It can without a semblance of doubt be said that the digital transformation is currently over us. Gone are the days when companies wanted to prepare for it, and go into the era with sufficient preparation. With the transformation now over us, it is time for action, and the need to be at the top of their game is felt more than it ever was for most companies.
The fact that digital transformation is here is especially true for operators offering services in the telecommunication space across the globe. These operators are in for a challenging time, and if they want to come out as victors, rather than victims of the transformation, they would have to make major adjustments on how they interact with their clients and customers. Customer engagement and meeting customer expectations sits at the center of all digital transformations, and since telecom operators directly cater to their customers, they have to revolutionize their services and be a part of this move towards the future. The complications operators are going through can be gauged by the fact that their business is shrinking, voice and text messages are barely as common as they used to be, and customers have started moving towards newer forms of communication. Operators could either treat digitization as a chance to become involved in the move towards the future, or they could bottle up all the years of hard work and fall prey to digitization.
Using digitization is, of course, easier said than done, which is why operators would have to base their efforts on one defining factor here: customer experience. Customer expectations are changing, and by realizing the importance of these changing customer expectations and then giving customers what they want out of the digitization process, operators can work towards treating this complication as an opportunity.
The Need for Customer Experience Management
A customer with demands presents an opportunity for all telecom operators. To put it clearly, in this world of digital transformations, the customer of today is aware of what they want and how they want it. Thus, it is important for operators to recognize the specific and custom needs of all users, and cater to these needs for enhanced results.
Naturally, the first question in this process is to identify what their customer wants. Obviously, all customer needs might not be the same. While one customer might be looking for over 10 GBs of Internet in a month, with some talk time, another customer will be looking for 20 GBs per month. The roadmap here would be to first identify the needs of all customers and then realize how they want these needs to be met. Once operators know of these changing customer demands, they can then convert their customer’s changing intent into a purchase that is beneficial for them. This is different from what operators had been doing before. Instead of making a one size fits all package, operators would now have to offer tailor-made services that go down well with the changing expectations and fit the ever-increasing demands that customers now have from operators. In simpler words, operators would now have to understand what every customer wants, and tailor their services according to these demands.
This is where customer experience management (CXM) comes into the picture. Having talked about the need for finding out what every customer expects and the experience customers want, we would now talk about the importance of customer experience management and how it can help operators tailor their services and customize them according to customer preferences. Giving an exemplary service is now not just related to customer service, but also involves many other facets. The customer experience in today’s digital world extends to all parts of the user’s touch point. This would include all of the following:
- When a customer interacts with a representative of the service provider while making or receiving calls. This conversation is now an important touch point, and operators need to ensure that they meet all customer expectations here. There is not enough room for error here, and all customers need to be fulfilled at all counts.
- When a customer places a complaint regarding the quality of the service or any other issue. This is again a make or break scenario, and the service provider should be wary of the expectations regarding the desired customer experience here. The customer expects nothing short of the best experience, and operators should ensure that. A disgruntled customer needs to be given special care if possible.
- The exchange of words while a new product or service is being purchased by a customer should also be considered as a touch point. Operators could present information regarding new products and services here and can use this touch point to assure the new customer of their services.
Until very recently, telecom operators have been interchanging experience with quality. Due to this confusion, they have been limiting down the opportunities they have for providing the right experience to their customers. The quality of the network is not the only factor dictating experience, and operators need to ensure many other things as well, alongside maintaining the quality of the services and network that they are providing. Customers have been found to be receptive towards a well-rounded, better customer experience, as a poll by Defaqto Research found that 55 per cent of consumers were willing to pay more for an operator that provided a better customer experience. Moreover, further research in this regard has found out that companies that are willing to excel at providing a fulfilling customer experience tend to grow at 4-8 per cent more than the market.
With little doubt over the fact that customer expectations are rising, customer expectation management should be a top priority for all telecom operators. Telecom operators have to ensure a seamless and unique service for customers and in that context, a customer experience management program is the need of the hour.
Role of Big Data
With all the talk about meeting the experience that customers want and fulfilling their expectations, the question about how to extract these customer expectations comes into the picture. To that end, operators need to invest in big data and have analysis tools in place to find actionable insight. They would have to monitor the data usage of different customers and offer plans exclusively catered to their specific needs. Telecom operators would have to use analysis tools such as Machine Learning to extract sense out of the data they gather.
Going into the future, it is expected that there would be a flurry of activity in the global CXM space. Not only telecom operators, but managers from different industries would start focusing on providing marketing and customer-centered activities that fulfill the expectations that customers tend to have from their service. Customer experience management is something that we can see roll out in the sales and distribution space as well, during the upcoming future. The digital transformation is going to become even more widespread, and CXM will play an even bigger role in the future.
Mahindra Comviva is specialized in Customer Experience Management for Telecom service providers. You can read their eBook here (Click here) to gather more information about the digital transformation, and the changing role of telecom operators.