What Do Households Want?

The telecom industry has spent decades bringing residential customers the products we think they want. This has resulted in the ubiquitous triple-play bundle of telephone, data and cable TV. But one has to only spend a little time with a Millenial to know that customers are no longer satisfied with what we have been selling them. While many customers are still buying the traditional products, more and more people are actively looking for alternatives.

And alternatives are showing up. I have one client who has been serving over 20,000 cable TV customers for many years. But for the last year they have been steadily losing 200 customers each month and it doesn’t take a lot of math to see that in a decade they won’t have any cable customers left.

So I am advising clients to start looking at delivering products that people want today and into the future. To help figure out what those products might be, I think you have to start by understanding what customers want today.  I offer the following list of I have made a list of what I think households want today from their telecom provider:

The ability to use multiple devices shared across multiple networks. Customers want to a variety of devices to access the web. They want to seamlessly move from desk top to cell phone to pad to TV to game box. Customers want to be able to move back and forth between the cellular and home WiFi network for voice. Anyone who can facilitate this ability will have an edge.

Faster download and upload speeds. Households want to ability to operate multiple devices at the same time. This requires faster speeds and in some cases QOS.

Mobility. Customers want mobility in both directions, both into and out of the house. They want to be able to start a phone conversation on a cell phone and seamlessly transfer it to a landline when they get home or to the office. They want to be able to access data and do work at home or wherever they are.

Choice of video. Customers want the option to buy only the video they want to watch. And they want to watch it on multiple devices.  

Security and alarm services. Many households want reliable alarm services. They also want to easily operate cameras they can watch remotely.

Integrated entertainment. Customers want to share entertainment content. They want to watch what they want in different rooms and on different devices. They want to be able to move seamlessly from TV to PC to pad to phone. 

Use of cloud-based services. As more and more data is stored in the cloud, customers want an easy way to access and manage the cloud.

The ability to make impulse purchases. Customers want to be able to buy a TV show, a movie, a song and then experience it immediately. People are shifting from buying large monthly subscriptions (cable TV packages) to buying entertainment in small doses.

Help making things work. Households are faced with a confusing array of possible technical solutions and they will value anybody who can make their video, computers, wireless networks and other devices work seamlessly together.

2 thoughts on “What Do Households Want?

  1. Dear Doug:
    Great thesis… However, you do leave out one very important factor — end-user customers want cost effectiveness. ESPECIALLY in this “Post-Great-Recession” environment, end-user customers are unwilling to waste money on products, services and applications are too expensive… and are unwilling to be tied down to long-term contracts that are not a good value for the money, and do not resolve their issues and problems.
    Your thoughts?

    Ron Isaacson
    Germantown, Md.

  2. While saving money is something that many households are forced into due to economic circumstances, the industry statistics are that spending on telecom and related entertainment is up significantly over the last 20 years. Twenty years ago people had a basic telephone, some long distance and some basic cable TV, and the average household telecom spending averaged just a little over $100 per month. Now people have more robust cable TV, more than one cell phone per home and then spend a lot of extra money on things like iTunes, Hulu, Spotify, cell phone apps, etc. and the average household now spends something closer to $400 per month, an increase that is far greater than that expected due to inflation. People say they want to save money, but their behavior says otherwise and they are lured into spending by the huge array of fun choices in the marketplace.

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