Mobile operators around the world are searching for market differentiators.
In a time when mobile network quality, device availability, functionality, and pricing are directly comparable across markets, not even advertising or branding campaigns can change customer perceptions.
The struggle for differentiation means that service providers are placing a great deal of focus on customer retention. This has led to the mobile industry to adopt new Customer Experience Management (CEM) techniques to unearth what motivates customers to select, spend, and, critically, stay with an operator.
There is little doubt that these emerging, and mostly passive, CEM techniques will add a great deal of value to mobile operators in the future. But investment in these practices must not ignore direct front line customer support service delivery.
Here are three proven solutions to improve customer service experience that mobile operators need to pick up if they want to remain in their customers’ good books.
Enable communication channels based on customer preference
Operators are spending vast amounts of money launching new 4G network technology to support the plethora of new devices and operating systems. Ensuring a positive customer experience amidst this increasing complexity has never been more challenging – but it has also never been more vital.
Research and live customer experience data demonstrate that reducing the levels of customer effort builds loyalty and lowers costs. The basic rule is that the harder customers must work to achieve resolution, the less satisfied and loyal they become.
Opening up communication channels that customers actually use goes a long way to establishing a positive relationship with a brand. It shortens the time to resolution, removes the traditional hurdles, and prevents social media backlash.
Encourage self-service for basic queries
Human nature typically means that if a customer contacts an operator with an issue and experiences a speedy resolution, the overall experience will make them feel better about the operator than if they hadn’t contacted them at all.
Operators need to accept that they will often be contacted with issues that have nothing to do with an operators’ network or core services – but they will still be judged on their ability to resolve them by their impatient and impulsive customers.
Operators must therefore ensure customers have access to the necessary technical expertise, preferably all in one place. This is best delivered through online self-service platforms, forums, and social media. Real-time information empowers customers to take matters into their own hands before they call the customer service line. If the data is well-structured, there are fewer hoops to jump through to reach a solution, and satisfaction is all but guaranteed.
Measure what matters
When it comes to increasing customer delight, service quality is infinitely more powerful than delivery or price. First Contact Resolution (FCR) is one of the most useful metrics for improving customer loyalty, at the lowest cost to an operator. The most successful FCR improvement plans focus on increasing the effectiveness of support agents to reduce customer effort.
Operators must ensure that they employ high caliber, multilingual and multicultural employees equipped with the knowledge and skillset to address customer needs. Highly rated, multilingual, and multicultural agents can be directly linked to significantly lower customer attrition rates and improved customer acquisition through word of mouth.
As the telecoms industry evolves, operators are challenged by their customers to go beyond technical complexity and sustain a positive overall experience. Regardless of new innovation in CEM practices, advances in data analytics will never replace the importance of fast, effective, high-touch customer service. It is up to operators to ensure that their agents have the information, technology, and flexible processes in place to drive FCR and reduce customer effort.
Following these basic rules of customer service will deliver the market differentiation that many operators crave, at a fraction of the cost of broader data analysis.