By Anandan Jayaraman (AJ), Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Connectiva Systems.
As Walt Disney once put it; “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
In a competitive telecom market with an excess of opportunities available to customers in terms of service, content and network providers, what Disney suggests seems like an insurmountable challenge.
Further, there is a denial of reality - according to recent research, while 80 percent of operators claim to deliver a good customer experience; only 8 percent of customers believe that to be the case.
Is it a pipe dream for telecom providers to be able to build sticky relationships that can stand the test of time and competition?
The solution to this dilemma may lie in an old North American proverb: “To understand a man you must walk a mile in his moccasins”. Currently operators have systems, processes and automation all monitoring internal operations but almost none are capturing the holistic customer experience.
Customer loyalty is a cumulative function of positive and negative customer experiences over the subscriber life cycle. Providers should focus on measuring the end-to-end customer experience that can help gain valuable insights on building sustainable and profitable relationships.
Below are some key steps in how to measure, monitor and manage the customer experience.
1. Know Your Customer
Capturing a customer’s interactions across all devices, channels and services is the foundation for delivering a superior experience.
Once billions of data points have been collected across varied touch points, providers need to use intelligent analytic capabilities to correlate patterns across systems and construct a unified view.
For example, one of the North American providers observed that customers who have browsed through downgrade options on the web and also called the contact centre to dispute charges within the same month are 50% more likely to churn in the next 60 days.
2. Assure that what is Promised is Delivered
Satisfaction is relative to expectations and any assurance process starts with collating and comparing the details of what was expected vs. what was delivered for every service. For example, a subscriber may have experienced dropped calls, aborted downloads, crashing mobile portals and slow internet connections.
Usually, a miniscule fraction of this gets reported or captured. Understanding implicit negative experiences across network, devices and interaction channels and correlating it to customer feedback and behaviour is a critical component in delivering a better experience.
3. Show a Human Face
Research indicates that customers view their service providers as large and mean corporations who are out to make money but may not necessarily look out for their subscribers. In such an environment, it is rather critical that the provider also focuses on the softer aspects of the customer relationship through targeted messages, promotions and coupons.
For example, one European provider sent a “sorry” message bundled with a 10% discount on the next bill to all IPTV customers who suffered an outage during the last few minutes of a high profile and tense soccer match. Notwithstanding that poor service experience, the provider experienced a significant uptick in their customer satisfaction scores.
4. Personalise the Content
Providers can leverage advanced analytics to personalise the content and services delivered to them on their edge devices. For example, one of the large Middle Eastern operators is leveraging opt-in subscriber data to orchestrate and deliver specific offers and coupons that are tailored to their needs.
Such strategies can help the provider deliver a very personalised and unique customer experience and eventually become a core part of the customer’s lifestyle.
This capability to quickly draw actionable customer insights from reams of subscriber data and translate it to targeted marketing offers can help telecom companies become a part of the marketing / advertising value chain.
By providing win-win incentives for the subscriber as well as the enterprises (advertisers, retailers etc.) who want to reach consumers effectively, the telecom creates value for the entire ecosystem.
Companies retain happy customers and happy customers spend more. It’s no secret that customers are happier if their experiences exceed their expectations. Telecom providers need to be pro-active in ensuring that they not only deliver their services as promised but also provide unique and tailored customer experiences that would want their customers coming back for more, again and again.
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