Customers today expect more from their telecom providers. Their interactions with digitally native companies like GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple) have led them to expect a slick, intuitive experience, whilst messenger and VOIP services like WhatsApp have made them see voice and text as commodities.
Companies who get this right tend to do much better than those who don’t – a study published by the London School of Economics titled Advocacy Drives Growth suggested that an average net promoter score (NPS) increase of 7% correlates to an average 1% growth in revenue.
This is not easy for telcos because they are often bundling services like telephony, broadband and content together, whilst also providing access to over-the-top (OTT) and cloud services. The difficulty with this is that customers expect a consistent level of reliability and service quality – not easy when each of the services has been built with its own silo of technology or when part of the bundle is resold as 3rd party products.
When things go wrong, customers expect to be able to contact their telco – by phone, app, or sometimes in stores to get a fast resolution. The ease and effectiveness of this contact often makes the difference between customers becoming a net promoter or a detractor.
Designing an experience that works well for all products and services across whatever channel the customer chooses is the starting point. Leading brands build on this by also creating a connection with their customers on a more emotional level.
WHAT IT TAKES TO BUILD A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE
Getting the experience right is a combination of four important factors:
- Brand – Brand has a strong influence on the perception of quality and experience, and so it is a critical part of the service design. A clear understanding of the lifestyle and expectations of target customers should, therefore, be a starting point. Clear matching of products and experience to customer segments can have surprising results – just look at how customers rate network quality higher in some mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) than their “parent” networks.
- Process – Once the target customer journeys have been designed, telcos need to ensure that critical operational processes work effectively. The processes which have the greatest impact on customer complaints are service delivery, service assurance and billing. These need to work seamlessly as a prerequisite, and the “trouble to resolve” journey integrated with these so that any complicated issues can be quickly diagnosed and fixed.
- Technology – Most telco’s default channel for customer journeys is digital, and for good reason. Not only is it far cheaper than assisted channels, but customers also tend to prefer it – at least for simple issues. Creating an experience that blends the best digital channels and assisted channels relies on an integrated suite of technology which includes analytics-driven “next best action”, automation of routine steps, a microservices-based architecture to ensure consistency across channels, or troubleshooting tools for contact centers in the event a customer wishes to call in
- People and Culture – Perhaps the most difficult ingredient of customer experience or CX is to create the organizational culture. Customer centricity needs to pervade the business from top to bottom and be seen as a value that trumps other short-term considerations. Many businesses claim this whilst still measuring their contact centers on metrics like cost-to-serve (CTS) or call handling time (CHT), which drive the opposite behavior. A customer experience design needs to consider not only how to resolve problems, but how to motivate staff to take ownership of them.
Getting these factors right contributes to excellence in customer experience and stickiness in the market.
A review of the latest Ofcom data provides a quick insight into some of the telecom providers that are succeeding. GiffGaff is an interesting example. It’s an MVNO, targeted towards a specific demographic and designed from the outset with a self-service only model.
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SETTING UP FOR SUCCESS: OUR RECOMMENDATIONS
- Ensure C-level buy-in: CX programs are cross-functional and touch many parts of the business. Consistent targets and KPIs have to be in place for all involved parties to ensure across-the-board commitment in achieving results.
- Remember that knowing your customers is a journey: Being aware of your customer segments is a starting point, but focus your insights team on understanding evolving customer needs, attitudes and behaviors.
- Journey mapping is not only for the channels that you own: Customers interact with your brand through multiple touch-points, channels, and platforms beyond your own brand platform (social media sites for example). Understand the customer’s user journey across all platforms to provide a seamless brand experience.
- Embrace a culture of continuous improvement and business agility: Telcos operate in a fast-moving environment. Having a nimble and flexible organization that can respond in real-time to market changes and trends is crucial when it comes to competing with digitally native companies.
- Create awareness and customer advocacy: Ensure everyone in the business understands the importance of customer experience and the role they have to play in delivering it.
- Budget for the long term: Secure C-suite buy-in and budget approval to achieve long-term objectives
Our Customer Experience Team
At Infosys Consulting, our experts believe that customer experience is the key to unlocking an organization’s full potential in today’s digital world. Our consultants focus on helping companies create and execute innovative programs across the enterprise, and deliver solutions to drive growth and competitive advantage. To continue the discussion, please get in touch with our customer experience experts.
Partner, Infosys Consulting
Ian is a strategy and transformation professional with 25 years of experience in the utilities and telecom sectors. He is an expert in defining and delivering technology-led transformation programs in complex, multi-vendor environments. Ian joined Infosys Consulting as a partner last year and manages some of our key accounts in the region.
Senior Principal, Infosys Consulting
Stefano is a customer experience and digital transformation expert with over 12 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. He specializes in multichannel strategy, customer and user experience, program management, business and digital transformation, sales and customer care business processes, product management, customer relationship management, multichannel delivery.