One In Five BlackBerry Users Considers Switching

More bad news for RIM after a survey found one in five BlackBerry users are considering jumping ship

Research in Motion (RIM) has received more unwelcome news after a survey found that one in five are considering dumping their BlackBerrys and opting for another handset supplier.

The survey of more than 1,000 BlackBerry customers by shopping comparison website Kelkoo, comes after what has been a week to forget for the troubled handset maker.

Service Outages

The service outages began on Monday, and it became clear on Tuesday that the problems had not been solved. RIM blamed the service outages on a “core switch failure” within its infrastructure.

The failure initially affected half of BlackBerry’s 70 millions users worldwide, mostly in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). But then the outages also spread to North America.

It took until Thursday for RIM executives including co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, to confirm that services had been fully restored, four days after the first interruptions hit customers.

Lazaridis even produced this short YouTube video where he publicly apologised for the outages and said that RIM would work hard to regain customers’ trust following the incident.

Jumping Ship

But this apology seems to be falling on deaf ears after the Kelkoo survey said that following these  service issues, nearly one in five (or 19 percent) of existing BlackBerry users are thinking of moving manufacturer in the not too distant future.

It also found that 42 percent will think about it when they next change their handset, and 8 percent said they have bought a new mobile phone already.

Only 32 percent of respondents said they would remain loyal, claiming Blackberry is the only manufacturer to offer the services they need.

Unfortunately seven in ten (71 percent) who were planning to get a Blackberry in the future admit they would need some reassurance from RIM, as they would now be put off following the recent problems.

Poor Communication

One of the biggest complaints about RIM during the outages was the lack of clear information from the company, at least initially. The survey found that 65 percent of all consumers would like to be informed of a problem as soon as it happens and 67 percent would appreciate the reassurance of regular updates on what the provider is doing to resolve the problem.

Just over half (54 percent) would expect to receive compensation, whilst 40 percent would like reassurance that the problems will not happen again.

“This week has been incredibly difficult for Blackberry users worldwide, however, Blackberry offers a market-leading product with a unique service, which nearly a third of consumers admit they will not find with any other manufacturer,” said Chris Simpson, Chief Marketing Officer at Kelkoo.

“As such, it has a loyal following and this will stand it in good stead to retain customers,” he said. “Whilst our research highlights that some consumers intend to jump the Blackberry ship, it could be a very different picture in the coming months when this week’s issues become a distant memory.”

So what handsets are disgruntled BlackBerry users thinking of? Well perhaps it is no surprise that 62 percent of consumers claimed they would now opt for an iPhone above all other brands.

RIM is clearly in a state of transition as it struggles to maintain its market position in the face of the Android and iPhone onslaught. The company working on a set of QNX-based “superphones” it hopes will allow it to reclaim the initiative against its competition.

Last month Research firm Nielsen estimated that RIM’s share of the US smartphone market was at 18 percent, behind both Android (43 percent) and Apple’s iOS (28 percent), but well ahead of Microsoft (8 percent).