WRITTEN BY STEPHAN VENTER
Network statistics vs. true user experience – establishing a common language between technical and commercial organizations with Netradar Market Analyzer
Price and network experience are arguably the two most important factors that attract and retain mobile customers. Operators have full control over pricing, but network experience can be a difficult nut to crack even though operators have access to ample internal statistics.
The problem lies in that the statistics gathered by network operator’s technical teams do not always reflect the real user experience, which can leave commercial teams facing frustrating, unexplained customer attrition.
Why network-derived statistics can be deceiving
It is not uncommon for network operators to find themselves unloved. Though internal profit-maximising efforts may play a role, it is not just efficiency and cost-cutting that drives customer frustration. Glitchy network experiences are another major factor. If network operators have full control over their networks, why do customers still find these networks so frustrating?
For a mix of factors, the statistics that network operators have access to do not always reflect user experience. In part, operators do not always fully understand how user’s devices are being used: which apps are in use, and what user’s expectations are at a specific time and location.
There is also a divide between device experience and network statistics: network glitches may not necessarily show up in internal metrics. Finally, competitor networks may simply provide a better experience – quickly revealed when households and workplaces rely on a mix of operators.
This can cause a clash between technical teams who provide very re-assuring statistics, and commercial teams that must find the reason for customer attrition. Augmenting network operator data with data generated by a third party that collects facts right at the edge, on the user’s device, is the answer.
Introducing Netradar Market Analyzer
Whereas network operators are reliant on their own equipment to measure network performance, Netradar Market Analyzer works with statistics gathered via the Netradar app, installed on a user’s physical device. Our user base includes clients of all the operating mobile network providers in covered countries.
Netradar measures the device experience, while also tracking user habits in the long run. The statistics collecting by the Netradar app is very broad. For example, network operators only see usage, but have difficulty determining which apps are in use. Market Analyzer offers deeper insight by tracking app usage too.
Market Analyzer use cases
Netradar Market Analyzer distils the extensive data collected from devices into a dashboard that network operators can use to gain better insight into the user experience both on their own network, and on the networks of their competitors. But how does this benefit network operators?
Verify the real user experience
Operators have access to a lot of data – as owners of the network equipment operators can gather endless streams of data. However, network performance metrics provide a limited view of the user experience, strictly from the angle of the provider’s network equipment. In contrast, Market Analyzer provides:
- Device-derived data. Market Analyzer supplies data that is gathered on customer’s handsets. This includes standard measures such as latency, RSRP and RSRQ but as reported by the device itself. It also measures speeds typically achieved by the user.
- Data that is easy to interpret. Importantly, Market Analyzer data is rendered in a way that can help operators make sound business decisions – by displaying the probability of getting a certain network speed, for example, even where theoretical data rates promise high speeds.
- User experience score. Netradar also supplies a Service Level Score (SLS) for each operator in a given market, giving operators insight into whether the real user experience is on par. This score is broken up into a regional analysis that illustrates the areas in which customers are frequently encountering network frustrations.
Improve the in-app experience
Netradar Market Analyser also collects more data points than operators do. App usage is one aspect that operators can have difficulty with as network data does not reflect which apps are in use. As such, operators can struggle to optimise the in-app experience:
- Apps in use are not always as expected. By using Market Analyzer, operators can understand which apps users are using, and at which locations these apps are used. Streaming performance may be a top requirement in residential areas for example, while users close to their place of work may be more concerned about network reliability.
- Understand bandwidth requirements. Market Analyser builds historical records of the typical bandwidth requirements of apps so that network operators can understand the real-life network performance that will deliver the app experiences customer expect.
- Fix app problems. Market Analyser also outlines which apps are frequently leading to problems with network performance on a specific operator’s network. It allows operators to address these issues, while also seeing where competitors are failing to meet user expectations.
Market Analyzer’s unique app knowledge is therefore invaluable to operators that are serious about ensuring a flawless user experience.
Understand hidden factors that cause user churn
Customer attrition is a costly problem for operators: winning back a lost customer can be expensive, not to mention the lost customer revenue. Market Analyzer can help operators understand why customers are switching to competitors:
- Comparative statistics. With Market Analyzer operators can see where their competitors are offering better coverage, and better performance. These key reasons for customer churn can then be addressed by increasing coverage and improving network performance.
- Discover network glitches. Frustrated customers will leave, but operators don’t always know why a customer is experiencing network problems as internal metrics may give the all-clear. Market Analyzer can point operators to the network glitches that cause customer frustrations.
Metrics that cover your network can be highly insightful, but insight into competitor networks can be game changing. Here Netradar Market Analyzer’s capabilities are head and shoulder above internal metrics. Our app is installed on device across all operators, so Market Analyser can provide in-depth insight into competitor network performance.
Improve network planning and forecasting
Tweaking and growing mobile phone networks is highly capital intensive so operators only invest where the returns are clear and relatively certain. Market Analyzer help operators plan network growth:
Understand pain points. Netradar’s comprehensive analytics can outline to network operators the locations that are causing customers a degree of frustration. These can be prioritised for tweaking or further investment.
- Beat competitors. Rolling out connectivity is a piecemeal process. With Market Analyzer operators can see where competitors have weak spots, identifying these for more rapid roll-out and investment. Likewise, operators can identify where competitors are ahead of the game, ensuring that they do not suffer customer churn because a competitor is offering better connectivity.
By providing insight into the real customer experience, the movements of competitors and the customer experience on competitor networks Netradar Market Analyzer gives commercial teams the hard data that will inform profitable investment decisions.
Market Analyzer provides deeper insight
Clearly, operators can benefit from the broader, deeper insights that Netradar Market Analyzer provides. Rather than rely solely on correct but limited internal data, operators should use the extensive reporting that Market Analyzer offers to better understand their users, and their competitors. In turn, operators can take steps to minimise customer attrition, and maximise growth.