Ways in which telecom companies can improve customer experience (CX)
About a decade ago, in a country like India, any of us trying to work from home, conduct stock market trades or browse, faced considerable bandwidth challenges in terms of quality of service and cost. Workplace bandwidth was often the only channel available to serve our many connectivity-driven needs. Telecom companies operated as giant controllers of services giving us little chance of considering other options.
Today, we are omnichannel and quickly switch services to suit our needs. We know what we want, and we see the capability of new technology and desire it with competitive rates and superior services. We boldly use multiple channels to voice concerns, choose modes of entertainment, conduct business and lead our digitally-driven lives with scarcely any time lost waiting for connectivity. Our expectations are rising, and we demand the best of quality and service from our telcos.
CX or customer experience is fast becoming a key differentiator amongst telecom service providers. Service gratification and omnipresent connectivity are some of several expectation drivers. Consumption over OTT supported by ever-increasing broadband speeds, autonomous cars, communication needs of Industry 4.0 and 5-G powered networks are just a few game changers that are catalysing telcos to focus on and improve CX.
Challenges facing the telecom industry include:
- Evolving competitive environments with strong technology and digitally savvy players, growing at an exponential pace.
- Siloed and rigid legacy systems that are hard to manage, integrate, upgrade and operate.
- Continuous reassessment of risk and security management practices with rising cyber-attacks and vicious hacks via mobiles.
- Increasing options for customers to purchase and consume high quality voice, data and video services from wireless and satellite providers.
- Dynamic and stringent regulatory, governance and compliance demands.
Winning customer trust and loyalty depends on level of satisfaction and quality of service. Telcos can start with four factors that immediately impact CX.
- Customer service with quick response time, the “best support possible”, technically well-trained staff with exceptional technical performance and support. People working more from home post the pandemic require reliable service and support.
- Call quality with good signal, complete coverage and no dropped calls across a range of ever-increasing new devices that include support for use cases such as remote monitoring, doctors providing real-time surgical assistance and time-sensitive business transactions.
- Internet connectivity with fast and reliable connections that offer a wide range of services. Autonomous vehicles, smart factories and remote energy grids require proactive, high bandwidth communication services.
- Data plans offering competitive rates with transparency and accountability in contracting and billing services can improve customer relationships for both individual and business needs. The time to deliver optimal telecom services around pay-as-you-use, dynamic demand and seamless switching of plans are ways to retain customers
There are many solutions that telcos can leverage to improve customer experience. A few are presented here
- Investing in a customer data platform helps induce sharing of information across telco services that are currently siloed. This allows for cross functional data analysis and provides telcos with a ‘single view’ of the customer. It also enables telcos to curate solutions and plans that meet customer preferences and needs.
- Delivering seamless customer service by constantly collecting customer data through empowered customer service reps across customer touchpoints, improving service options and offering along those points through continuous insights from data analysis.
- Building a robust CX strategy so that there is a unified view of the customer within a telco company. Customer consumptions patterns and future needs can be collectively analysed and shared to plan and engage customers with a goal of maximum satisfaction.
- Leveraging AI & ML platforms where telcos can plugin their data to understand deep emotional and behavioural aspects of customer responses to solve problems and drive better results.
- Establish feedback loops across all B2B and B2C touchpoints. These include call centres, retails points, and installation teams via designed and piloted processes.
Some of the benefits of delivering a great CX include
- Better performance of telco and other businesses by gathering, analysing and sharing information that could potentially drive upsell/cross-sell opportunities and hyper-personalise services.
- Increased customer trust built on a privacy and permission-first approach.
- Robust and reliable edge computing that reduces network and other pathway outages.
- Reduction in churn rate and increase in customer loyalty through consistent and transparent practices.
To summarise, a telco service provider can provide a good customer experience as a result of sound CX practices built into every part of their network, from planning, design and delivery to meet and stay ahead of customer demands and expectations.
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