7 investments Canadian telecom companies need to make right now

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The number of complaints made by Canadian consumers against cellphone, Internet and telecommunication companies in general has fallen in the 2013-2014 period, according to a report by the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications services. This is the first decline since the establishment of the organization, and industry experts attribute this greater satisfaction rate to the efforts and investments service providers are making.

But telecom companies shouldn’t be patting themselves on the back too hard. It’s apparent these firms can do even more to bolster their branding and better satisfy customers.

Here are seven investments telecommunications firms need to make moving forward:

Competitive Prices

A new study authored by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) discovered that the cost of cable and other telecom services Canadians pay increased an average of 3.2 percent in the past year. Business analysts say the rising cost is due to consumers using more data and signing up for faster Internet. If telecom firms wish to keep their customers satisfied then these corporations need to invest in a more competitive pricing model or new technologies to keep costs down.

Television Choices

Pay-TV customers have aired their grievances on shelling out for channels they don’t even watch. It has been years that any relevant change has been made in the business model of cable television. The federal government is in the preliminary stages of offering an a la carte menu of channel options, but this needs to be ramped up and embraced before it’s too late for telecoms. Look at the rise of Netflix and its buffet of TV show variety, all for an all-you-can-watch price of $9/month.

Online Libraries

According to the latest quarterly reports from Rogers and Shaw, tens of thousands of customers are ditching cable and cutting the cord in favour of streaming services (Netflix, again) as part of a cost-conscious effort. Telecommunications companies need to invest in more robust online video libraries, though Bell, Rogers and Shaw will be unveiling their own streaming capabilities in Shomi. But the content is still limited compared to what’s available south of the border.

Contract Terms

Indeed, the overall number of complaints made by consumers has declined, but those related to non-disclosure and misleading contract terms soared 74 percent. Telcos should consider simpler terms of service language and bigger contract text for customers to avoid any discrepancies and disputes between customers and call centre representatives. At least Canadians no longer have to give a 30-day notice to cancel or change their television, Internet or landline telephone service, as CBC reports.

Customer Service

Last year, a survey released by J.D. Power & Associates found that Rogers and Bell ranked last and second-last, respectively, when it came to customer satisfaction among full-service clients. Telecom companies aren’t necessarily celebrated for their customer service so this would be one logical area that they will need to invest in, particularly for the big two in Canada.

Rural Canada

For years, residents living in rural parts of Canada have complained about either the scarcity of telecommunication services or the high price of accessing high-speed Internet or cable.

Although the federal government has urged the big-name telecom providers to improve their wireless services in rural communities, Ottawa has warned that its improvements to enhance cellphone service in major cities and mid-size urban centres may actually hinder Internet access for individuals residing in rural areas.

Canada is vast, but significant infrastructure investments ought to be sought in the north.

Wireless Ecosystem

Firms should be considering to coalesce industry resources and invest in an immense wireless ecosystem that connects machine-to-machine market technologies from coast-to-coast to create new opportunities, improve productivity, assist in significant economic growth and spur global competitiveness. Consider this Canada’s contribution to the “Internet of Things.”

Photo via Rogers product page

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Andrew Moran

Andrew Moran is a full-time professional writer and journalist, who covers the areas of business, economics and personal finance. He has contributed to Benzinga, Capital Liberty News, Career Addict, Money Morning and PFHub.
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