The customer experience in the telco sector is changing because the context has changed. We need to put the customer at the center, with their needs and requirements, and we also need to push digital innovation, so that offers are broad, interactions are satisfying, and choices are as “human-centric” as possible.
As a result of recent developments, the customer experience in the telco sector will continue to change and evolve. The pandemic, for one, has accelerated a number of transformations that were already gradually taking hold. At the same time, digitalization has provided innovative tools that have opened up new horizons with respect to the services that can be offered to customers and how they can grow their business.
After all, these are the two tracks on which the customer experience in telecommunications will evolve: the human track and the technology track, two faces of the same sector that, now more than ever, is called upon to change and adapt rapidly to new market contexts.
The importance of the customer experience in telco
By now, the customer experience is a fundamental aspect for every business. It’s especially critical for companies in the world of telecommunications, since this sector is one that suffers most from customer volatility and, consequently, has a very high level of competition (source: Accenture).
All consumers, in fact, are accustomed to changing operators quickly, not only to obtain a better offer, but also because technological evolution means that services will be made obsolete faster, and of lower value on the market.
As a result, companies must constantly change their business models, but above all, they must invest in the customer experience, because only a high quality customer experience guarantees a higher level of customer loyalty.
After all, only when a customer is fully satisfied with the service he has received does he become loyal to the company that provided it – and total satisfaction depends on having a great customer experience.
Among other things, providing an effective customer experience also ensures significant economic and strategic advantages.
First of all, a customer experience that is capable of building customer loyalty ensures every company (including telecommunications companies) a higher level of ROI, given that the costs of acquiring new customers are always much higher than those of maintaining current ones (source: Qualtrics).
Add to this the fact that a loyal customer naturally tends to spend much more on products and services than new customers.
In addition, building customer loyalty through the customer experience also means securing a big return in terms of communication: loyal customers are more likely to be a sort of brand ambassador who is motivated to share their positive customer experience with others in a way that is authentic and convincing.
As we all know, a positive recommendation conveyed by word of mouth is often more effective than most official communication campaigns!
Customer experience in the telco industry changes the starting point
In light of the above, it’s not surprising that many telcos are investing time and resources in projects and initiatives to improve the customer experience.
From this point of view, an example is TIM, which has implemented “TIM around the Customer.” This project is based on several initiatives that pivot on transparency, simplicity, and respect towards the customer.
In fact, TIM has developed a vast and precise listening system that is able to detect the sentiment of customers in terms of their customer experience in pivotal moments, such as when they are browsing the web, purchasing a product or service, contacting customer care, reporting an issue, or interacting with a post on social networks.
All this allows the company to collect as much information as possible about the quality of service as perceived by the customer and to modify its services and customer experience according to what has been detected.
In this way, every choice related to the customer experience always starts from the customer (and what we know about him). In this way, the customer becomes the starting point and the center of the strategy based on customer satisfaction; as such, he must be listened to, monitored, and analyzed constantly.
This example also shows how every telco can no longer disregard Big Data in any way, especially data that provides “human” information about customers. Big Data has become a necessary resource for not only getting to know your audience, but also to be able to predict consumer demands and their expectations (source: Tasil), so as to satisfy them even before they manifest them in the market.
In a sense, then, the customer experience in the telco sector is changing because it aims to anticipate the customer rather than chase him.
For telcos, the customer experience doesn’t exist without personalization
Improving how you listen to customers is just one aspect of a broader trend that all players in the telco sector must face when it comes to customer experience: the personalization of the experience of buying and using services.
In fact, it’s difficult to create a truly effective customer experience that is not also personalized.
Personalization is a crucial lever for telecommunications companies, especially when it comes to being competitive among OTT service providers, which, since they don’t have facilities or proprietary networks, can provide services on much more aggressive terms.
In this sense, personalization, together with contract flexibility and maximum security in data management, must become a key component of any operators’ offer, since their competitiveness cannot be based solely on prices. Reducing prices beyond a certain level can jeopardize the sustainability of the business.
As mentioned above, in order to face this challenge and guarantee a truly personalized customer experience, telcos must make the most of Big Data and use it to build an experience around the precise characteristics of the customer.
Among other things, thanks to the pandemic and the growing use of digitization, consumers have raised their expectations of brands, especially those concerning the customer experience, which must become something that is increasingly tailored and specific for each individual customer.
On the one hand, this means building an omnichannel customer journey where each touch point is activated differently according to the characteristics of the consumer, his needs and the “history” of interactions between him and the company. It also means completely redefining the interactions between them.
The customer experience in the telco sector also passes through customer service
A recent whitepaper by Genesis on customer experience in the telco sector raises a critical point: customer service has an important role to play in building a quality customer experience.
Customers often abandon a supplier because it is unable to solve a problem to their satisfaction or provide a solution in a timely and useful manner.
Hence the need to ensure customer service that lives up to expectations. To ensure this, companies must invest in training the customer care team so that agents are highly familiar with the products and services available and so that they can provide an immediate, precise, and circumstantial response to each customer request.
But even this is not enough.
To make a real quantum leap in customer care, we need to move away from the classic idea of vertical organization and ensure that every team that comes into contact with the customer at any stage of the customer journey (care, marketing, sales) is constantly aligned.
Only by sharing the most relevant information can all phases of the customer experience be perceived as homogeneous and consistent, and unnecessary overlap, repetition, and communication disconnections can be avoided.
In this sense, synergy between the different areas is essential because each of them contributes equally to increasing customer satisfaction and facilitates the management of any critical issues (and maybe even prevent them.
One service is no longer enough
The digital transformation of recent years has enabled the development of a number of technologies that have rapidly spread across the market and many people want to take advantage of them as part of a supply contract.
It goes without saying that many of these technologies are linked to digital services and, as a result, telcos are constantly called upon to renew themselves, to rethink their business, and to enrich their offerings.
From this point of view, 5G is undoubtedly one of the key technologies to be developed to meet consumers’ need for a fast network and a stable, quality connection.
That’s why it’s essential that telecommunications companies invest decisively in innovation, even transforming their organization and extending their structures.
In another post, we talked about the importance of edge computing for facilitating this development and for making it both economically and energetically sustainable.
Reducing response latency in digital services, ensuring the best connection everywhere, eliminating unnecessary data and information transfers, avoiding the risk of a general block of services in case of a malfunction of the central data center: these are just some of the significant benefits that can be obtained with the implementation of an edge computing structure.
Together, these benefits contribute to increasing the perceived quality of service from the customer and, consequently, the customer experience. Customers in this industry are characterized by a “hunger for innovation” (Source: Oracle). All players must take this into account.
“Diversification” is the key theme here: the demand for wireless communications is on the rise, as is the demand for Over-The-Top applications and broadband offerings that are capable of supporting IoT solutions and even VoIP services.
The great challenge is to therefore expand the range of proposals, but also to ensure the same quality in every single product.
The quality of the customer experience, in fact, is also decided by the qualitative average between all these services offered: the weakness of just one weakens the perceived quality of the entire brand in turn.
Integrating the customer experience with Artificial Intelligence
Another crucial challenge for all telco companies is to be able to effectively develop Artificial Intelligence systems and organically integrate them into the customer experience.
After all, only through tools that are based on “cognitive computing” is it possible to improve the customer experience, making it more effective, thanks to the power and precision of data analysis that goes beyond human capabilities.
In this sense, machine learning – a subset of Artificial Intelligence that allows you to create systems that learn or improve based on the data they use – is very useful for enhancing “automated” relationships such as those with intelligent chatbots(source: Oracle), which are able to reproduce a human conversation and cross-reference data and past communications to predict requests and make interventions more precise and functional to needs.
Machine learning is also useful for improving other touch points and for making the whole experience more fluid, intuitive, and compatible with new customer habits. For example, think of the world of mobile applications, where access must be possible simply through facial recognition and many functions must be able to be customized according to users’ most frequent actions.
The telco customer experience is a platform
Finally, when we talk about Artificial Intelligence applied to the customer experience, we can’t help but talk about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, which are an indispensable tool for every telco provider, given the advantages they provide.
A CRM platform makes it possible to track and analyze all relevant interactions with customers, providing the basis for making future predictions on market trends, in order to strategically plan investments and possible business developments.
In addition, CRM also contributes to making the sales process more efficient, encouraging lead generation from email lists and users who visit the website or interact with the brand’s pages, and improving communication between teams, so that sales can immediately follow-up or take advantage of any upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
This type of activity also improves the customer experience in a broad sense, as it makes it more efficient on the operational level and shifts the focus of choices to the human aspect, which becomes decisive in outlining a market strategy.