In today’s competitive telecommunications industry, customer experience (CX) has become a crucial factor in retaining customers and driving business growth. With an increasing number of options for consumers, telcos must prioritize CX to stay ahead of their competitors.
Delivering top-notch CX increases customer loyalty and enhances brand reputation, which can boost revenue. And there are many things that telcos can learn from companies in other sectors and vice versa.
Lumoa’s CEO and co-founder, Carlos del Corral, held a comprehensive webinar about the topic with Merete Medle, a highly esteemed CX practitioner with rich experience working for two of the biggest telcos in the Nordics.
Here are the key takeaways from the webinar.
As much as telcos in the Nordics are already quite forward-leaning, they still appear similar in the eyes of existing and potential customers. This sameness stems from their offers, offerings, prices, and competitiveness—they are too similar.
And despite their prevalence and necessity, telco offerings are generally regarded as low-interest products.
To stand out and be different, telcos must think outside the box and emphasize their brand value in day-to-day operations and CX. This can be achieved by living up to customer promises and delivering a unique brand experience.
To this end, telcos must be bolder in their approach. This is easier said than done, especially for the bigger companies with well-established protocols, but change is imperative for future success.
Telcos, like many companies across industries, face the common problem of having multiple channels for collecting customer feedback. Often, teams are judged based on feedback that is not relevant to their area of responsibility, which creates internal challenges and affects customer satisfaction.
For instance, when customers provide feedback on a telco’s website, only a portion is related to the website itself. The rest is likely about pricing, customer support, or connection problems. Internal teams struggle to deliver relevant feedback to the right groups.
To address this problem, telcos should create systems to route customer feedback to the appropriate department. The system must be specific about the feedback being sought and the tools used to collect them.
Additionally, companies should measure employees’ performance and satisfaction based on relevant feedback and not tie bonus targets to irrelevant KPIs.
Telcos should also go the extra mile in seeking qualitative feedback. One way to do this is by inviting select customers to group discussions about certain services and features.
It’s important to broaden the focus beyond the performance of specific teams or departments. Instead, encourage the whole company to take ownership of customer experience. Customer satisfaction is the responsibility of the entire company, not just one team.
The pace at which telcos operate is somewhat unprecedented for other industries. They must respond quickly to new products and services launched by their competitors. But in their haste, telcos shouldn’t forget the many technical moving parts that should be coordinated.
There is value in slowing down and evaluating before launching new products. This prevents mistakes and keeps competitors from stealing market share.
While telcos spend a lot of money on gaining customer insights, they often just end up in a report, and little action is taken. Telcos need to be more critical about how insights are gained and used productively.
Rather than being high-level, or as the speaker calls it, “rainbows and unicorns,” with regard to insight abstractions, telcos need to be more granular. Proper measurements and analysis must be applied. For instance, telcos should analyze the number of customer responses to determine if the context pertains to a passing trend or a long-term concern that must be addressed.
It is equally vital for telcos to operationalize insights and measure CX performance to evaluate their success. Companies should set KPIs upfront to gain the best insights from CX initiatives. Leveraging analytics is crucial for long-term success.
This focus on insights should include telco employees, as well. Soliciting feedback on working conditions and implementing positive changes will create a better, more productive workforce.
By understanding their target audience and providing customers with marketing content they care about, telcos can better engage them and increase their chances of opt-ins. Content should be short, simple, and interesting.
All companies must provide customers with value in return for their opt-ins. Value does not necessarily mean discounts but other perks, like inviting them to a panel or sending them newsletters that provide important details about their subscription.
Personalization is an integral part of this equation. For instance, telcos can send out wishes to customers on birthdays and special occasions. That said, customers should consent to be contacted in such cases.
Despite an action-driven approach toward their satisfaction, some customers still have a negative image of telcos. This negative perception is often due to what they perceive as predatory lock-in periods and inadequate customer support and troubleshooting assistance.
While the ideal solution would be to remove lock-in conditions altogether, a more practical approach would be to make it easier for customers to opt out.
Having a 12-month binding period makes business and turnover more predictable for telcos, but eliminating it would be a positive step toward improving customer experience. This can be offset by making service delivery more pleasant so customers won’t want to leave. This includes utilizing available customer data to provide the best possible solutions.
Telcos must ensure they remain happy and don’t jump ship as soon as the binding period ends. This could even mean releasing customers from the binding period if it is in their best interests.
Another example is axing fees if customers downgrade their plans.
These customer-centric endeavors and simple changes will retain more customers and build brand loyalty. Ultimately, it comes down to treating customers well and using common sense to better cater to their specific needs.
Telcos must maintain agility and efficiency in CX to better compete against new challengers. Most new players are not afraid to be bold in their messaging. Bigger, more established companies can get bogged down by processes, committees, and management teams overly concerned about potential risks.
Larger telcos are very competitive because they have built trust among a solid customer base. But if their established processes don’t work, it takes more time to shift gears to keep up with the competition.
In contrast, smaller companies are very flexible—their robust and collaborative culture can adjust quickly to emerging customer trends.
The work environment makes a tremendous difference here. Telcos must create a culture that values innovation and collaboration.
For telcos to thrive, CX is key. As customers demand more personalized experiences, it’s essential for telecom companies to stand out and set themselves apart with their brand value by giving customers what they want in day-to-day operations and customer interactions.
Telecom companies can make sure their customers keep coming back to them by doing a few simple things. Firstly, they need to take feedback and data seriously in order to ensure that employees are delivering stellar service at all times.
Secondly, listening attentively and taking action on customer requests will help the company give people exactly what they want – be it letting subscribers cancel services easily or providing new solutions for problems encountered. With this approach, unhappy customers should find plenty of reasons to smile again!