Talking ‘customer’: what can Telecoms teach us about customer experience?

Melanie Lewis

May 13, 2019

Customers were the centre of the conversation at the recent CX Exchange for Telecoms event. It was great to hear from speakers across the industry talk about the benefits, challenges and various telecom customer experience strategies to ensure that their business places the customer at the heart of their decision making.

However, despite engagement and focus on ‘doing the right thing’ Telecom providers aren’t known for their great customer experience. According to Which?, mobile phone providers, on average, score just 71% for their customer satisfaction and likelihood to recommend.

Our own agile customer feedback during the recent CX Exchange for Telecoms event demonstrated that brands who deliver against brand promises and ultimately offer a better customer experience than their rivals, will enjoy higher customer retention rates.

With customers aligning telecom brands more and more with utility suppliers, customer feedback needs to nimble if brands are to build long-lasting relationships with customers which transcend price-driven switching behaviour.

Investing in CX is the right thing to do

Brands are right to be investing in programmes that help to optimise and shape their customer experience – from tactical service levels to a strategic proposition offering.

But how do you make the most of that investment and guarantee continual CX improvement?

As panel host at the CX Exchange for Telecoms event, I shared the stage with CX leaders from brands across the sector discussing industry challenges and how customer experience is key to tackling those issues, sharing key intel on shaping the right feedback programme to drive loyalty.

Five customer experience lessons

1. Build the customer what they really want

Industries – including telecoms – have tended to build customer facing solutions through an internal lens. Focussing too heavily on organisational structures and individual channels which have resulted in siloed and linear approach to customer journeys rather than one that accurately reflects customer needs and behaviours.

When combined with the belief that, as experts in our own business, our vision of how customers want to use our products and services can be taken as the truth, there is a huge risk that brands often end up with is a solution built on what we think is needed rather that what customers want.

It’s why going beyond simple customer experience measurement is so key when it comes to market differentiation. While it’s important to measure performance, brands need to effectively listen to customers, understand pain points and co-create solutions to ensure maximum return – combining tools, such as Voice of the Customer programmes and customer panels, to deliver the right insight to the business to make informed decisions.

2. Customers thinks horizontally; not vertically

Almost all brands are guilty of building solutions within channels – yet the average customer transaction will touch six different channels throughout the journey.

Customers think horizontally. They are looking for the simplest way to solve their problem – whether that’s switching suppliers, upgrading to the latest devices or even raising service faults.

Yet, if they encounter an issue across any channel, customers will blame the whole brand, not just the touchpoint or business function in question.

It’s why all CX programmes must intelligently reflect both the different journeys customers take and the overall relationship they have with a brand. Failure to measure performance effectively across both streams can lead brands building the wrong solutions and investing in the wrong way.

Read: Stop making brand advocacy everyone’s priority

3. Empower your front line

Front-line employees are dealing directly with your customers every single day. You simply cannot deliver stand-out customer experiences without them.

It’s why sharing in-the-moment feedback with front-line staff has been a big focus of CX programmes for a number of years now.

For those brands who do this well, provide employees with much more than just data. They crave rich customer feedback that provides clear evidence of what’s gone wrong, what’s gone right and, most importantly, how improvements can be made for next time.

To truly improve experience, front-line colleagues need to feel inspired and empowered to do the right things for their customers.

Smart visualisation of performance information, supported by rich verbatim comments, help identify the root causes of dissatisfaction or delight. Insight tools such as text analytics enhance customer feedback, analysing, categorising and defining customer comments to help all staff better listen, understand and act upon feedback – and ultimately deliver a better customer experience.Customer experience is a business-wide commitment

4. Customer experience is a business-wide commitment

Effective buy-in from senior stakeholders is absolutely fundamental to success.

Actions such as ensuring customer experience metrics are part of the weekly business performance scorecards, demonstrating links between customer experience spend and ROI and clearly linking your customer experience programme to short- and long-term business plans all help to align and engage senior management teams.

Read: How to Create VoC Advocates amongst your Senior Management Team

5. Strike while its hot

We live in a fast-paced world – and customers want to see change quickly.

Designing the perfect customer experience solution may cost you a lot more than just time – customers can very quickly lose trust when a brand doesn’t take action, often damaging relationships beyond repair.

Instead, brands need to adapt an agile approach to developing improvements and solutions.

Customers – and their feedback – are absolutely vital to creating the ideal solution for maximum return. But adopting a ‘test and learn’ approach to development with regular doses of customer feedback allows brands to get even closer to their customers and build successful, long-lasting relationships – especially as xx% of customers want to get involved in shaping and developing products and services to better meet their needs.