Five strategies to improve customer experience in telecoms
In the highly competitive telecom industry, customer experience is a critical factor in building and maintaining a competitive advantage. 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.
Drive Revenue with Great Customer Experience 2017 indicates that after the auto industry and upscale hotels, telecoms has the third highest potential for increasing revenue by improving CX. And by how much? According to Forrester’s CX Index scoring system, telcos that increase CX score by one point will generate an additional $3.39 in per-customer incremental revenue.
The Harvard Business Review further quantifies this point, reporting that customers who had the best experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest experiences.
OK, so CX is important. What now?
To get started on the road to improving customer experience, take stock of your customers’ pain points, and determine the business impact of reducing their pain. Will it increase overall satisfaction? Boost revenues? Drive long-term loyalty? Reduce the cost to serve?
Oftentimes, the best business cases are those that both increase customer satisfaction and cut costs by reducing contact center enquiries or technician dispatches. For example, McKinsey states that mobile customers who dispute their first bill are less likely to remain active one year later – a phenomenon that telcos should consider when planning their CX initiatives.
Successful CX initiatives in telecoms
To highlight the importance and overall value of focusing efforts and investments in CX initiatives, we’ve compiled a short list of successful projects by leading providers in the telecom industry. While Comcast, BT, Verizon, Vodafone and T-Mobile are industry leaders, the principles underpinning each of these projects can be easily applied to your business to deliver a better customer experience.
Comcast – Omnichannel support
The omnichannel customer experience is comprised of multiple customer touchpoints, over a range of channels that seamlessly connect, allowing customers to move back and forth from one experience to another on any device and platform: web, voice, chat, messaging, social media, video and email. This omnichannel CX is increasingly expected by today’s customers.
Comcast has tapped into this trend with their omnichannel CX approach. Customers can interact with the company via their preferred channel, and the data set and next best action will be consistent across all of those channels. If a customer needs to be transitioned from one channel to another, the company strives to make that transition as painless as possible, ensuring that the new interaction does not require the customer to start from the beginning.
BT – Customer-centric culture
A company-wide customer-centric culture essentially places the customer at the heart of the organization, ensuring a positive experience both pre-sale and post-sale. Customer-centricity has been proven to drive repeat business, increase customer loyalty and boost profits.
It therefore comes as no surprise that Econsultancy’s survey showed that companies feel enhancing CX is the single most exciting opportunity for 2019, ahead of both content marketing and mobile marketing.
BT has taken this opportunity seriously, instituting a company-wide customer-centric culture. The company invested in coaching frontline talent and built a volunteer program called ‘Tiger Teams’ where employees engage in projects focused on improving customer experience in telecoms.
It has also implemented customer-focused programs where staff support subscribers throughout their order journey, reducing complexity and improving overall communication. BT’s consistent messaging has led to a 24-point NPS increase in just 12 months.
Verizon – AI-based digital tools
Artificial intelligence (AI) revolves around creating intelligent machines that work and react like humans. Cognitive computing enables businesses to offer far more efficient services to customers, improving CX by surpassing human capabilities. IDC estimates that 75% of enterprise applications will use AI services by 2021.
Verizon has jumped on the AI bandwagon by launching a suite 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. For example, when a customer calls in to upgrade their TV package, Verizon can personalize the conversation based on their TV viewing and broadband needs.
This initiative is the continuation of Verizon’s efforts to improve customer experience in telecoms, and the results of past CX projects speak for themselves. 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.
Vodafone – Visual engagement
Visual engagement means the use of a visual communication channel – live video, recorded video, photo stream or photo chat messaging – by a customer service organization in order to facilitate issue resolution.
Customers love visual interactions: mobile video viewing has increased by nearly 10 million minutes per day over the past two years. This appetite for video is especially relevant for customer assistance, with 70% of YouTube viewers watching videos for “help with a problem.”
Vodafone sought to utilize the power of video to alleviate the burden on its contact centers, which were fielding a staggering 5.2 million technical assistance calls per year. It rolled out remote customer assistance technology, powered by AI and AR, that allows agents to see exactly what the customer sees.
With the ability to visualize the customer’s environment either offline or in real time, Vodafone agents can point, annotate and visually guide the customer, resulting in a faster and more effective call resolution and a more satisfying customer experience.
For example, many of the issues that previously required a technician dispatch could now be performed by agents, acting as virtual technicians – effectively lowering the dispatch rate by 26%.
T-Mobile – The Human Touch
Interestingly, some companies are bucking the digital trend. Research has shown that despite companies spending millions on the technology, 60% of callers bypass IVR, and that up to 83% of interactions that begin with IVR result in direct communication with a live agent.
T-Mobile has largely done away with IVR and other automated customer service technologies in favor of a new human-touch approach to customer service. A Team of Experts, small, local groups of customer service agents, 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. Team members are all up to date on customer issues, seamlessly picking up the conversation if a follow-up call is required. Do customers still appreciate the human touch in an increasingly digital world? Well, T-Mobile was awarded J.D. Power’s Highest in Customer Service among Full-Service Wireless Providers twice in a row.
Improving CX should be high on the strategic agenda of every forward-thinking organization, especially with a Walker study reporting that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Taking steps to improve CX is proven to deliver results. Whether employing omnichannel support, implementing a customer-centric culture, deploying AI-based digital tools, investing in visual engagement or going back to basics with the human touch, any strategy your organization chooses to implement should have one goal in mind: to improve your relationship with your most important assets – your customers.