, the exact issue can only be understood by the provider’s team of experts. To do so, they require information from the customer regarding the trouble they are facing.
A customer service team that is patient, knowledgeable, and knows how to get answers from customers is needed to deal with such situations.
If the service team is polite and leaves a good impression on the customer along with a quick resolution of the problem, customers are more likely to continue availing of the service. They are also likely to recommend it to their friends and family.
However, such well-trained professions are difficult to come by and have to be consistently monitored and trained to upkeep the standard of customer service, adding to the costs of running the business.
5. Providing new and unique services
The easiest way to generate additional revenue is by not lowering prices but providing unique extra services. Such niche services cans serve as the USP to attract customers of different providers to shift.
However, providing such services is risky as it requires high investment and may or may not work out. If the project is left incomplete, it causes wastage of resources. If the service is unsuccessful even after completion, it wastes time, money, infrastructure, etc.
Even simple projects like expanding the network by setting up fiber cables in new regions may not show profitable returns. Therefore, such decisions require extensive research and reasonable profit estimates.
6. Meeting the expectation of quick service
When people opt for an ISP, they look for fast service and even more rapid problem resolution. However, the issue is that internet services are not the same as fast food joints where everything is placed within arm’s reach to satisfy the client’s wants.
Customers face a drop in internet speed or a complete shutdown of the internet and reach out immediately to their service provider and expect the situation to be resolved within minutes.
While it is possible sometimes, more often than not, diagnosing the root of the problem is challenging. For instance, there could be an issue with the fibers, installation issues, or technical difficulties that may take longer to resolve.
Customers also expect advance notice in case of maintenance and repairs, which is not always possible, especially when the repairs are made to correct a part of the network that has accidentally gotten damaged.
Internet service providers have a very challenging job that goes underappreciated. The points detailed in this article are only a general overview of the few problems faced by ISPs across the globe.
According to the region, their pricing, subscribers, and additional perks, ISPs face different difficulties in varying capacities.