Customer experience

Stay Connected: How To Be Customer Centric In Telecommunication

Published August 26, 2021·Written by Halle Dang, Lucia Manetti

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As a telecommunication service provider, you may have been thinking your team has worked hard to satisfy your customers – until one day you see another service cancellation request by another customer. Worse, a low-star rating of your business. 

And like many other telecom carriers, you may wonder why this is the case? Aren’t we living in the age of digital transformation where we basically would all die without WiFi? Why are telecoms increasingly losing customers, if it’s not the ‘bad connection’?

According to Temkin Experience Ratings, television service providers, wireless carriers, and ISPS are among the lowest-ranked industries in terms of customer experience (CX). For example, the popular mobile brand Virgin Mobile became the first telecom to appear on Temkin’s yearly list of most customer centric firms (no. 128).

Moreover, the wireless sector had an average of 61% customer experience rating in its 2015 list, plus ranking at no. 14 out of 20 (industries.)

However, despite their often poor ratings and reviews, the future of CX is quite opportunistic in telecommunication. Telecoms play a pivotal role in connecting people with their community, especially now in our digital world with social distancing.

In this post, we share several customer centric tips to succeed in telecommunication. But first, we must look to what CX means in telecom, why even care to improve it, and why many providers are just not satisfying customers enough. 

Hello, Can You Hear Me?: What is Customer Experience (CX) in Telecommunication and Why Should It Matter?

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again – customer centricity is KEY. Your company should put the customer at the heart of everything it does.

In telecommunication, it means more than picking up the phone, answering support tickets, saying ‘have a great day,’ or any other customer service-related tasks. It means some hardcore CX optimization and repositioning tactics to change consumer perceptions.   

Over the years, customer experience has become increasingly valued by more and more companies across industries because CX is the main driving force behind revenue and growth.

According to our friends (more so acquaintances) over at Deloitte, CX is the only real key thing that helps companies stand out in an industry where all operators are similar in terms of technology and service.

So, given that telecom providers exist to mainly help connect people to people across cities, countries, oceans, CX should matter and be their top priority.

Pick Up the Phone: Why Aren’t Many Telecom Brands Getting CX Right? 

In an industry outlook report by GDS, a global research firm, several telecom executives were interviewed over why the telecommunication sector isn’t very customer-centric as compared to other highly-ranked fields. 

Accordingly, one of the biggest reasons is believed to be that customer centricity just isn’t ingrained in the telecom culture. Providers are mainly focused on enlarging their network to attract more new customers, rather than being more communicative, conversational, and attuned to their needs. 

As one telecom executive, or the Head of Consumer Innovation for a large European-based servicer, states:

“Our organisation still has a yearly budgeting process, which means top-down defined systems. We’re not really set-up to incorporate bottom-up feedback into products, processes or systems.”

Another major reason is that telecommunication brands are commonly perceived as nothing more than a money machine – a race to the bottom, which is when businesses sacrifice quality, employee well-being, or low labor costs to achieve competitive pricing.

So, wireless, phone, and cable providers are commonly perceived as merely another utility bill, another lousy extra cost.

As one CIO of a telecom headquartered in the Middle East states:

“Being a telco operator is no longer about building a network in the hope that people will come. It’s about getting closer to the customer so we can better meet their needs.”

Dial In: 3 Trending Tips for Telecoms to Be More Customer Centric

In 2021, moving forward, there are key opportunities for our telecommunication buddies to consider both for recovery from COVID-19 and for positioning their brand for the future.

#1 Tip: Leverage advanced technologies like AI and 5G 

Do not focus on the technology itself, but on the benefits and outcomes of adopting advanced wireless technologies like 5G, which can develop very industry-tailored enterprise applications.

While 5G wireless technology begins to gain traction among consumers and enterprises, telecommunications companies should have an even more important role to play next year. 

Among other benefits, 5G promises to offer businesses unprecedented, real-time visibility, insights, and control over their assets and products. In addition, it can offer new ways of operating and delivering new products and services.

5G will generate $700 billion in economic value, according to GSMA estimates, with enterprises accounting for 68% of shipments. Retail, government, and finance are the leading applications.

Further, artificial intelligence for CX can increase companies’ customer service efficiency and improve customer experience by outperforming human capabilities. 

With seamless customer data access across platforms, Telco agents can collect insights, learn from them, and improve their performance over time. 

#2 Tip: Get to really know your customers with powerful consumer behavior analytics

The need to retain customers (versus acquire new ones) has become increasingly important-making it more vital for providers to comprehend consumer behavior patterns and develop strategies to engage them. 

This is a call for finding and investing in advanced enterprise software, particularly sentiment analytics and voice of customer (VoC) analytics. These technologies can enable telecoms to understand why many customers, for instance, are canceling their contracts or switching to other providers.

With AI capabilities, tools like Wonderflow can even suggest business actions to take based on service ratings and reviews and predict the outcome of those decisions. 

#3 Tip: Prioritize your omnichannel strategy

Consider all of the ways customers transact with the organization, focusing on both the channel mix and the ability to meet customer needs (e.g., offering contactless inventory and checkout). 

Since the pandemic reduced in-store traffic, telecom providers have had to rely more heavily on online interfaces to increase consumer conversions. Telecommunication companies are therefore required to provide customers with as many touchpoints as possible in order to enhance customer experience and satisfaction.

As for the offline experience, telecommunications providers should explore how technologies, such as “contactless” settings, can contribute to rewards programs, consumer engagement, and exclusive experiences.

 

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