Digital the most popular way Irish consumers interact with mobile operators, says Deloitte

But face to face contact remains important for new sales
(Image: Stockfresh)

26 February 2021

Irish consumers’ preferred method of interacting with their mobile operator is through digital channels, according to the fourth instalment of Deloitte Ireland’s Digital Consumer Trends report. In fact, 77% and 61% of consumers interact with their mobile operator through the operators’ websites or apps respectively.

The report found that 60% of respondents to the survey interact with their mobile operators by visiting stores, while over half 52% have called their operator by phone.

“We know from our research that the way consumers are shopping is changing – 43% of consumers use their mobile phone alone to make online purchases – and so it follows that consumers are increasingly using apps to interact with their mobile operators,” said John Kehoe, audit partner with Deloitte and lead for the Deloitte Digital Consumer Trends survey. “However, with relatively high usage of all engagement channels, it appears that a multichannel approach will remain important to ensuring consumers’ customer services needs are satisfied.”




Consumers’ top three reasons for interacting with operators is to query/check their bills (60%), followed by getting information on tariffs (46%) and to purchase a new mobile phone (37%).

Based on the Deloitte research, consumers prefer to visit stores to purchase their phones (13%) and renew their contracts (12%), while digital channels are more popular than in-store for certain services, such as checking bills and tariffs and obtaining help or advice with technical issues which are predominantly done either on the operators’ own apps or websites.

Interestingly, when looking at behaviours within certain age brackets, the 18–24-year-old group tended towards in-store and website interactions, with websites being the preferred method across all age groups.

“Purchasing a mobile phone appears to be a more tactile experience for consumers. They value being able to handle or try a new phone in which they are interested in a real-life environment. Currently, mobile phone operators are very visible on our high streets. As they look to assess their presence in a post-Covid-19 world, this feedback from consumers provides valuable insight,” Kehoe highlighted.

“Introducing innovative retail formats, including store-in-store, store-to-you and other pop-up concepts has the potential to not only capitalise on customer desire for both immediacy (i.e. avoiding delivery waiting times) and a tactile exploration of new mobile devices, but also to align sales costs with fluctuations in demand.  Consumers, confronted by the many changes that COVID-19 has imposed, are currently more likely to be open to new ways of selling, and it may now be timely for operators to be innovative in exploring how they engage and create meaningful experiences with their customers.”

Mobile and broadband services

For the last number of years mobile operators have been expanding their offerings to include fixed lines, TV and broadband.

Two of the largest mobile phone operators, Vodafone and Eir, are also significant players in the broadband market.  According to this survey, 37% of respondents who use Vodafone as their mobile operator, and 49% of those who use Eir, are also buying broadband services from them, indicating that these operators have been successful in expanding the products their customers purchase.

“A key factor in being able to drive sales of additional services is how and when customers can engage with providers,” continued Kehoe. “Getting the right mix of customer engagement can be an important differentiator in this regard.”

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