The telecommunications and media industry is one of the sectors that, by the very nature of its core business, has most readily embraced new technologies and has shown the greatest capacity to innovate from the very beginning. We can also say that the telecommunications industry has always led the digital transformation process, providing other industries with the infrastructure and standards needed to digitize their processes. Similar to other areas, telecom companies also need to curb customer churn, and for this reason, they are constantly looking for new ideas to differentiate themselves. The most advanced telecom companies are those that have developed the ability to engage users right from onboarding, an especially strategic phase for improving how customers perceive the overall purchase journey.

With the growing demand for digital channels and fluid experiences, telecom service providers must innovate customer experience design, adapting and optimizing their offerings based on the characteristics of both existing and potential customers.

By leveraging digital solutions and refining their customer care services, telecom companies can increase the efficiency of onboarding, dramatically lowering operational costs and reducing churn rates. In this post, after we examine what onboarding means for telecommunications companies, we will explore the most effective strategies and tools to achieve these goals.

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What does the onboarding process consist of for Telco industry companies? 

In the Telco industry, the onboarding process refers to the procedures and activities by which companies enable new customers to use the service they have purchased.

It’s important to keep in mind that onboarding differs from lead generation because it begins after the contract signing has taken place, after the terms and conditions for use have been defined and formally signed, including service details, pricing, billing cycles, termination clauses, and any other relevant information.

The main steps of the onboarding process

The onboarding process can also vary greatly among telecommunications companies and may be subject to additional steps or variations depending on the specific services, products, or customization options available. Here, we will list the most common steps taken for successful onboarding:

  • Account configuration. After the contract is signed, the telecommunications company proceeds with customer authentication. This involves creating a unique account within its systems and defining billing and payment methods.
  • Provisioning and service activation. The Telco company activates the services requested by the customer: configuration of telephone lines, internet connection, activation of data traffic plans, and any additional services. Provisioning activation times vary depending on the complexity of the services and the availability of the network infrastructure.
  • Device installation and configuration. If the customer requires specific devices or equipment, such as telephones, modems, routers, or other telecommunications hardware, the telecommunications company offers assistance in configuring them. It provides instructions for remote activation or schedules the dispatch of technicians for installation and troubleshooting.
  • Training and support. Telco companies can offer training sessions and useful information to familiarize customers with available services, features, and self-service tools. It can also arrange for ongoing technical support and assistance to expedite troubleshooting, service requests, or account management.
  • Billing and payment configuration. According to the terms outlined in the contract, the telecommunications company arranges billing cycles, payment methods, and billing processes. It should ensure that the customer receives accurate bills by focusing on digital payment options and procedures and advanced billing processes.
  • Ongoing account management. Once the customer has been entered into the system, the telecommunications company should strive to maintain regular and productive communications: periodic reviews, timely responses to requests for clarification and concerns, service updates or changes when necessary, suggestions for using the solutions to their fullest potential.
  • Integration of functionality into a single ecosystem. At this point, the onboarding process has the opportunity to advance further, toward achieving an additional level of customer engagement that can be achieved through integration with digital customer care processes and applications–legacy and newly acquired–that enable optimized customer relationship management, primarily CRM.

The onboarding process is therefore designed to help new customers become familiar with the company, its culture, policies, and the functionality of the products and services they purchase. A smooth and simple onboarding process is a decisive moment in strengthening the relationship with users. If it is confusing or frustrating, customers, on the other hand, may decide to go to another provider.

So far we have delved into the steps for effective onboarding in the telco sector. Now we will identify three actions that companies can take to make onboarding an increasingly strategic point of contact within the customer relationship.

Prioritizing digital transformation

It may seem obvious by now, but it is a shift that is always good to reiterate: to improve the customer experience and reduce operating costs, Telco companies should prioritize digital transformation. This involves, first and foremost, a shift from traditional physical channels to digital platforms, a shift that gains convenience, extends accessibility, and paves the way for increasingly personalized experiences. It is the so-called switch off: interactions no longer take place on analog channels, counters, or branches, but through virtual touch points. By investing in intuitive websites, mobile apps, and self-service portals, users can easily manage their accounts, access information, and resolve recurring concerns without the need to contact agents and customer service agents. This transition not only reduces the operational costs associated with managing physical infrastructure, but also gives customers more control over their telecom services.

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Streamline and enhance onboarding operations

The first weeks of a customer’s journey are crucial to building a positive relationship. By optimizing onboarding processes, telecom service providers can leave a lasting impression and minimize the churn rate. Here are some key steps to streamline and enhance onboarding:

  • Simplify registration by creating a simple and intuitive registration and authentication process that minimizes paperwork and eliminates unnecessary or repetitive steps. Even better:  implement a paperless experience to cover all registration activities in a seamless and centralized manner, from electronic signatures to automated digital invoice submission for validation by the competent authority, to the completion of compliance-related processes.
  • Communicate effectively, providing clear and transparent information about rate plans, terms, and conditions of service, to avoid confusion and unpleasant surprises for new customers. Transparent information builds trust, just as using an omnichannel approach allows messages to arrive at the right time and where they can actually be received.
  • Offer self-activation options so that customers can activate their services themselves via online platforms or interactive mini-sites. In this way, companies can provide instant remote access without the need for in-person technical intervention, and by increasing customer empowerment, this improves how customers perceive the entire onboarding process.

Integrating digital customer care processes into onboarding

In addition to reducing operational costs, as we mentioned, digital customer care processes can significantly improve the overall experience for customers. There are several actions, supported by as many digital solutions, that enable the seamless integration of customer care processes into the onboarding experience: 

  • Real-time chats and chatbots, implemented directly on websites and mobile apps, enable timely assistance. Artificial intelligence-based chatbots can handle basic queries, while complex issues can be forwarded to human operators, reducing response times and optimizing customer service resources. This is known as “call deflection” (the technique used to redirect a portion of customer service calls to digital support channels), which lightens the workload for call center employees and reduces the risk of human error.
  • The information acquired through the digital channels manned by the company and covering customer behavior and preferences makes it possible to develop a comprehensive self-service knowledge base, covering frequently asked questions and offering tried-and-tested solutions for problem solving. In this sense, self-service options are a formidable tool to support customer care teams and valuable from the early stages of onboarding.
  • It is also possible to use social media as customer service channels. By setting themselves up to listen to the conversations taking place on social media, telecommunications companies gain a comprehensive and less mediated view of their target audience and are able to respond promptly to questions, complaints, and feedback, and can take a proactive approach by directly addressing customer concerns.
  • A highly effective way to integrate customer care processes into telco onboarding is to have a centralized proactive communication system: by using a platform to send personalized notifications, updates, and offers to customers, it’s easier to create and distribute content by which to interest and inform individual customers.

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CCM and interactive content in the Telco onboarding process

The last point in the list above points to a key dimension of contemporary onboarding processes: that of communication. Telecommunications companies need effective customer communication management to successfully engage and retain customers. The inclusion of a CCM in the onboarding process and the use of personalized and interactive content both have a strategic importance that is increasingly being recognized: they help to improve the experience in the first weeks of the relationship with users, and they build long-term loyalty.

Customer Communication Management Features

A strategy for managing customer communication can now be fully realized with Customer Communication Management (CCM), a platform that enables a complete set of features: from email to SMS, from mobile push modes to web notifications. A CCM can prove crucial in identifying quality contacts through lead qualification processes, dynamically segmenting customers based on their interests and building automated workflows that are triggered based on certain actions. This is a true enhancement applicable to both transactional use cases, such as smart invoices, and constantly expanding processes like onboarding.

During the onboarding process, moreover, the CCM not only provides information but also presents opportunities for cross-selling and upselling. By leveraging customer data and preferences, telecommunications companies can target personalized offers and recommendations.

The potential of video marketing to improve onboarding in the telco industry

Through interactive tools, such as virtual demos, video explainers, and guided tutorials, telecom companies can provide practical guidance to new customers, ensuring a smooth transition to full use of their services. These interactive experiences allow users to explore features, solve common problems, and customize their settings, all in an intuitive and engaging environment. By enabling customers to actively participate in their onboarding journey, telecom companies create a process that reduces the learning curve and increases customer satisfaction. The result is a seamless onboarding experience that fosters a stronger connection between customers and businesses.

In this post, we wanted to explain why successful onboarding in the telco industry today relies heavily on the strategic management of customer communications. By leveraging new technologies and integrating digital customer care processes, telcos can improve the customer experience, build trust, simplify interactions, seize upsell opportunities, and build long-term customer loyalty.