Becoming an industry standard: Lessons learned from JD Power

Posted on September 6, 2018 by Brendan Gill

Today it seems second nature to consult an independent standard before making an important choice. We regularly appeal to consumer ratings before choosing a hotel, movie critics before a trip to the cinema or an independent surveyor before purchasing a house. But it wasn’t always so. In fact, just a couple of decades ago independent reviews of quality were hard to come by. In many cases, the only source of information would be the suppliers you were trying to choose between, who conducted their own studies and tests that were subject, of course, to a glaring conflict of interest. For example, if you were looking to buy a car, your primary source of information would be the car manufacturers themselves, a recipe for confusion, misinformation and mistrust.

In 1968 all that changed. James David Power III started carrying out the very first independent, customer-centric research on car manufacturers by conducting surveys of the end users themselves and publishing the results for the world to see. It was no easy task to get the automotive industry to listen to what their customers had to say, but as JD Power’s reputation for integrity kept growing, eventually even the largest players realized that in order to succeed they needed to pay close attention to the experience of their users. The net result was an increased focus on quality and end-user satisfaction which benefited everyone in the ecosystem from consumers to the manufacturers themselves.

Car phone

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Fast forward to present day where JD Power ratings span over a dozen industries, from health through financial services, and are now widely regarded as the most reputable glob al standard of quality based on the “voice of the consumer”. In a fiercely competitive, global market where customer experience is now treated with the reverence it deserves, companies big and small are vying to maximize customer satisfaction and top the JD Power ratings.

In the same way that JD Power’s independent information drove the automotive industry to increase quality, Opensignal’s goal is to be the force that does the same for mobile connectivity. Today, I am extremely pleased to announce that Finbarr O’Neill, former CEO of JD Power has joined Opensignal’s Board of Directors to help us realize that goal. His unique experience managing billion-dollar businesses and building a brand that has become a global standard synonymous with independence, credibility and insight will prove invaluable in steering us in our quest to champion the truth in mobile network experience and help the industry provide better connectivity to all.

In Finbarr’s own words:

“I am delighted to join the Board of Opensignal and help build up on the success the company has achieved to date. Opensignal have a unique capacity to capture real-world consumer connectivity experience and provide both consumers and telecommunications operators with the data and analysis to make sense of it all. This enables consumers to make more informed choices on the operator that will best serve their particular needs and, at the same time, provides operators with the data-driven insights they need to deliver best-in-class service to consumers."

When we started Opensignal we felt the mobile industry looked similar to how the automotive industry did when JD Power was starting out. There was a dearth of independent, trustworthy information on connectivity yet it represented one of the most critical choices a consumer made and continues to make today: which provider will offer them the most optimal connectivity experience in the places they need it? Looking out on such a similar landscape and with the expertise of someone who has the experience of transforming an industry already, we are invigorated in the pursuit of our mission.

As JD Power achieved in the auto industry, we firmly believe increased transparency in the mobile industry will bring a greater focus on quality, leading to increased connectivity to all.

— Brendan Gill is CEO and co-founder of Opensignal

In February 2019, we changed the spelling of our company name to Opensignal; our app remains the same spelling — OpenSignal app.

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