Mobile phones – do we need more features?

Mobile operators find it hard to find the right approach to the design of data services that consumers pay and use on a regular basis. While users are willing to test new data elements (such as the camera, Internet services or ringtone downloads), most people will not be long-term daily users. Indeed, 90% of data services are unused for a few weeks or even months in mobile consumer average. Does it have too many features to help or harm consumer data retrieval?

For the past eight years, a group of consultants, including myself, large mobile phone companies (such as Vodafone, Sprint-Nextel, Orange and T-Mobile) learned how consumers use their mobile services. To make this we collect business data from the webpages of these services go through – often diagnosed hundreds of millions of files for tens of millions of users. We wanted to find out exactly what attracted consumers, how much time consumers spent on each service and what service was most repeat visitors.

We soon found that operators failed their consumers in two key areas: Operators refused to leave data services failed; and most operators were not investing properly to improve key service performance. Mobile phones have too many features, the worst features turn users away before they find the best features and the best features do not get the extra attention they need to keep users coming back.

There were bright spots in our work. Virgin Mobile USA, for example, is very good at maintaining a small but successful selection of data services, only introducing features when it makes sense for the target audience of young people and young people. This led Virgin Mobile to significantly better "stickiness" performance, which is a measure of how often users return to using services. Another bright scene was Vodafone Italy, which was the best in finding and improving its key services. Vodafone was the first European carrier to use business intelligence to get the "Chat" service (they discovered it in 2000) and they were most consistent with the use of information gathering to identify roadmaps or speed bumps that cause users frustration. The results for both of these operators were strong data storage loyalty from their users along with higher returns.

We found the same pattern: Most consumers (85%) are not found acceptable values ​​at their first attempt with new data services. People spend only a few minutes (3.4 minutes) looking at just a few features (1.2 services) before giving up. Half (45-65%) of new users give up when the product shows a new decision or task. A few (7-15%) of the most determined users – power users – can find the stickiest service (or value of the service). Only the simplest products and features end up as a winner.

Take a WAP service, for example. Almost every operator in the world offers this service to its users in the form of a third party style menu. If the user wants an athletic level, he navigates to the "Sports" menu and then selects from 4-5 sports areas. These menus are presented in operational operations to ensure a wide range of services. Unfortunately, the goal is not to solve the user's actual need ("What is the current level in the Seahawks game"), but instead emphasizes arbitrary concern ("Will the user stop using the service if we do not carry ESPN?").

When we detected these types of menus (ie, a 4-5-page sports menu), we found that only one great service was that 80-90% of the heavy users returned to repeat. The other pages were unused by these "knowledge" of heavy users. This was in contrast to the experience we found for new users (first visit to the service). New users obviously did not know yet which sports area was useful, so they always chose the first recorded site (very few try other services). If the order of the menu was not based on quality of service (or worst of all, it was alphabetical), new users usually visited bad sites with bad experience and did not return to be a repeat user.

In short, we learned that mobile operators need to shift their focus from "we have the most potential" to "we have the best features," as they know consumer services, and leave the consumer-driven service away. For more information on these diagnostic services, visit .

Source by Paul Smethers

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