Operators Want Higher Smartphone Revenues, But Need to Educate Customers on Using Advanced Features

Amdocs Survey: Getting Smarter About Smartphones
Service providers face higher costs to support smartphone users, according to global survey; New support tools, diagnostics for call center agents can help meet challenge

BARCELONA, Spain (February 14, 2011) – At Mobile World Congress 2011, Amdocs (NYSE: DOX), the leading provider of customer experience systems, today announced the results of an independent survey that explores the impact of smartphone growth on service providers’ support services. The in-depth survey of 55 wireless service providers worldwide, conducted by analyst firm Heavy Reading and sponsored by Amdocs, highlights the challenges providers face in supporting their growing legions of smartphone users – as well as the steps they plan to take to enhance customer support and maximize the revenue streams smartphones offer.

Key findings include:

  • Smartphone support calls increase burden on call centers: Over 60 percent of the service providers polled believe that the volume of smartphone-related support calls has increased 10 to more than 25 percent over the last two years. The same percentage believe the average cost of supporting smartphones is anywhere from 10 to 50 percent above that of standard feature phones, due in part to longer call-handling times. Additionally, more than half of the incoming calls are not resolved by the initial call center representative who handles the call —further driving up costs.
  • Service providers are leaving money on the table with their smartphone customers: 75 percent of service providers surveyed are looking to advanced services to increase data usage and realize additional sources of revenue from smartphone customers. But the research shows that over two-thirds of customers do not use advanced services, due to lack of awareness or understanding. In addition, customers are returning smartphone devices if they experience support issues or delays, even though there may be nothing wrong with them.  Almost one-third of respondents reported that between 10 to 25 percent of their customers return smartphones, and 40 percent said that 20 to 60 percent of these phones are no-fault returns.
  • New tools and technologies are needed to empower call center agents to support customers: Service providers recognize they face an increased number of support calls, yet more than half of the providers surveyed do not plan on expanding their technical support staff by more than 10 percent. Instead, 40 percent plan to use better support tools and technologies to increase efficiencies and empower agents to resolve support inquiries during the first call (one example of these advanced tools is Amdocs Device Care, a product from the Amdocs Smart Device Support Solution, which gives call center agents direct visibility into a customer’s smartphone to diagnose and troubleshoot problems). Service providers are also increasingly using the Internet to resolve support issues, with 61 percent of respondents reporting that they already direct customers to a self-service portal.

“The survey confirms that smartphone support calls are increasing rapidly, caused by the dramatic increase in number of devices, features, and services,” said Ari Banerjee, senior analyst at Heavy Reading.  ”Simply adding more call center representatives will not address the problem –efficiency, automation and outsourcing are the key mechanisms which operators will need to pursue in order to accommodate a higher volume of support calls while increasing their revenue margins.”

“Even though smartphones are creating tremendous opportunities, there are significant support costs involved,” said Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president of product marketing and solutions for Amdocs. “The survey results point to a critical need for more effective and efficient customer management technologies to ensure better lifecycle management and maximize the potential revenue opportunities associated with smartphones.”

Amdocs Customer Management offers a complete portfolio of solutions designed to ensure seamless, efficient customer interactions across the sales and service cycle.

The research, conducted in November and December 2010, surveyed 77 IT and marketing professionals at service providers worldwide.  It follows a 2009 consumer survey into smartphone support issues.

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About Amdocs

Amdocs is the market leader in customer experience systems innovation. The company combines business and operational support systems, service delivery platforms, proven services, and deep industry expertise to enable service providers and their customers to do more in the connected world. Amdocs’ offerings help service providers explore new business models, differentiate through personalized customer experiences, and streamline operations. A global company with revenue of approximately $3.0 billion in fiscal 2010, Amdocs has over 19,000 employees and serves customers in more than 60 countries worldwide. For more information, visit Amdocs at www.amdocs.com.

Amdocs’ Forward-Looking Statement

This press release includes information that constitutes forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements about Amdocs’ growth and business results in future quarters. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be obtained or that any deviations will not be material. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause future results to differ from those anticipated. These risks include, but are not limited to, the effects of general economic conditions, Amdocs’ ability to grow in the business segments it serves, adverse effects of market competition, rapid technological shifts that may render the Company’s products and services obsolete, potential loss of a major customer, our ability to develop long-term relationships with our customers, and risks associated with operating businesses in the international market. Amdocs may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, however the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These and other risks are discussed at greater length in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2010, filed on December 7, 2010 and our Form 6-K filed for the first quarter of fiscal 2011 on February 8, 2011.

Source: Amdocs

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