Customer experience or CX can be understood as the sum of the interactions a customer has with your brand – impacting their sales decisions and loyalty in the future.
No wonder, CX is important for every business. The better the experience, the more repeat purchases and positive reviews, the more increased profits, and fewer complaints and returns. That’s a win-win, right?
Top benefits of improving your CX are listed below:
- More sales
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Increased customer loyalty
- Positive reviews and recommendations
As you can see, all kinds of businesses can benefit from improving their customer experience. For the telecom industry, the bar has traditionally been set very low for CX. However, digital transformation and increasing competition are pushing the telecom industry to rethink their customer experience or lose their once ‘captive’ clientele to disruptive startups in the sphere that offer seamless support through technologies like AI-enabled chatbots and are more customer-centric.
So, what do telecom customers want? Better customer experience – that’s a priority for sure. However, a 2019 report indicates that the Net Promoter Score of telcos remains low, especially compared to other industries like retail and manufacturing. It’s also anybody’s guess that the failure to provide quality customer experience leads to churn, which is why CX must be a top priority for telcos in 2020.
Five Strategies to Improve Customer Experience in Telecoms
The telecom industry has turned highly competitive, and customer service and experience are critical factors determining your success. According to a 2017 Forrester Report, the telecom industry has the third-most potential for increasing revenue by improving CX. The report also stresses customer service’s role by adding that telcos should focus on improving the worst experiences instead of refining good experiences.
Below, we have identified five ways in which telcos can revolutionize their customer experience to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty:
1. Understand Customer Expectations
Today, customer expectations are rising in the face of competition from OTT service providers that offer digital content and services innovatively, often at a lesser cost. But what can you do to turn around the game in your favor? It’s simple – know what your customers want and deliver it.
Going far back to 2013, a survey revealed the following customer expectations from telcos:
- 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 rote scripts, and meaningless phrases like “your call is important to us” and “that’s our policy”, which are often repeated by service agents
In 2020, how many of the above pain points have you been able to resolve? We strongly recommend customer surveys and social listening to know what customers think about you while revisiting all your customer touchpoints to create easy and seamless communication channels.
2. Implement AI-Powered Tools to Improve Customer Support
Industries around the world are adopting AI-based technologies like chatbots to improve customer support and onboarding. According to IDC estimates, 75% of enterprise applications will make use of AI services by 2021.
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 lesser burden on the staff. A bot can also predict possible issues based on the customer’s past behavior and offer pro-active solutions to exceed their expectations.
Chatbots not only resolve queries but can also be used for suggesting better deals to customers, send payment reminders, review their subscriptions, and securely offer more personalized experiences. You can also share quick NPS surveys using a chatbot to gain user feedback for further improvements.
Another area where chatbots will become useful in the telecom industry is fraud prevention. Machine learning algorithms enable chatbots to monitor and recognize irregular behavior to issue alerts and prevent fraudulent activities to a great extent.
3. Create a Customer-Centric Culture
Improving customer experience is not the responsibility of any single team. Rather, it is an organization-wide effort that requires you to build a customer-centric culture that places customers at the organization’s heart.
British Telecom used this approach to train their frontline teams to build a volunteer program called ‘Tiger Teams’ wherein employees engage in projects focused on improving customer experience in telecoms. The company has also implemented several customer-focused programs where staff guides subscribers across their order journey to reduce the transactional complexity and improve overall communication.
Other telecom providers must take a cue and invest in training for both new and existing employees to promote a culture of customer-centricity. Instead of focusing on sales and profits, it is time to focus on customer success, eventually leading to more sales and revenue.
4. Focus on an Omnichannel Experience
Customers use multiple channels to communicate with brands. Therefore, organizations must strive to provide a consistent and seamless experience across these touchpoints to improve the overall CX throughout the customer life cycle. One good idea is to implement live chat support on your digital touchpoints to ensure real-time interactions minus the wait time. However, it is imperative to break down information siloes so that customers don’t have to repeat their concerns if they shift from live chat to phone during the query resolution process.
Comcast, an American company, adopted the omnichannel CX approach by enabling customers to interact with the brand through their preferred channel without any change in the action flow. Besides, if a customer wants to switch between channels, Comcast makes the process completely painless by ensuring they don’t have to start from the beginning.
5. Collect Feedback and Act on It
Rome was neither built nor destroyed in a day. Similarly, customer churn is not instant. It happens over time as customers grow increasingly frustrated with their experience. However, this also presents an opportunity to prevent churn by acting pro-actively and improving your CX. Besides gathering testimonials from satisfied customers, you must focus on understanding the pain points of the customers that churned to prevent a similar situation from arising in the future.
Once you know what went wrong, you can turn the insights into actionable steps to prevent future churn. It is also possible to use this information to train predictive modeling algorithms to identify high-risk customers that are on the verge of leaving your company. Once you identify such customers, you can always reach out to them with tailored marketing campaigns to retain them.
Improving customer experience must be a topmost priority for every business in every industry, including the telecommunications industry that is seeing a lot of innovation and competition at present.
Remember, your customers are your business’s life and soul, and without them, there’s no way to grow. Therefore, it is time to break age-old practices and return your focus to customers from revenue and curate delightful experiences that will eventually lead to more sales and higher ROI for your marketing efforts.