Subtonomy reveals key insights into customer behaviour in Nordics

Subtonomy, a provider of AI-driven network experience technology, has released a new report on the state of customer support in the Nordics.

The Nordics are a bell-weather for mobile experience, being one of the most digitally advanced regions in the world. Sweden, for example, ranks 3rd out of 27 EU Member States (DESI 2021) and in 2021, 89% of Swedes aged 16–85 years (or 7.3 million people), used the internet every day, according to Statistics Sweden. Subtonomy, who recently extended its support from mobile to broadband networks, paints a fascinating picture of how customers in the Nordics are using Internet services and what their expectations are of customer support.

Post-Covid, a large proportion of Swedish households have continued working from home, with 54% of households now having at least one resident homeworking some of the time and 13% having multiple residents working from home for more than 2 days each week.

This has driven a massive uptake in the use of complex business applications over suburban broadband connections – with more than 65% of Swedish respondents reporting they are now using videoconferencing applications to keep in touch with colleagues, family and friends. Such applications are highly sensitive to service quality and require a reliable broadband connection but, despite this, 8 out of 10 Swedes (81%) say they don’t want a second business broadband line under any circumstances and 15% saying they’d only have one if their employer paid for it.

This suggests that what customers actually want is to be offered higher tiers of service quality over their existing broadband connection.

Swedish households are also using their broadband connections for an ever-increasing range of entertainment, social and essential services. 9 out of 10 (88%) are streaming their favorite films and shows, 90% use social media – including video or photo-based social media such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram – and 34% are using home broadband for online gaming. A massive 97% pay bills, check the news or send emails using their home broadband.

These applications have driven a huge increase in demand for broadband along with high expectations of customer service – with average broadband speeds of 164Mbit/s in 2021 (Ookla, January 2022), it’s unsurprising that 81% of Swedish broadband customers are happy with the service being provided. But satisfaction with coverage in rural areas, as well as for cars and boats, lags behind that for homes.

When things went wrong, households used a range of channels to try to fix their problems. Contact centers were still the channel of choice for a third of customers (32%), and particularly for older age demographics. But digitally-savvy Swedes searched their ISP’s website for answers (34%), or online (31%), while 6% even looked for YouTube videos to help them solve their problems.

“What we’re seeing is increasingly complex [channel] behaviour by customers,” comments Fredrik Edwall, EVP Sales & Marketing at Subtonomy, “which makes it essential that ISPs are able to offer seamless omnichannel support – ensuring their customers are able to access the same, accurate and up-to-date information about their problems whichever channel they use.”

Edwall warns that the ability to provide omnichannel technical support across a wide range of network types and ever-more complex services is set to become a huge challenge for CSPs in the next 5 years, as they roll out gigabit fiber and 5G networks, but is essential for successful monetization of these services.

Edwall also revealed his company’s research indicates that customer support is becoming a point of differentiation between providers and is revenue accretive – with 45% of customers saying they are willing to pay more to get higher service quality.

“Faster networks are great, but customers also expect those networks to be reliable,” notes Edwall. “Customers tell us that quality of service, as well as quality of support, influence their decisions as to which provider to select. But perhaps even more tellingly, 45% of customers now value their broadband connection so highly that they’re willing to pay a premium to get guaranteed service quality and support.”

Key Swedish demographics

  • Swedish population 10.4 million (World Bank 2020)
  • Average size of household 2.4 people
  • Average number of mobile subscriptions 2.4
  • Average number of broadband subscriptions 1.3
  • 84% of Swedish households had fixed broadband (2020) (DESI 2021)
  • 88% of Swedes accessed government services online (2020) (DESI 2021)
  • 60% of Swedes subscribe to at least one paid video streaming service (Q1 2022) (Mediavision 2022)
  • A typical Swedish SVOD household pays approximately SKr220/EUR20.89 per month (Mediavision 2022)

Download Subtonomy’s full report here