The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted people’s daily routines, which boosted the demand for telecommunications services. Internet traffic grew quickly in 2020, driven by distance learning and work from home.
Before the devastating global pandemic, only 19% of consumers indicated telecommunications brands as most innovative regarding the use of technology. However, during the pandemic, telecommunications moved a bit lower from the consumer’s perspective.
The Current State of Customer Experience Management in Telecom
The telecommunications industry saw tremendous growth in a short period. However, to make and sustain a closer relationship with the customer, companies need to step back and review the brand’s current customer experience. Where does the customer experience excels, and where does it fall short? Winning new customers can be harder and expensive than retaining existing ones.
Customer experience is a critical success factor for brands. And there is an explanation for this. Customer experience strengthens long-term relationships, defines brand reputation, and opens up new business opportunities.
Unfortunately, customer experience has been largely underestimated until recently, although improving it is one of the most straightforward, practical, and cost-effective ways to accelerate business growth.
What Are Your Customers Hoping To Find In Your Company?
Great products and services are the most obvious answer. But, as it turns out, this is not entirely true. The crux of the matter is not what customers buy but how they do it. Here are several factors that influence your purchasing decision.
- Making decisions on a subconscious level. It’s no secret that the first impression is critical. But did you know that many clients are guided by instinct? When buying a product, customers choose intuitively (using the subconscious or the emotional part of the brain). When asked to explain exactly how they came to this or that decision (referring to consciousness or the brain’s rational part), they often cannot answer. And that brings us to the next point.
- A combination of positive online reviews, referrals, and quality marketing. It is imperative to reach out to customers’ subconscious with great branding, word of mouth and rave reviews. All of these factors influence purchasing decisions and arise from positive customer experiences.
- Excellent customer experience. High-quality customer interaction becomes a source of value that company leaders often overlook, and over time becomes the main reason customers buy from you.
What Is A Customer Experience?
In fact, customer experience is what customers think of your brand. And CEOs often disagree with their clients when they ask them to describe their experience in general. Perhaps the reason for this is that most executives confuse experience with service.
The Difference Between Customer Experience And Customer Service
Although these terms are somewhat similar, there is a significant difference between them. Customer service is about a specific aspect of the customer experience – usually making a purchase or asking an employee for help. On the other hand, customer experience involves engaging with a brand that goes beyond interpersonal communication.
Examples of these interactions include predicting future shopping needs and sending timely offers or branding that reflects the customer’s personal values and beliefs. The customer service strategy is only one facet of the customer experience strategy, and the customer experience itself requires more extensive and detailed planning.
Why Is Customer Experience Trending Now?
The number of American companies that have made customer experience a top priority has grown to 53% since 2010 (and the total number of customer-centric businesses now exceeds 86%). A customer experience management strategy, by its very nature, aims to place power in the hands of the audience. Or, instead, to the recognition of the fact that power has always been there. And with social media, review sites, and new corporate review tools, the average consumer has far more choices than ever before. That is what explains the growing interest in customer experience. New technologies have enabled consumers to play an increasingly active role in their relationships with companies every day.
Current Challenges with Customer Experience Management
The coronavirus pandemic is a time of crisis and uncertainty. Clients expect self-service, instant and omnichannel communication. And not just that, customers need fast and seamless data connectivity with immediate resolutions to any network issues.
According to Forrester’s Customer Experience Index, the telecom industry has the third-highest potential to increase revenue by improving customer experience.
Inability to connect Customer Experience (CX) to Hard numbers
5G is rolling out around the world where telecoms are investing heavily on new infrastructure and networks. Under the heavy burden of investments, telecom executives are focusing on overseeing operating costs, driving up revenues, and augmenting returns on their investment.
Luckily, CX can help on all three, but companies must find out how.
Bind CX Data to Financial Outcomes
Like any other industry, telecom has its own unique DNA, with each company determining its business model. For example, where to invest, what and how to promote products, how many people to employ, the customer segment to pursue, and much more. Basically, the money story of the business.
On the other side is the customer story, measured by metrics such as customer satisfaction, advocacy, and complaint rates. The skill needed is to link the two dimensions by diving into the patterns between soft metrics such as the number of complaints to hard metrics like call centre costs.
Companies like Vodafone and Telstra were able to link some of the metrics to bring exciting stories of how improved CX assists in driving revenue and saving costs.
Swift and Personalised Customer Service
With limitations on human movement and no access to physical stores, most telecoms today receive millions of customers requests every day. While for the telecoms, employees working from home and limited connectivity with customers, delivering quick and empathetic assistance becomes an issue.
Best Practices to Improve Customer Experience Management for Telecommunications
Customer Experience Management is a vital point for the success of any company. Offering the best possible customer experience helps ensure loyalty and the recommendation of your brand to each customer’s network of contacts.
Learn more about six infallible Customer Experience Management practices for the telecommunications industry:
One of the best Customer Experience Management practices is to invest in the active and continuous participation of leaders.
It is no coincidence that most of the largest companies in the world are recognised for offering the best experiences to their consumers, and their CEOs see customer service as a differential. Among them, we can mention Amazon, Virgin and Starbucks.
Being the most customer-centric company is even Amazon’s mission – defined by CEO Jeff Bezos in 1995. The executive and all leadership teams demonstrate their commitment to this mission through their actions, decisions, processes and, of course, results. Treating its consumers as a priority, the company has one of the highest Net Promoter Score in the market.
The rule is clear: to deliver the best experience, train your leaders to take responsibility for themselves to communicate, demonstrate and represent the company’s values. It is essential that the customer experience is a priority for managers and also for their teams.
Use Artificial Intelligence To Your Advantage
Surely you already know the strategic importance of having as much information as possible about each consumer in the company. There are different ways to obtain the data. It goes beyond satisfaction surveys, feedback forms and questionnaires. Bet on the use of chatbots to learn more about your customers and thus offer them the best experience.
An American company that sells mattresses, for example, has created a free chatbot for people with insomnia. To use it, consumers only had to type “Insomnbot3000” on their cell phones and then type whatever came to mind, establishing a dialogue with the system.
Using the chatbot, the company collected valuable data, such as the phone numbers of people with insomnia and their top complaints. From there, the store could send offers of mattresses specially designed for this group.
Another example of how artificial intelligence can help in Customer Experience Management is Netflix’s predictive analytics to provide shows aligned with subscriber profiles. Additionally, Google uses AI to inform drivers about the best routes.
Invest In Multichannel Strategies
Social networks, chats, customer communities, e-mail and apps are some of the communication channels that can be used to collect information about your consumers.
Having the data on hand is essential, but it is not enough. You need to know the actual value of this information and use it in sales and marketing strategies that improve the consumer experience.
Creating a unified multichannel experience should be a top priority for businesses. Which makes it necessary to invest in tools and infrastructure to integrate departments and information systems, chart the consumer path and convey the right message at the right time.
Create An Emotional Connection
The most memorable experiences for consumers are those that create an emotional connection with the brand. Businesses looking to connect emotionally with their customers outperform their competitors in sales growth by up to 85%.
For example, shoe e-commerce has given an example of creating an emotional connection with your consumer. A buyer did not meet the deadline for returning a shoe due to a death in the family. The company’s customer service acted quickly – and out of protocol – arranging for a courier to pick up the product at no cost to the customer. In addition, they sent a bouquet and a note of condolence. The human touch made all the difference.
The first step in creating an emotional connection with the client is knowing how to listen. This shows that the company cares and is willing to satisfy the needs and problems of its consumers.
Monitor Service Indicators
Keeping an eye on the service indicators is essential to ensure your company offers the best customer experience. Metrics such as Average Time of Service (TMA) and Average Waiting Time (TME), and Satisfaction Surveys helps identify if the service is being performed as it should be. Furthermore, these figures show how satisfied the public is with the company’s services.
The NPS survey, for example, is an excellent tool to assess the level of consumer satisfaction with various areas of your company, such as service, product/service. Through it, it is possible to identify if the buyer would recommend your brand to someone. With this data in hand, managers can act to correct potential failures and keep satisfaction high.
Focus On Individual Needs
An efficient Customer Experience strategy begins with understanding what the individual needs of each customer are. And the best way to discover this information is by asking them.
There are several ways to achieve that, such as the satisfaction surveys mentioned above or adopting some unusual strategies. One idea is to promote meetings between executives and consumers to discuss points, such as service levels, product quality and promotions. The collected information can be used to evaluate the work of the different departments and improve the company’s strategic planning.
A Roadmap for Telecommunications Industry to Reach Their Goals
Telecommunications companies need to keep pace with the speed at which changes are developing in the sector, adapting to market trends, new technologies and the demands that are more demanding every day from customers. Paradoxically, many operating models in the telecommunications industry remain with a classical approach and refuse to evolve towards digitisation.
Digital transformation is the most effective way to face these challenges and represents exciting opportunities for companies in the sector.
Beyond incorporating technology, it is about reviewing and reinventing operational processes in all areas of the organisation to ensure efficient management of its resources.
Digital transformation in the telecommunications industry
Digital transformation can positively affect all business sectors and has disruptive potential for the telecommunications industry, allowing companies like yours to achieve levels of efficiency that could not be obtained with traditional management models.
The digital transformation opens essential opportunities for the operational and commercial management of telecommunications companies. Some of the advantages derived from the digitisation of processes in this telecommunications industry are the following:
Increase the productivity of your work teams. Both those who perform functions in-house and the one’s in the field. That can increase their productivity and improve their response capacity. By automating mechanical work in the case of employees who are always in the office, your teams will obtain information in real-time to have better guidelines to carry out their job.
Encourage innovation. This type of transformation encourages staff to learn constantly, finding ingenious solutions and proposing changes or improvements in processes to achieve higher efficiency rates.
The risk of information loss is reduced. One of the significant concerns of companies in the industry is information security. These companies handle large volumes of user data, which require constant protection, something possible thanks to digital security protocols.
Improve the effectiveness of sales teams. Similarly, thanks to the generated data, it is possible to detect new business opportunities and growing markets and draw strategies to capture them. This is one of the achievable objectives to achieve with the digital transformation from within organisations.
How Can Telecommunications Companies be Digitised?
First, telecom service providers will have to perform a holistic analysis of the entire organisation to identify those areas where digital transformation projects generate the highest return on investment (ROI).
From there, telecommunications companies will be able to design an execution strategy for digital transformation projects, managing their impact on the area in which they are executed and adjacent areas. In this sense, proper change management of digital transformation projects is essential to add value to the organisation and not the opposite effect. In the event of a successful implementation, the company will be rewarded with new sources of competitive advantage to succeed in the demanding market in which they operate.
Telecom providers that evolved during the changing customer needs throughout and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic can grow their customer base instead of simply maintaining the current ones. But retaining new customers over a more extended period will require commitment from the providers to deliver the best-in-class customer experience.