The telecommunications (Telco) industry plays a key role in keeping people and businesses connected. As technology evolves and customer expectations increase, Telco companies are simultaneously facing challenges that did not exist before and taking advantage of new opportunities for growth. Among the most significant possibilities that digital transformation offers organizations, many relate to customer service activities.
In this post, we will explore the changing landscape of customer care in the Telco industry and the prospects for development made possible by the widespread use of digital tools. We will delve into the many benefits of robust customer care supported by mature digitization: from increased satisfaction to customer loyalty, from improved operational efficiency to better market positioning, to the ability to adhere to the values that are most prevalent in today’s modern world. First, let’s take a look at how customer care in the Telco sector has evolved over the past few years.
The evolution of customer care in the Telco sector
In the fast-paced and ever-changing Telco industry, customer care is an important driver of growth and can be more effective than traditional strategies, those that seemed irreplaceable until recently (such as aggressive pricing policies or blanket promotional initiatives). Well designed, well implemented customer care in the Telco sector can give companies a competitive advantage while increasing customer satisfaction. As demand for connectivity and cutting-edge services continues to increase, providing customer care that lives up to ever-higher expectations has become more than just a necessity—it’s a strategic imperative.
Impact of changes in consumer behavior on customer experience
Consider the 2022 Emplifi report that found that 63% of consumers would abandon a brand because of a poor or otherwise subpar experience. Or the finding reported by Praxedo that 46% of customers had canceled their phone, Internet, TV, or cable contracts with their providers in the past year. These statistics indicate a profound change in consumer behavior—accelerated in recent years due to the pandemic—whereby companies must constantly adapt and innovate to meet customers’ evolving expectations. And while, at the same time, preventing dissatisfied customers from switching suppliers requires companies to design a more effective customer experience that can significantly impact churn rates. Customer satisfaction no longer boils down to the judgment of a product’s functionality after use, but derives from the perception of the customer’s overall interactions with the brand. This is why customer care in the Telco sector is a critical differentiator. Consumers have become more demanding and they expect a lot from the companies they do business with—consistent and personalized experiences, continuous service across multiple channels, and quick problem resolution—even from companies offering telecom products. While retaining existing customers costs less than attracting new ones, it is definitely more cost-effective for Telco companies to focus on building a strong relationship of loyalty and trust. Interestingly, although the Telco industry is the backbone of modern communications, telecommunications companies are not among the industries offering the best experiences to customers today. According to the State of Customer Churn in Telecom 2022 report, post-pandemic customer loyalty to telecom providers has declined by 22%, precisely because of poor customer’s experience.
Investing in customer care services and favoring digital solutions that enable multichannel use is an essential step for preventing customers from switching providers.
Customer care in the Telco sector: new modes of contact
In a relatively short span of time, technology has radically changed the Telco sector and reshaped the relationship between company and customer. The shift from traditional fixed-line to mobile services, the implementation of 5G networks, the development of platforms for data management and analysis, the experimentation with IoT (Internet of Things) systems, the evolution of artificial intelligence, and the migration to the cloud: these are just some of the transformations thanks to which customer care teams have acquired new, flexible and powerful ways of contact, and through which they have been able to establish a closer relationship with their audience. This closer relationship is rich in possibilities.
- Multichannel: if customers today expect to interact with telecom providers through multiple channels (phone calls, chat, social media, email, interactive content), offering an omnichannel approach ensures that they can choose where, when, and how they communicate with the company.
- Self-service: many customers prefer to solve problems on their own. Telecom companies can leverage self-service options, such as mobile apps and responsive mini-sites, to enable customers to address common issues, such as testing the use of a product feature or paying bills. This not only allows customers to experience greater autonomy, it also reduces the workload on customer care operators.
- Personalization: because they have access to such large amounts of customer data, telecommunications providers can personalize their interactions. This personalization can extend to targeted offers and tailored plans, and even to directly targeting customers with their messages—whether educational content, updates, or business proposals—by calling them by name, as in the case of interactive videos.
- Constant support: the latest versions of conversational AI, from chatbots to virtual assistants, can handle routine requests, provide 24/7 support, and allow human operators to focus on more complex, higher-value issues.
- Proactive problem resolution: predictive analytics can be used to anticipate and address problems before customers even realize they exist.
By integrating new technologies into their processes, Telco companies are able to offer their customers a new level of efficiency and personalization and a more streamlined and responsive customer experience. Digital modes of interaction aren’t just one option among many, but a necessary step that companies must take to meet the demands and expectations of contemporary consumers. Not only that, as these expectations are influenced by social and cultural factors, technological advances must support the shared value system and collective imagination of their customers, for example by aligning with the growing emphasis on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.
Why integrating ESG criteria into customer care processes is a priority
The bottom line is that consumers increasingly expect telecommunications companies to make a real commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Receiving efficient and responsive customer care is simply not enough. That’s why telecom providers are integrating ESG principles into their customer care strategies: from initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations—for example, by implementing fully paperless processes—to promoting green services to investing in socially responsible practices, such as supporting local communities and valuing diversity in the workplace. Alignment with ESG criteria in the Telco sector resonates with environmentally and socially conscious consumers, and it also contributes to making the entire industry more sustainable and ethical. Therefore, integrating projects that translate environmental, social, and governance principles into concrete actions into customer care activities has become a priority.
The opportunities of digital customer care in the Telco sector
By embracing digitization and leveraging it to enhance the essential aspects of communication and customer engagement, companies in the Telco industry can stand out from the competition. Digital customer care can offer Telco industry companies many opportunities. Let’s look at some of the main ones.
Streamlined communication models and directing consumers to digital touch points
In today’s intensely digitized and hyperconnected world , one of the cornerstones of effective customer service is the ability to build robust communication models. By creating accurate and engaging messages, telecommunications companies can direct consumers to new calls to action (CTAs) and digital touch points, such as mobile apps, customer portals, and payment links. This facilitates and speeds up the transition of business processes and enhances the digital transformation of the industry as a whole. This is a win-win situation. Customers find faster and more convenient ways to interact with telecom providers and ultimately enjoy a high-quality customer experience, while companies benefit from streamlined internal communication and more efficient processes. By leveraging digital touch points, telecom companies can reduce the volume of support calls and prevent questions and concerns arising from complex procedures and issues. Interactive content, such as videos and mini-sites, can support customers in eliminating any friction points or performing a variety of practical functions, such as payments, billing transactions, or upgrades, ensuring a faster, smoother, more intuitive resolution process. The result is that customer satisfaction increases while telecommunications companies benefit from the savings that come from lower operating costs of support activities.
Reduced environmental impact and cost savings
Digitizing customer service not only improves operational efficiency but also reduces the impact on the environment. By prioritizing digital communications and streamlining processes, telecommunications companies save on the costs associated with traditional customer interactions, such as printing and mailing. This transition to digital platforms inherently contributes to a reduced carbon footprint, turning these environmental improvements into tangible carbon credits, a significant step toward corporate social responsibility. Because they have access to vast amounts of data on customer preferences and needs, telecommunications companies can monetize the information they possess, leverage the knowledge gained to offer personalized services, create targeted marketing campaigns, and sell insights to other companies. Although investing in modern customer service solutions may require a large initial budget, the benefits are undeniable: automation can streamline many processes, and self-service options and chatbots can reduce the need for large numbers of human operators employed on repetitive and redundant tasks.
Personalized and interactive digital experiences
With the help of advanced digital tools, telco companies can design incredibly effective personalization strategies. To achieve full personalization of offers, service recommendations, and support for individual preferences, companies must first prioritize customer engagement by removing any friction points during the purchase journey and making it as easy as possible to receive updates, ask questions, and share feedback. This also means ensuring that customers can constantly monitor the performance of their solutions and services. Such proactive, not just reactive, communication from supplier to customer increases customer engagement because it is bidirectional. You can obtain timely feedback by listening to customers’ needs, for example, through surveys or requests for ratings. This feedback loop begins as early as the onboarding phase, during which companies enable new customers to use the service they have purchased.
Integrating interactive and personalized digital experiences into customer service not only simplifies processes, it also strengthens the connection between Telco companies and their target audience. Customers experience a higher level of satisfaction, and are more likely to remain loyal to the company. By adopting cutting-edge technologies, companies demonstrate a serious commitment to designing a customer’s journey that is both efficient and deeply engaging.
Telecommunications providers can no longer afford to be one-dimensional. If they hope to retain customers, Telco companies must focus on them, meeting them wherever they are, at the appropriate time.
Effective customer service is a key differentiator: it can improve brand reputation, attract new users, and reassure existing ones, and it can reduce costs and drive growth. It can significantly increase the quality of the relationship between the company and consumers by encouraging constant innovation with the goal of meeting evolving customer needs and anticipating changing market scenarios.