Consider for a moment how people tend to talk about their telecommunications service providers. It’s pretty common to hear people complain about some aspect of the services they receive.
Grievances include inconvenient internet outages, high plan prices, frustrating customer service interactions, billing mistakes, lack of choice when it comes to providers and cumbersome set-up experiences when moving, to name just a few.
Whereas reliable service and routine interactions may go unnoticed — chalked up to “business as usual” — any problems that arise inevitably stick out like a sore thumb for customers who expect near-perfection.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) even revamped their complaints platform in 2015, in an effort to capture customer issues with telcos and “raise the bar for companies.”
It’s clear telecommunications companies face an immense challenge in the arena of retaining customers, fostering loyalty and improving satisfaction.
It often seems like telcos can do 99 things right, but what sticks out to the customer more prominently is the one thing that goes wrong.
It’s important for these companies to understand how customer demand is changing in the telecoms industry so they can meet, and exceed, these shifting expectations.
The Rise of Responsive, Personalized Customer Service
First and foremost, customers want to feel like more than just a face in the crowd. They expect relevant messaging from telcos, as well as customer service interactions that feel tailor-made.
Customers also expect responsive service — 24- to 48-hour turnaround on customer inquiries is too long for many.
The telecoms industry has plenty of room for improvement in this department. As Independent reports, nearly half of British consumers say they’ve had a negative experience with their mobile phone provider;
One in 10 survey respondents actually ended up switching companies following a bad experience. In other words, customer service can make or break loyalty.
Another notable finding is 87 per cent of customers get upset when telecoms treat them in a non-personalized fashion.
This speaks to the need for companies to deeply understand each customer and find opportunities to tailor communications to exactly where that person currently resides within the funnel.
Implementing chatbots to handle first-wave inquiries 24/7 — and make intelligent recommendations using artificial intelligence —is the new norm, although it’s still important for team members to follow up on certain interactions to assure customers there’s a team of humans looking out for their best interests as well.
Customers Want More from Billing
The last thing a customer wants is a long, confusing bill. This heightens their frustrations and triggers more customer service inquiries.
As Telecoms Tech News notes, customers increasingly want bills and usage information in a way that’s both personalized and appealing visually.
The goal? To avoid confusion, while empowering customers to understand their services so they can make informed choices and feel confident about their plans.
What might this look like in action? British Telecom (BT) is one company proactively using business intelligence for telecommunications from ThoughtSpot to give customers the ability to analyze usage and spending data directly inside the customer portal.
BT’s B2B customers can use search-driven analytics to ask questions and analyze data by product, service, location, store number and more.
Rather than receiving static bills, they can drill down into interactive visualizations that help them determine which service plans will give them the best blend of price and performance.
Introducing the portal boosted BT’s net promoter score — a major measure of customer loyalty — by nearly 45 per cent.
Customers want personalized and hassle-free customer service experiences through a variety of channels — as well as the ability to understand their bills and play an active role in understanding their options.