Talking ‘Customer’: What can Telecoms Teach Us About Customer Experience?

telecom customer experience

Customer satisfaction and loyalty were the centre of the conversation at the recent CX Exchange for Telecoms event. It was great to hear from speakers across the industry talk about the benefits, challenges and various telecom customer experience strategies. They are all working to ensure that their business places the customer at the heart of their decision making.

However, despite focusing on engagement and ‘doing the right thing,’ Telecom providers aren’t known for their great customer experience. According to Which?, mobile phone providers score just 71% on average for their customer satisfaction and likelihood to recommend.

Our own agile customer feedback during the recent CX Exchange for Telecoms event demonstrated that brands who deliver on their brand promises and provide smoother customer experience than their rivals will enjoy higher customer retention rates.

With customers aligning telecom brands more and more with utility suppliers, customer feedback efforts must be nimble if brands are to build long-lasting relationships with customers that transcend price-driven switching behaviour.

Investing in CX is the right thing to do

Brands are right to be investing in programmes that help to optimise and shape their customer experience – from tactical service levels to a strategic proposition offering.

But how do you make the most of that investment and guarantee continual CX improvement?

As panel host at the CX Exchange for Telecoms event, I shared the stage with CX leaders from brands across the sector discussing industry challenges and how customer experience is key to tackling those issues, sharing key intel on shaping the right feedback programme to drive loyalty.

Five tips on providing a meaningful customer experience

1. Build the customer what they really want

Industries – including telecoms – have tended to build customer-facing solutions without looking through the lens of customer experience. Telecoms has traditionally focussed too heavily on organisational structures and individual channels which have resulted in siloed and linear approach to assessing customer journeys. Unfortunately, this approach does not accurately reflect customer needs and behaviours.

When combined with the belief that, as experts in our own business, our vision of how customers want to use our products and services can be taken as the truth, there is a huge risk. Brands often end up building a solution based on what we think is needed rather than what customers actually want.

It’s why going beyond simple customer experience measurement is key when it comes to market differentiation. While it’s important to measure performance, brands need to effectively listen to customers, understand pain points and co-create solutions to ensure maximum return – combining tools, such as Voice of the Customer programmes and customer panels, to deliver the right insight so the business can make informed decisions.

2. Customers thinks horizontally; not vertically

Almost all brands are guilty of building solutions within channels – yet the average customer transaction will touch six different channels throughout the journey.

Customers think horizontally. They are looking for the simplest way to solve their problem – whether that’s switching suppliers, upgrading to the latest device, or even raising service faults.

Yet, if they encounter an issue across any channel, customers will blame the whole brand, not just the touchpoint or business function in question.

It’s why all CX programmes must intelligently reflect both the different journeys customers take and the overall relationship they have with a brand. Failure to measure performance effectively across both streams can lead brands building the wrong solutions and investing in the wrong way.

3. Empower your front line

Front-line employees are dealing directly with your customers every single day. You simply cannot deliver stand-out customer experiences without them.

It’s why sharing in-the-moment feedback with front-line staff has been a big focus of CX programmes for a number of years now.

For those brands to do this well, you need to provide employees with much more than just sales data. Rich customer feedback that provides clear evidence of what’s gone wrong, what’s gone right and, most importantly, how improvements can be made for next time help them improve their sales.

To truly improve experience, front-line colleagues need to feel inspired and empowered to do the right things for their customers.

Smart visualisation of performance information, supported by rich verbatim comments, help identify the root causes of dissatisfaction or delight. Insight tools such as text analytics enhance customer feedback, analysing, categorising and defining customer comments to help all staff better listen, understand and act upon feedback – and ultimately deliver a better customer experience. Customer experience needs to be a business-wide commitment to be effective.

4. Customer experience must be a business-wide commitment

Effective buy-in from senior stakeholders is absolutely fundamental to success.

Actions such as ensuring customer experience metrics are part of the weekly business performance scorecards, demonstrating links between customer experience spend and ROI, and clearly linking your customer experience programme to short- and long-term business plans all help to align and engage senior management teams.

5. Strike while its hot

We live in a fast-paced world – and customers want to see change quickly.

Neglecting the perfect customer experience solution may cost you a lot more than just time – customers can very quickly lose trust when a brand doesn’t take action, often damaging relationships beyond repair.

Instead, brands need to adapt an agile approach to developing improvements and solutions.

Customers – and their feedback – are absolutely vital to creating the ideal solution for maximum return. But adopting a ‘test and learn’ approach to development with regular doses of customer feedback allows brands to get even closer to their customers and build successful, long-lasting relationships – especially as xx% of customers want to get involved in shaping and developing products and services to better meet their needs.

Learn more about how we help Telecoms understand market forces and the fundamental thought processes that drive decisions. 

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