The Key to Delivering an Effective Customer Experience in Telecoms

Chris Keogh

Chris Keogh, Head of Client Service Management at eir Business, discusses how telcos can deliver a high-quality service as a competitive differentiator in a competitive market.

Customer experience (CX) is the product of an end-to-end service experience between an organisation and its customers, Customer Experience Management (CEM) is the ability to deliver an efficient simplistic experience that drives customer spend and brand loyalty.

Effective CX demands best-in-class products, which meet varying customer needs and that are delivered through stable and mature processes to create a positive interaction. A natural long term sustainable multi-customer base is the end result.

Creating this experience is a complex path, involving strategy, integration of technology, orchestrating business models, brand management and Board-level commitment. Making it easier to do business with us, the organisation, is not as simplistic as the desired end result of an enhanced customer experience.

Integration of Data Silos

Telecoms companies must deliver end-to-end customer needs (quotation, ordering, reporting and billing) for complex high tech service solutions in a consistent, simplistic and repeatable manner across multiple channels.

This requires the integration of complex data silos of customer information delivery automation and self-service tools to empower employees and customers to order services in a faster, efficient process. Most organisations confuse CEM with a customer self-service portal which is a tool in the kit bag of CEM, but not the means to the improved Net Promoter Score (NPS). The complexity lies beneath the data, processes, system integration and company culture that deliver that CEM single window pane.

Telco customers are looking for more than just a portal; they demand accessibility and speed of response, strategic planning not just troubleshooting, re-engineered solutions to emerging needs, and understanding customers’ business agenda as the "network of choice" core values.

Unified View

An organisation will require a unified business service view, which drives predictive service strategy with the ability to mine the necessary data sources. This will provide supporting information to shift service experience to address these core values and provide vision of future planning to its customers, whilst achieving greater operational efficiency

Customers are demanding a unified service view, which will identify areas of network interdependency that may pose a risk, a correlation of incidents and problems to provide a full customer network infrastructure support service, and a single representation of order fulfilment and billing that allow a unified service management view.

They want new products and services relevant to their business operations that take a view of the customer’s current and future needs. The information and knowledge gleaned from a unified service view from incident, change, CPE management and network inventory can be useful in aiding product and service development to build solutions to address the customer’s service requirements and for service operations to evolve its support services to meet customer needs. The sum of this demonstrates an organisation as a consummate service advisor to its customers.

Deregulation in Telecoms

Telecommunications deregulation has increased competition and expedited the commoditisation of network service and products. Customers now have greater bargaining power, products have a shorter lifecycle, and price competition is strong.

Deregulation has also led to a larger number of companies being able to compete against traditional telco providers on a national and international scale. These companies tend to be leaner and more flexible to address the shorted lifecycle of products and services.

Hence traditional sources of competitive advantage are vanishing; product features can be duplicated quickly by competitors from anywhere around the globe, and price advantages can be instantly eroded.

Service as a Differentiator

High-quality service can be a differentiator as the rules of competition change. These differentiators are Business Service Levels rather than individual SLA’s, network information leverage, automation, both predictive and strategic service engagement, rapid query and order processing, and service solution bundles to meet customer needs

The CEM leader within an organisation must consider the in-depth customer journey from start to finish along all system touch points. People and processing must understand how to design a simplistic CEM strategy to cloak complexity, otherwise it will burst from the seams and will allow bad service experiences to seep amongst its customers.