The telecom industry is seeing major growth but also big shakeups. Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are transforming from only being providers of communication and data services into essential business partners, co-innovating with their customers while providing an increasing number of value-added services such as multi-cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, mission-critical applications and cybersecurity. For both mobile and fixed operators, the complexity of service delivery on their networks continues to increase and customers are demanding more than ever before.
CSPs are responding by revamping and rebuilding their portfolios and offerings to enable fluid, digital experiences. Leading operators are taking this further not just to survive but thrive in this new landscape. While laying this digital foundation, they are also focusing on strategic areas to unlock competitive differentiation and growth, starting with transforming their customer experiences.
Here are some of the keys to help CSPs unlock growth.
Connecting the organization and channels
One of the most significant problems in current CSP customer experiences is that disconnected departments and systems prevent the delivery of exceptional customer service. Without a complete picture of a customer’s product and service usage, operational performance, service interactions, and related information, issue resolution slows, and customer satisfaction remains low.
No customer wants to be in the dark, and no operator wants to find itself in the cross-hairs of regulators with impacted services magnified by a poor response. Take, for example, a network outage that affects a coverage area. With centralized visibility and operational insights:
- The Network Operations Center (NOC) and dispatched field service team can update the issue and the estimated time to resolution (TTR)
- Using this information customer teams can pro-actively notify their impacted subscribers across multiple channels based on established escalation processes
- Customers are able to prepare and plan appropriately
- Customer service benefits from reducing inbound calls
A connected organization improves the overall issue resolution experience for customers, ensuring better preparedness and the ability to reduce the impact of operational issues.
Operators are in a 24x7 business and staff must be ready around the clock to support their users. Best in class operators are connecting workflows across departments, systems, and processes allow for a unified view of customer issues and drives accountability throughout the organization. This unlocks the ability to resolve customer issues more efficiently and effectively, creating significant business value.
Increase agent productivity, drive efficiency
Business customers often have complex solutions in place, and an increasing number of connected applications, so accurate and knowledgeable professionals need to be able to support these extensive integrations adequately. Telecom services for clients often change with contract renewals causing a ripple effect across pricing, core services, service level agreements (SLAs), capacity levels and customer support levels. During these transitions, it is critical to have solid customer insight to properly address customer issues and concerns.
The linchpin in keeping customers happy and the wheels of an organization rolling smoothly is knowledge. Knowledge needs to be captured, centralized and made accessible to get the latest information into the hands of the agent that needs it.
Analytics, automation, and machine learning capabilities all provide agents with superpowers that help them increase their call resolution efficiency and ultimately leads to higher agent and customer satisfaction. Many contact centers are exploring artificial intelligence technologies to differentiate their service, such as classifying content, routing cases based on agent skills, or providing smarter chat bots.
Leading CSP customer organizations are using advanced technology to unlock differentiated customer experiences and build smarter operations. Negative customer experience can impact a CSP’s reputation and overall brand. Routing customers and agents to the next best action, improving self-service, or speeding case classification all help free agent time to focus on the complex issues that require human intervention and ingenuity.
Create value from what you know
Service providers continue to improve their ability to diagnose and resolve issues and as a result, are gathering an exponential amount of data that can further advance service assurance and performance management. This data is a gold mine of information for creating an engine that drives improved customer loyalty, reducing churn and fueling growth.
The industry is becoming more data-driven, encouraging increased integration of customer service platforms with operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS). This combination supports better service solutions, improved operational agility and breaks down organizational silos by connecting network infrastructure, business applications, and customer visibility.
Consolidated systems allow for the optimization of operations and customer data, giving providers a more comprehensive view of the customer. Understanding all dimensions of a customer’s product and services helps providers proactively resolve issues and better understand their overall performance metrics such as response time and churn. The data can also provide actionable insights to increase the efficiency of time to market and agile operations.
Craft a culture of experience
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, every operator needs to focus on crafting a culture of customer experience. Increasingly, solutions are software-defined and increase the pressure on providers to provide immediate and high-quality customer interactions. Customer experience leaders start with their differentiating purpose in mind and then focus on improving their most essential customer journeys first.
Analyzing and mapping the customer journey can also reveal where proactive and transparent support opportunities will get the customer to their purpose faster and with less effort. By engaging the entire organization, the customer’s experience can be transformed into one that achieves the customer’s mission but also engenders customer satisfaction and even delight.
From your service representatives – both customer service and field service – to engineering and finance, providing full visibility into the issue can more effectively focus the organization on root cause issue resolution. Removing organizational silos enables operators to focus on achieving the customer’s purpose thereby improving both the customer experience and service delivery.
Competition and change are a given in today’s digital world. Competitors are just a click away, and loyalty is increasingly determined by experience, not product, service or length of a business relationship. CSP leaders are adopting a customer engagement mentality to drive market differentiation. In fact of CSPs, 68% view customer experience as their number one strategic priority.
Communication Service Providers play a vital role in helping their business customers accelerate growth. Businesses are demanding better experiences and operators must deliver sophisticated products, better data and analytics, and organizational experience. Industry leaders must unlock this unprecedented opportunity and rework their customer experience to establish themselves as a valued partner, helping their customers expand and capture new digital opportunities while driving business growth.
Learn how a CSP achieved an ROI of 176% and significantly reduced SLA payments with ServiceNow; download a March 2019 ServiceNow-commissioned Forrester Consulting study .