Study finds “out-of-touch” battery-specs are leaving consumers powerless to compare

  • Smartphone makers risking customer satisfaction through poor reporting of battery performance.
  • 10 percent of hardware-related technical support calls connected to battery performance.
POOLE, U.K. -- An analysis of 50 of the top smartphones launched from August 2011 to August 2012 reveals that smartphone makers are risking customer satisfaction by not quoting battery performance in a way that reflects day-to-day use. The analysis, by WDS, A Xerox Company, found that the battery specifications and performance data used by consumers when shopping for a new device could leave many disappointed with their new purchases.
 
Activities such as web browsing, watching videos and using downloadable apps have become an everyday part of smartphone use. Yet analysis shows that their impact on battery performance is largely excluded from the data published by manufacturers. Only two of the 50 devices that were reviewed included information on expected battery life for web browsing (the Apple iPhone 4S and the Nokia N9). Instead, consumers are typically left to make comparisons based on stand-by time and 2G talk-time.
 
To support the findings, WDS also analyzed two million technical support calls taken on behalf of global mobile network operators and handset manufacturers. The findings found that calls about battery performance have quadrupled since 2008, rising to make up 10 percent of all hardware-related technical support calls.
 
“Poor battery life has become one of the most common complaints of smartphone users, and it’s not hard to see why,” said Tim Deluca-Smith, vice president of marketing at WDS, the customer experience management company that ran the study. “The majority of manufacturers simply publish stand-by and talk-time figures, which have the lowest drain on smartphone battery performance. This means that when consumers start using their smartphones in earnest – downloading and using apps and browsing the web – they often find their battery lasts less than they expected.”
 
A report from J.D. Power and Associates released in March 2012 found a clear link between satisfaction with battery performance and likelihood to repurchase a device from the same manufacturer.
 
Apple, one of the two device makers to report the impact of web browsing on battery performance, ranked highest in customer satisfaction among smartphone manufacturers.
 
“A vital aspect of customer experience is setting the right expectation. No single manufacturer can really overcome the limitations of today's batteries, but they can take the lead in better informing customers. This will not only boost satisfaction, but will also save money for them and their mobile operator partners. Battery life is not something that a consumer can gauge in-store. Simply stating that a device has a 1700mAh battery is meaningless; performance data needs to be in line with real-world use,” concluded Deluca-Smith.
 
The full list of devices researched and the infographic of the study are available from http://www.wds.co/enlightened.  
 
The research into battery performance reporting by WDS, found that:
  • 80 per cent of devices specified talk time on 2G/GSM (in hours)
  • 74 per cent of devices specified stand-by time on 2G/GSM (in hours)
  • 62 per cent of devices specified talk time on 3G (in hours)
  • 56 per cent of devices specified standby on 3G (in hours)
  • 28 per cent of devices specified audio playback (in hours)
  • 26 per cent of devices specified video playback (in hours)
  • 4 per cent of devices specified web browsing on Wi-Fi (in hours)
  • 4 per cent of devices specified web browsing on 3G (in hours)
About WDS
WDS, A Xerox Company, is the wireless industry's only provider of specialist managed services dedicated to improving the customer experience across the entire consumer lifecycle. The company's portfolio of platform-enabled tools and services stretches across the wireless value chain to connect and optimize each stage of the consumer lifecycle. With more than 15 years of experience and a global footprint, WDS is the partner of choice for wireless carriers, handset manufactures and service providers looking to transform their relationships with consumers. The company currently counts over 100 customers, including most of the world’s largest handset manufacturer and mobile operator brands, and is headquartered in Poole, UK. To find out more, please visit http://www.wds.co.
 
About Xerox
With sales approaching $23 billion, Xerox (NYSE: XRX) is the world’s leading enterprise for business process and document management. Its technology, expertise and services enable workplaces – from small businesses to large global enterprises – to simplify the way work gets done so they operate more effectively and focus more on what matters most: their real business. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., Xerox offers business process outsourcing and IT outsourcing services, including data processing, healthcare solutions, HR benefits management, finance support, transportation solutions, and customer relationship management services for commercial and government organizations worldwide.  The company also provides extensive leading-edge document technology, services, software and genuine Xerox supplies for graphic communication and office printing environments of any size. The 140,000 people of Xerox serve clients in more than 160 countries.  For more information, visit http://www.xerox.com, http://news.xerox.com or http://www.realbusiness.com.  For investor information, visit http://www.xerox.com/investor.
 
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Media Contacts

Tim Deluca-Smith
WDS, A Xerox Company
+44 7957 311189
Howard Jones
CCgroup for WDS
+44 7760 322 050
Paul Nolan
CCgroup for WDS
+44 7717 723 440

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