Sunday, November 27, 2022

How telcos can improve their customer service

How telcos can improve their customer service

It’s no mystery that telecoms is a highly competitive industry, with telcos offering everything from better minutes, data, packages, and the like at lower costs to lure in customers to their networks over the other.

While these strategies have been implemented far and wide to increase subscriber counts, they aren’t as viable in today’s competitive landscape.

Thus, the only sustainable point of differentiation in telecom today is superior customer service (CX).  

A recent report by Forrester takes this concept one step further by proving that improving customer experience in telecoms delivers a boost to all KPIs. According to a report called Drive Revenue with Great Customer Experience, following the automotive industry and upscale hotels, telecoms has the third highest potential for increasing revenue by improving CX.

Forrester’s CX Index highlights that telcos who increase their CX score by only one point will generate an additional $3.39 in per-customer incremental revenue. This was echoed by the Harvard Business Review, who reported that customers who had the best experiences spend 140 percent more compared to those who had the poorest experiences.

There are a number of strategies that telcos can adopt to better their customer service experience, and increase customer engagement, especially in a time where consumers want to connect or relate to the businesses they deal with.

Let’s jump right in.

1-Better understanding customers

Customer expectations from telcos is rising, as competitions are fierce with some offering digital content, platforms, and services at lesser costs. Thus, the best way to turn the tide in your favor is to understand what your customer truly wants and deliver on it.

A survey conducted in as far back as 2013 by TTEC revealed that:

  • 50 percent of telecom customers feel lost when they encounter automated service systems and prefer a more user-friendly way to communicate with their service provider
  • 35 percent of customers prefer to speak to a friendly, empathetic associate
  • Customers hate rigid scripts, and meaningless phrases like “your call is important to us” and “that’s our policy,” which are often repeated by service agents.

These complaints are still applicable in 2020, which is why the human touch is needed when addressing customers. An example of this was seen by T-Mobile International, who found that 60 percent of customers shy away from Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.

The company threw out the IVR model in favor of what they call a “Team of Experts,” which are small, local groups of customer service agents that provide individualized support.

Customers in different regions of the US have their own dedicated teams of customer care representatives who offer quick, efficient assistance on a wide range of topics, from the most basic to the highly complex.

2- AI adoption

While adopting artificial intelligence (AI) within your customer service framework can offer a plethora of cost-effective benefits, it needs to be done right when handling customers who have a problem to solve.

According to IDC estimates, 75 percent of enterprise applications will make use of AI services by 2021. The use of chatbots can improve your CX by easing the burden on customer service teams by offering:

  • Easy access to information
  • Reduced waiting time
  • Quick response time
  • Personalized interactions
  • Faster query resolution
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Improved productivity
  • Store data for easy personalization

Chatbots enable fast and seamless service for telecom customers, 24/7. They save time and resources by directly replying to customers using FAQs for solving straightforward or repetitive queries. Only complex queries are forwarded to human agents, ensuring faster resolution and less burden on the staff.

An example of this can be seen by Verizon, who launched a setlist of solutions, called Digital CX, which blend human and artificial intelligence to enhance customer experience. Through Digital CX, customers – via social media, chat, email, text, or over the phone – will receive personalized experiences based on their previous interactions.

Agents can seamlessly access customer data across platforms, with the system collecting insights, learning from them, and improving its performance over time. The company’s NPS jumped 9 points from 2015 to 2018 and they won two of the three J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Business Wireline Satisfaction awards.

3- Customer-centric culture

Every customer wants to feel valued, like their voices are heard, especially with large telcos that deal with millions of subscribers. Thus, changing a customer-centric culture starts with each customer.

Britain’s BT spearheaded this strategy by investing in coaching their frontline staff and by setting up a volunteer program called “Tiger Teams” where employees engage in projects focused on improving customer experience in telecoms.

The company also implemented customer-centric programs that meant subscribers were supported by frontliners throughout their entire order journey in an attempt to increase understanding of what they’re buying as well as forming a clear line of communication.

Due to these efforts, BT has led to a 24-point NPS increase in just 12 months.

4- Omnichannel experience

We are in a time where companies could be directly reached from anywhere, social media, phone, email, and the likes, which is why telcos must consistently provide a seamless line of communication with their customers to improve their overall CX.

Comcast is the favored example in this case, as they have allowed customers to reach out to them on any channel they deem fit, while guaranteeing that their response will be consistent across all channels and platforms regardless if the conversation moves from one channel to another.

With this, the company renders the transition as painless as possible, ensuring that the new interaction does not require the customer to start from scratch. 

Customer service techniques and strategies will continue to change as technological advancements arm companies with the tools needed to meet customer demands, which is why telcos need to be quick in their adoption of the very technologies that they sell off.