Elevating the Customer Experience – Focusing on a Sustainable Future
Michael Smollan, Chief Growth and Innovation Officer, Smollan (https://Smollan.com) looks at how the customer experience has changed in the telecom industry and what brands can do to offer a differentiated experience.
Back before the ‘great staggering’ that affected everything in all ways, there was already a shift within the telecom industry as lines began to blur between previously separate consumer channels – creating new synergies for brands and retailers to optimize the customer experience. However, things were set to change at a pace that no one could have predicted as the pandemic accelerated transformation. Comparatively, pre-pandemic shares of employees working from home was only 4% – fast forward to April 2020 with full blown lockdown, that share increased to around 30% [www.Applause.com]
Having to work from home turned the tables as the all-day demand meant that telco’s performance would now be in the spotlight, none more so than the customer experience (CX) from the level of service to how well products fitted into their lives. Amidst these changing expectations and behaviours, the goal posts had to be re-positioned to determine what brands and retailers needed to do differently in 2022 and beyond, to meaningfully connect with customers.
Doxee, specialists in innovating relationships with customers, suggest that there are two tracks which will evolve around the customer experience in telecommunications – the human track and the technology track. Putting the customer at the centre with their specific needs and requirements, and also pushing digital innovation so that offers are broad; interactions are satisfying, and choices are as “human-centric” as possible.
The Telco Trends 2022 (https://bit.ly/3bDB3cA) suggests that getting to what matters will win the hearts of consumers in the Telco space as they don’t just consider each of their interactions with a business when deciding who to select – they also factor in how a brand portrays itself, what it stands for, and how serious the brand is about cyber-security. With the evolution of 5G, telcos must consider new services and revenue streams, along with authentically partnering the customer experience – termed ‘the great brand equalizer’.
With 82% of telecom consumers considering alternatives if they experience a poor customer journey and 27% of them abandoning the purchasing process entirely [source: US Telecom Report] focusing on solving customer pain points and delivering products and services to ease those areas of friction is a must. Today consumers want personalised offers and want to control their own personal data. 22% of consumers are happy to share some data in return for a more personalised service or product [source: Rise of Mass Personalisation]. Businesses need this data to drive these experiences.
“So too, enabling service excellence must be part of the customer experience for brands and retailers in the telecom space, from the moment a customer searches for a product. This has to be part of a brands DNA. In my opinion, it’s bigger than pricing and even some may argue, the product itself. Service has to be the biggest driver of customer loyalty each and every time to create a strongly differentiated experience,” said Michael Smollan, Chief Growth and Innovation Officer, Smollan.
The latest South African Telecommunications Sentiment Index in partnership with Deloitte Africa, rated the telecoms sector last, in terms of consumer sentiment when compared to the banking, insurance, and food industries. Despite loadshedding pushing up operational costs and the battle for additional broadband spectrum, telcos have to close the gaps. Understanding customer expectations, delivering omni-channel engagement, reaching out to disgruntled customers, and leveraging the power of big data and analytics will work towards improving customer service as a critical deliverable. Changing the customer experience – for good.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Smollan.