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Strategies to Improve Customer Experience (CX) in the Telecoms Industry

Exceptional customer service delivery ensures customer loyalty and retention, however, Telcos have set the bar very low for CX. Telcos have not developed customer centricity as part of their culture and maintain a product-centric approach. Customers’ behaviour, expectations, and preferences are overlooked, leading to a poor customer experience that lacks the personalisation and ease that customers have come to expect. The telecom industry is having to rethink its CX strategy as digitalisation and increasing competition within the industry set new standards for customer experience.

​​The telecom industry has the third most potential for increasing revenue by employing customer-centric solutions, according to a report by Forrester (Schmidt-Subramanian, 2017). We discuss the four strategies integral to ensuring CX success:

1. Develop a customer-centric approach

  • The customer should be at the heart of an organisation. The approach to improving CX should be a company-wide mandate, rather than it only being the focal point of a single team (Vartanian, 2020). 
  • Whereas Telcos employ a product-centric approach, there is a need for a transition to a customer-centric approach. 
  • Telcos traditionally approach the market with an ‘inside-out” state of mind. Products are launched based on a customer view that looks at them only through the “narrow lens of products” (McShane, 2011). This point of view places focuses on the product’s marketability without factoring in customer expectations, behaviour, and experiences.
  • The outside-in mindset, however, “places the customer at the center of the organisation and aims to deliver competitive value propositions” (McShane, 2011). According to a report “Customer Centricity in the Telecommunications Industry” by Pitney Bowes an “outside-in orientation, strategy, operating model and execution maximizes customer lifetime value and ultimately creates differentiation between you and your competitors” (McShane, 2011).

2. Offer an omnichannel experience

Customers utilise multiple channels in order to communicate with a brand. Telcos should aim to provide a consistent and seamless experience across all channels to ensure a good customer experience throughout their life cycle (Vartanian, 2020). Should customers decide to switch their channel of communication, the query process should continue where it left off, so it is important to break down information siloes to ensure a seamless interaction across platforms. Should a customer want to communicate across the web, voice, and chat, they should be able to do so easily without having to start over with their query.

3. Map your customer’s journey

Customer journey mapping is a type of analysis that allows a company to understand a customer’s entire service experience by highlighting customer pain points and key moments in the customers’ experience (Sone, n.d.). These insights can then be connected to business operations and service delivery to provide actionable data to improve the customer experience. For example, Telcos can map and monitor where they failed a customer and use this information to prevent this occurrence from happening again (Sone, n.d.). Customer journey mapping allows Telcos to fully understand their clients and therefore enables them to tailor communications and offerings to their client’s individual needs and preferences.

4. Employ AI solutions

Artificial Intelligence solutions provide efficient customer service that surpasses human capabilities (Ndungu, 2021). The massive volumes of data collected by Telcos of their clients can be leveraged into actionable insights through AI. As an example, AI has the ability to provide personalised customer experiences by analysing previous interactions with the client (Popp et al., 2019). Since Telcos are often overwhelmed with massive numbers of support requests, manual intervention often results in a delay in query resolution. AI solutions, such as virtual assistants, can effectively and efficiently manage such queries through one-on-one conversations with the client.  AI also allows operators to provide self-service capabilities to educate customers on how to install and operate devices on their own, further relieving the load on customer support staff (Churchill, 2018).

In order to remain competitive in today’s marketplace, Telcos need to deliver exceptional customer service across multiple channels and customer touchpoints by leveraging new technologies and adapting to evolving customer expectations. The traditional strategy currently employed by most Telcos of placing their focus on their products and services rather than the consumer, will have to change in order to stand out above the competition and meet client expectations (McShane, 2011).

References

Churchill, L., 2018. AI in Telecommunications: 4 Applications. [online] TechSee. Available at: <https://techsee.me/blog/artificial-intelligence-in-telecommunications-industry/>

McShane, K., 2011. Customer Centricity in the Telecommunications Industry. [ebook] United States: Pitney Bowes Software, pp.5-9. Available at: <https://www.pb.com/docs/US/pdf/SIS/ccmsoftware/wp_custcentrictelecom.pdf>

Ndungu, E., 2021. CX in Telecoms: 5 Strategies to Increase ARPU and Reduce Churn. [online] Zoovu. Available at: <https://zoovu.com/blog/cx-telcos-arpu-churn-strategy/> 

Popp, W., Rathi, V., Kukulies, D. and Oberholzer, N., 2019. UNLOCKING DIGITAL IN SOUTH AFRICA’S VALUE TELECOMS SECTOR. [ebook] Accenture Strategy, p.9. Available at: <https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/PDF-116/Accenture-Unlocking-Digital-Value-South-Africa-Telecoms-Sector.pdf> 

Schmidt-Subramanian, M., 2017. Drive Revenue With Great Customer Experience. [online] Forrester. Available at: <https://www.forrester.com/report/Drive-Revenue-With-Great-Customer-Experience-2017/RES125807>

Sone, A., n.d. Customer Experience: Challenges and Solutions for the Telecommunications Industry. [ebook] Canada: Quadient, pp.6-7. Available at: <https://resources.quadient.com/m/61306a37e02770e6/original/white-paper-cx-challenges-and-solutions-for-telecommunications-industry-rebrand.pdf> 

Vartanian, P., 2020. 5 Strategies to Improve Customer Experience in Telecoms. [online] Pinngle. Available at: <https://pinngle.me/blog/5-strategies-to-improve-customer-experience-in-telecoms/>

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