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Telcos Can Differentiate with Customer Care

Telecommunications customers in the U.S. and U.K. have a loud-and-clear message for their service providers: Customer service matters more than cost.

That's one key finding from a new survey about attitudes toward telecommunications companies. Signaling their frustration over service, 57 percent of those responding said they'd pay $5 more a month if it meant they wouldn't have to wait on hold or talk to multiple CSRs when they contact call centers.

The findings show that "keeping customers happy isn't just about reducing costs," said Michael Matthews, chief marketing officer of the survey's sponsor Amdocs Ltd., in a prepared statement. The survey of 1,000 U.S. and U.K. consumers was conducted by an independent research firm on behalf of Amdocs, which provides customer billing and customer-relationship management software to telecommunications providers including AT&T, Sprint-Nextel and Comcast Corp. The survey was released Feb. 13.

Among the study findings:

* More than 75 percent of respondents said they want online account access to handle tasks like paying bills.
* 50 perccent of U.S. consumers said they would be happy to buy new services from their current telecommunications provider.
* 30 percent of U.S. respondents want providers to offer more than plain-vanilla phone and communications services, with mobile phone ring tones, music downloads and video games most frequently cited. The least-requested addition: TV shows for mobile phones.

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