Over-the-Top providers (OTTs) are establishing a new era of telecom possibilities. A growing number of digital streaming services go well beyond traditional calls and SMS messaging. But innovation doesn’t just come from the rise of communication apps. Best-in-class is being redefined both inside and outside the telecom industry, and nimble digital players like Uber, Netflix and Amazon are changing what people expect from brands across every sector. Speed of service, personalisation and a ‘one-stop’ experience drive customer satisfaction, and it’s telecom brands’ ability to adapt to changing requirements that will determine who stays relevant. So how can telcos make best use of digital transformation to boost customer experience?

Transforming issue resolution processes

The truth is, customers rarely engage with their telecom providers – unless things go wrong. So, if the opportunity to establish a relationship and build loyalty is minimal, brands must ensure these moments of interaction are as seamless as possible. People talk, and whether it’s telcos, utilities or travel companies, we’ve all compared notes with friends on how providers have dealt with problems. Not to mention been irritated if it turns out their problem was quickly sorted – while yours has dragged on endlessly and needlessly.

Digital transformation can deliver a suite of new customer-centred solutions that streamline issue resolution, and feature all channels and touchpoints as part of the strategy. These could include self-service tools like an AI chatbot, with a human representative ready to step in if necessary; a remote diagnostic tool with video capabilities to increase comfort and speed up the fixing process; and encouraging user-generated content, for instance on forums, to help customers solve basic problems without the need for customer service representatives.

GiffGaff turned their customers into community members that are able (and willing to!) resolve a large majority of issues experienced by fellow users. A simple message posted on the GiffGaff forum returns a number of answers from users offering potential resolution strategies, and all within minutes of posting. It’s a great relationship and loyalty-building strategy, though of course it should just be part of a holistic problem-resolution approach. Expert support and a clearer path for solving more complex problems is needed if you’re not to run the risk of leaving dangerous holes in customer service.

Service diversification to redefine telecom services

Core voice and SMS messaging services are continuing to shrink, but there is a growing opportunity for telcos to differentiate and add value with a service diversification approach that balances between diversity and profitability. Right now, only 27% of people are likely to recommend their telecom provider and telcos are placed last out of all industries when it comes to delivering services that satisfy customer needs. During challenging times, delivering an exceptional customer experience is crucial to stay relevant.

So what could telcos do to boost advocacy? When focusing on solving current customer pain points – whether it’s improving service reliability, enhancing the issue resolution process, or turning multichannel strategy into omnichannel management, telecom brands need a heuristic review of their services and channels to identify the biggest opportunities for improvement. Doing so will help them find opportunities to boost their current customer experience with minimum investment and maximum return. Once the CX basics are covered, gap analysis and service design should unlock potential areas for diversification. This will enable telecom brands to deliver extra revenue and create added value by going a step beyond their core offering – and deliver a new suite of digital services that have the power to redefine what telcos mean to tomorrow’s customers.

A few global telecom companies have already expanded to video streaming services, proving that an innovative service diversification can drive high demand and a significant revenue. China Telecom’s 4K ultra-HD iTV video streaming service gained almost two million new subscribers in two years since the launch. Experts predict an increasing number of telcos will soon expand into new territories, incorporating anything from entertainment to online education, e-healthcare or home security. This will result in a more holistic and more personalised one-stop service than customers currently expect from their telco brands.

For any telco, driving CX transformation across the whole organisation is key to ensure their brand is fit for purpose. There’s a huge number of potential innovation and service diversification scenarios. But it’s not just about integrating a new tech to create a short-term excitement. It’s about prioritising and selecting these opportunities to ensure they truly can impact Net Promoter Score and revenue, while helping customers and employees to consistently achieve goals, quickly.

At BIO, we worked with a number of telecom companies to help them succeed in the changing world. To discuss how we can help, drop us an email at makesomething@thebioagency.com.

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