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Customer Engagement

Salesforce Delivers ‘2016 Connected Subscriber Report’ for the Communications Industry

New research indicates communications service providers, such as cable companies and telcos, must create seamless customer experiences to compete agai

New research indicates communications service providers, such as cable companies and telcos, must create seamless customer experiences to compete against industry disruptors

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 19, 2016–Salesforce [NYSE: CRM], the Customer Success Platform and world’s #1 CRM company, today released its “2016 Connected Subscribers Report.” To gain insights into the expectations of today’s digitally savvy customers, Salesforce surveyed more than 1,900 Americans who currently subscribe to a communications service provider (CSP), such as a cable provider, wireless service, telecom carrier or satellite dish provider.

The research, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Salesforce, found that generational gaps emerge when it comes to customers’ methods in researching, choosing and communicating with their providers. While CSPs face disruption from over-the-top (OTT) content providers such as Netflix and Hulu, providers who embrace technology to keep up with customers’ growing expectations are far more likely to succeed in the future. To download the “2016 Connected Subscriber Report,” click here:

Key Report Findings
Generational gaps appear when choosing and communicating with a CSP.
– Millennial subscribers (79%) are significantly more likely than Baby Boomers (55%) to research their wireless providers, cable companies or telco carriers before entering into contracts. – They also rely more on recommendations from friends or family (39%) than Baby Boomers (21%).
– Despite advances in customer service technology, Millennial (60%), Gen Xer (60%) and Baby Boomer subscribers (71%) all prefer using the phone to communicate with a CSP during the purchase of a product or service over other forms of communication.

Quality customer service continues to be a challenge for CSPs.
– Subscribers agree the best customer service occurs during the initial sign-up process (37% of wireless subscribers and 39% of satellite subscribers, for example).
– As CSPs look to broaden their abilities to serve customers across different channels, wireless carriers have an advantage when it comes to their customers downloading their wireless app (42% vs. 25% for cable providers).
– While wireless subscribers who downloaded their CSP’s mobile app tend to leverage the app to view (71%) or pay a bill (46%), cable subscribers who have downloaded their CSP’s mobile app are more likely to use it for consuming content (53%).

Cord-cutting, over-the-top streaming services and IoT are shaking up the industry.
– Among those who subscribe to a telecom/cable/satellite service and have TV service, five times as many Millennials (15%) as Baby Boomers (3%) have disconnected their TV service in the past 12 months.
– At the same time, consumers are choosing OTT streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others. And Millennials (61%) overwhelmingly top Gen Xers (46%) and Baby Boomers (24%) in subscribing to streaming services from these companies.
– Millennial subscribers (42%) would be interested in purchasing IoT-related services such as connected home, connected car or connected health products from their CSP.

CSPs can succeed against disruption by simplifying their businesses and improving their customer service models.
– Half of Millennial and Gen Xer subscribers (51% and 50%, respectively) would be more likely to stick with their CSPs if they were provided a monthly flat rate for billing.
– Subscribers agree that being notified of better plans or offers based on their usage, or when there are service issues or disruptions in their area, would positively impact their experiences with their CSPs (42% of Millennials, 44% of Gen Xers and 49% of Baby Boomers).
– Additionally, more than a third of subscribers would like to not have to repeat their information to every agent they speak with on a particular issue, indicating the desire for a seamless customer service experience.

Comment on the News
“We are living in the age of the customer. Every customer and everything is becoming digital and connected,” said Andy Baer, SVP, Global Communications and Media Industry Group, Salesforce. “To stay competitive against industry disruptors, like Netflix, Hulu and Google Fiber, telcos and cable companies are pivoting to put the customer experience first.”

Additional Resources
Download a full copy of the report from the Salesforce Comms & Media team at
Like Salesforce on Facebook at
Follow @salesforce on Twitter.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Salesforce from Jan. 27-29, 2016, among 2,042 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,954 subscribe to wireless/telecom/cable/satellite service providers. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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