Event recap: Uncovering how subscriber expectations impact profitability


Earlier this week, we held an exclusive online event with Wi-Fi NOW to uncover the correlation between subscriber expectations and ISP profitability. The panel of experts, featuring Andrea Atkinson of Execulink Telecom, Martin Wren-Hilton of TalkTalk, and RouteThis CEO Jason Moore, discussed why subscriber expectations are what they are today—and what these expectations mean in terms of an ISP’s ability to improve profitability through their support center.

In case you missed the event and would like to catch up, you can also watch the full recording here.

Key takeaways:

  • Changing expectations mean ISPs need a new approach
  • ISPs face high costs if they can’t meet these expectations
  • There’s a massive opportunity to profit through supporting WiFi

What do subscribers expect from ISPs?

The conversation got down to business early in this week’s event, with Wren-Hilton joking that he should have said that TalkTalk sells WiFi, not broadband, in his introduction. Though the comment was met with laughs from the panel, it brings up a point that’s very close to home for ISPs:

Subscribers think WiFi is the same thing as their internet.


Of course, this isn’t news for many ISPs. But it does set the stage for what is a very difficult conversation at times: What ISPs can be doing to properly support subscribers in terms of their WiFi networks.

What expectations mean financially for ISPs

As part of the presentation, Moore explored the myriad costs that ISPs experience when they’re unable to deliver effective WiFi experiences for subscribers. These costs, which range from the dollar amounts of WiFi support calls and technician visits ($57 and up to $100 respectively) to the potential churn rates associated with WiFi support (49%), become limiters on how much an ISP can bring in—which of course is a major issue for profitability.

However, as Moore explained, WiFi support also presents interesting opportunities for going beyond reducing costs: It provides support teams with areas where they can actively increase overall revenue.


What it takes to create a profitable WiFi strategy

Both Wren-Hilton and Atkinson have seen success in introducing profitable WiFi strategies for their respective businesses. And as Wren-Hilton explained, the key to making a WiFi strategy work is that you need both visibility into home networks and the back-end tools to ensure there’s nothing wrong with the network and manage subscribers’ experiences.

The bulk of customers, they want to buy a WiFi service from us, which we will support for them and they know they can trust us to fix their problem if they have a problem. And I think that's why service providers are now providing more advanced mesh systems, more advanced technology.

Martin Wren-Hilton, Director of Wireless Innovation, TalkTalk

As Atkinson added, part of a positive experience that influences profitability is considering what it is the subscriber wants even when they don’t contact the ISP for support. Subscribers don’t always want to call in and have their WiFi managed for them; sometimes, they want a tool that can help them fix it for themselves.

You need to provide the right experience for the customers. And when you provide that right experience, you're going to get the stickiness, you’re going to reduce the churn—and you've got the opportunity for upsells.

Andrea Atkinson, VP Customer Experience, Execulink Telecom

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