Digital home service providers should not be complacent after business boom

Canadians are using digital services at home more than ever before, but it would be a mistake for providers to rest on their success, according to a recent survey.

The “Decoding the Digital Home” survey by EY heard from more than 17,500 households, including 2,500 in Canada,  on consumer attitudes around home digital services. It found that TV and digital streaming needs have increased in nearly half of Canadian households over the course of the pandemic. Fifty-five per cent of the respondents said that media companies have served them well.

But telecommunications, media and entertainment, and technology (TMT) companies should not expect that goodwill to last, said Rohit Puri, EY National TMT Industry Sector Leader, at a recent ITWC briefing. “Signing up for a lot of content services was how we got through the pandemic, and that’s going to come to a natural end,” said Puri. “This is an inflection point. Providers should be offering new value to consumers,” he said.

Register to participate in: “Decoding the Digital Home”

The survey also shows that Canadian consumers are more concerned about service reliability, complexity, data privacy and “digital fatigue.”  Addressing these issues may reveal unseen opportunities for providers, said Jen Mossop Scott, EY Executive Director.

Consumers want one simple home service

After countless hours working or learning from home, consumers say that service reliability is their highest priority. “Customer sentiment is that it’s great to have fast connectivity, but we need it to work,” said Mossop. However, it’s getting harder to fix reliability problems given the increasing complexity of home environment.

“We hear from consumers that it may not be entirely clear what they’re buying or how to get better connectivity,” Mossop said. If there’s a problem, people don’t know if it’s caused by their Wi-Fi, their device, or the network. “There is a huge opportunity to simplify the conversation and really proactively help people understand what’s in their homes and how it can be enhanced,” she said. 

There’s value in one solution to manage the overall connectivity for customers, added Puri. “Consumers want their lives made easier with holistic services,” he said. “That’s where the value is.” He noted that service providers in the U.K. are already providing this type of seamless service. “The data suggests that consumers will pay more for better reliability, monitoring and configuration,” said Puri.

Providers must address privacy and digital fatigue issues

According to the survey, 46 per cent of consumers are concerned about privacy and security of personal information. Another 45 per cent seek downtime from their devices.

Mossop and Puri believe that there are opportunities for providers that address these issues. Customers want to know what controls are in place and what value they’re getting in exchange for their information. “If people feel safer and more in control of their data, that drives different behaviour,” said Mossop.

Similarly, providers should segment their audience to provide more relevant content and to help maximize online time. “Those who achieve this may end up with a more loyal customer base,” said Puri. “It’s about changing the mindset. Providers need to be bold in trying new things going forward.”

Register to participate in: “Decoding the Digital Home”

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Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker has over 20 years of experience in IT-related fields in the public and private sectors, as a lawyer and strategic advisor. She is a former broadcast journalist, currently working as a consultant, freelance writer and editor.

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