Great customer service fuels customer experience, which significantly impacts customer churn. This customer journey is critical for Telcos to look into, especially within a competitive industry like telecommunications. With so many different Telcos in the market, customers are always looking for the best service experience and how a Telco adds value to their lives. This is why having a customer service strategy is key to a Telcos success.
A customer service strategy, in simple terms, is a plan of action or a strategic approach for how the business handles contact and interactions with customers. This strategy outlines the standard of customer care the Telco strives to deliver and the process and methods used to deliver a high level of customer support and care. When this process is managed effectively, and customers have a good customer experience as a result of your customer service, they become more loyal. This means that they will often spend more and will recommend you to family and friends – all of these increase revenue and profitability.
You may be thinking this sounds great in theory, but how do I, as a Telco, put this into a practical application? The answer lies in the five tips below.
5 Tips to Build an Effective Customer Service Strategy
The telecommunications industry is incredibly competitive, with many Telcos fighting for the same customers. What sets a Telco apart from others, in the mind of the consumer, is a provider that enhances their convenience, provides excellent customer service, and one that adds value. Each of these needs must be considered when building an effective customer service strategy. Luckily these five tips cover how this can be done effectively.
Seek and Close The Customer Feedback Loop
Without insight into your current customer service experience, you as a Telco will not know your customer’s expectations versus the kind of customer service you provide. The question is, how do you find out this vital information? The answer lies in seeking and closing the customer feedback loop and providing pre-emptive customer service.
Pre-emptive customer service refers to the process of trying to see and solve a problem before a customer contacts you. This kind of process often utilises automated technologies and software like USSD. This technology is used to get feedback from customers about the service levels, support and experience they received from your Telco customer team.
USSD is the perfect interactive and cost-effective method for this and will provide customers with an opportunity to share their experiences, whether it be positive or negative. With this information, Telcos can make changes and implement steps to improve their customer service.
Reward Customer Loyalty
The competitive nature of the telecommunications industry has resulted in many Telcos needing to differentiate themselves by adding more value to their customers. One of the ways this is being done is through customer rewards programs or loyalty programs. With this kind of customer service boosting solution, customers are rewarded for reaching specific targets defined by the Telco.
When a customer feels like they are valued and receive a reward for supporting a Telco, they are more likely to stay loyal. Why is this important? The simple truth is that loyal customers are less likely to churn, which is essential considering that acquiring a new customer is much for expensive than retaining a current one. When a customer is lost, all future revenue is lost from the consumer, as well as the resources a Telco has spent on acquiring that customer.
For loyalty programs to be successful, they need to be personalised to customers’ unique needs, purchasing patterns, wants, etc. By utilising big data and advanced analytics, you can gain insight into your customer’s needs and wants and create loyalty programs that they would like to participate in, adding value to their lives.
Incorporate Self-Service Solutions
Like everything today, customer service is based on instant gratification. Customers are used to getting what they want and need at a click of a button. This has had a knock-on effect on customer expectations, especially where customer service is concerned. Customers are no longer settling for sub-par customer services and experiences. They want to get answers fast. Self-Service platforms have become an essential tool for making this happen.
These platforms have proven more effective than call centres by enabling customers to instantly find the information they need instead of relying on someone to do it for them. For example, corporate customers utilising Adapt IT Telecom’s Corporate Customer Self-Service can expect to access valuable insights and gain understandings around all their Telco services as well as access services from this platform.
The result of utilising a self service solution like this is that customers have less frustration and have more control and visibility over elements related to their usage, spend, connectivity, account information, billings, and more. With direct access to the information they need, they will have fewer queries and questions and an improved customer service experience.
Provide Omni-channel Customer Service
An omni-channel approach to customer service is vital in the digital age we are living in. Customers expect to interact and engage with Telcos across multiple digital and mobile channels. Integrated connectivity is no longer a nice to have, it is now a necessity.
Omni-channel messaging technology allows Telcos to implement various value-added services on the same framework across multiple channels. This kind of software utilises middleware technology to enable Telcos to utilise multiple communication channels, including USSD, SMSC, Mobile Apps, WhatsApp Channels, Website portals, digital channels and more, from one integrated framework.
As a result, Telcos can provide customers with fast, accessible, and easy-to-implement services and support of these services across multiple channels, simplifying the complexities of integrating these into the network infrastructure. Not only does this ensure complete integrated connectivity, it dramatically improves customer service and the experience by providing multiple channels for engagement, communication and interaction.
Create a Driven and Innovative Customer Service Team
Many of the tips above have looked at the technology and customer service software that can be utilised to improve a Telcos customer service. Although this technology does provide many benefits, a human touch is still needed. This human touch refers to a driven and innovative customer service team.
What sets a successful customer service team apart from an unsuccessful one? The answer lies in the right training, operational efficiency, software tools and passion. For a customer service team to be equipped to handle the influx of support calls that come through to a Telco daily, the customer service team must be trained on all services and offerings. They need the knowledge and understanding required to guide customers through queries or questions. Part of this is related to training on the different digital systems that can make finding information related to customer disputes faster. Customer service teams need to access software necessary to help them answer customer questions efficiently, effectively and, most importantly, fast. Customers do not want to sit on the phone for long periods. This increases frustration and can result in a negative customer experience.
A customer service team member is the best ambassador for a Telco. The customer’s experience with the customer service team could either result in a good service experience or a negative one. If a customer does have negative customer service experience there is a likelihood that they may churn. This is why it is important to ensure that your customer service team has what they need in terms of knowledge to assist customers in the best way possible.
Armed with the right customer service strategy, you as a Telco can enhance customer retention and your competitiveness within the telecommunications industry. As outlined in the above-mentioned tips, a successful customer service strategy combines the right digital technology with a human touch, and as such, with having the right customer service strategy in place, you can rest assured that your customer will have an outstanding customer experience, feel valued and remain loyal – setting you as a Telco up for success.
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In my 20+ years’ experience within the information technology and telecommunications industry, I have assisted businesses in successfully delivering and managing various technology solutions and consulting projects to a multitude of organisations spanning across Telecoms, FMCG, Financial Services, Banking, Retail, ICT, Manufacturing, Public Sector and Mining. My strength and passion lies in the mediation of technology and business with a focus on successfully integrating software solutions that assist organisations in delivering on their strategic objectives through improved business insight to ultimately improve business performance. At Adapt IT I am privileged to work with an experienced team that is equally passionate about utilising technology to drive business efficiencies specifically focusing on Mobility.