It’s ironic that the Telecoms industry has always been at the forefront of technology, the very thing that allows for the optimization of customer experience, and yet, telecommunications has its fair share of challenges when it comes to customer experience.
And now, here comes IoT (Internet of Things) – for Telecoms, it either means added complications, or the opportunity to dominate the industry in terms of the customer experience.
In addition, McKinsey says that ‘the telecom industry continues to face growing pricing pressure worldwide. While regional differences apply… trends are forcing telecom companies to respond through more competitive offers, bundles, and price cuts.
And since superior customer experiences allow for premium pricing which customers are all too happy to pay for, your telecom company will either be left in the dirt, or made to become a force to be reckoned with.
Customers are willing to pay more for personalized customer experience. [Source]
Let’s be clear: people need Telcos. In South Africa, they expect poor service and put up with it because the perception is that no Telecoms company provides good service. So if one provider becomes known for its enhanced customer experience, people will gravitate towards it.
While IoT is not the be-all and end-all of the customer experience, it does offer powerful solutions to dramatically enhance the customer experience.
The Internet of Things is revolutionising the Telecom industry
Telecommunications has mostly been known for empowering daily communication via telephone, email and radio.
With each new technological invention comes new ways to communicate. And now we have IoT to merge our digital and physical worlds by connecting billions of devices and data around the world, through the internet.
Traditionally, network providers only offered bandwidth, but with the IoT revolution, it gives an opportunity to not only create new value, but increase your customer base and retain the customers you already have.
Root causes of outdated tactics in a digital age
One of the root causes of the telecommunication industry having challenges is its inability to think like a customer.
Instead, Telcos revolve their services around their own operational needs. They may say their customers are their first priority, but most don’t really even know what that means.
The reason they fail with customer experience, in general, is more than likely due to the nature of their business – technology – and people with a high aptitude for technology don’t generally understand the human aspects of service.
These are some common problem areas in the industry, universally:
- Telecoms build processes that revolve around their operational requirements instead of their customer’s needs, and the customer must chase the telecom to get action.
- Telecoms fail to provide consistent service experiences. Employees operate as individuals, not knowing what each one is doing. Work is duplicated, no records are kept, no one takes responsibility.
- No one monitors social media channels for complaints, and if they do, are not equipped to deal with issues that are brought to their attention on these platforms.
- Agents are not equipped to deal with common issues customers complain about that are not technically the provider’s problem, but since customers think it is, agents should be empowered to handle them and offer assistance.
- Lack of quality coverage.
- Lack of efficient self-help options.
- Poor feedback, if any.
How to use IoT to improve customer experience
It is suggested that telecommunications source a qualified person externally to drive the customer experience project. Customer data should then be analysed, and operational processes reviewed.
Find the pain points of customers by analysing their feedback and behaviour through data. Address these issues first, as they will tend to be the most urgent.
Slot in IoT into the reviewed processes in order to optimise the customer’s journey; a few examples include:
- Keeping customers updated. IoT can help Telcos monitor and predict their own wait times and thereby keep customers informed of what to expect. It can suggest quieter times to call in or offer entertainment while waiting.
- IoT offers superior analytics and may offer more touchpoints to enhance the customer’s journey.
- Traffic pattern sensors can tell teams when to contact a customer at which touch point or product sensors that seek to solve a problem even before the customer gets a chance to make a complaint.
- Harness data that can be used to provide personalised customer experiences, as well as for the creation of new products and services.
- Develop products that become a complete service.
The Internet of Things offers Telecoms the power to transform not only the way they deliver customer service but to create new, value-add products and services in order to dominate the market.