Top 5 Customer Experience Takeaways From the CEM Telecoms Global Summit

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Channel-consistency, customer-centricity, senior management buy-in, service as a competitive differentiator and dynamic personalisation were key discussion points at the CEM Global Summit.

The annual CEM Telecoms Global Summit took place in London this week and provided three days filled with inspirational case studies, insightful presentations and networking opportunities for leaders within the industry.

At CX Network we will publishing videos from the presentations as well as one-to-one expert interviews with a selection of the speakers in the next few weeks, but for now we wanted to share with you our top 5 takeaways from what was another an insightful few days discussing the challenges and opportunities of successful customer experience management within the telecoms industry.

1. It's All About Channel-Consistency

While it is step forward already to offer customers multiple contact channels, so they can choose the one that best suits their personal needs, it’s very important to align them into a true omni-channel model. Channel consistency was one of the key topics that surfaced during panel sessions and networking discussions at the event.

Paul Blake, Principal Customer Management Enterprise Architect at Vodafone Group Services, said: "When our customers channel hop we lose the consistent 360 view; we need to be consistent across the entire customer journey. Omni-channel needs to drive an excellent experience no matter which journey our customers are on."

Trudie Fell, Head of Development for Multi-channel Transformation Programme at Three UK, explained their journey to channel consistency: "Our goal is for all our customers to have a consistent joined-up experience with us. We must see things from the customers’ point of view.

"Previously customers did not only have a different experience depending on the channel they used but also on the different digital websites we had. The channel experience was different because that is what we had and worked with. We even competed with other channels, not giving leads to other channels – it was all about hanging on to this ourselves.

"Bringing our ecommerce site in house gave flexibility, control and made Three feel closer to the customer. Customers might previously get different answers through different channels. Investment in analytics and insight have been a key factor in understanding our customer behaviour and improve the experience."

SEE ALSO: 4 Ways an Omni-Channel Strategy Can Transform Your Customer Experience

2. Cross-Company Customer-Centricity is Key

It’s not only paramount to achieve channel-consistency, but it’s also incredibly important to make sure that the customer-centricity you’re driving through your customer experience strategy aligns everyone in the business behind your vision.

At Sky Italia, they have a clear focus on cross-company customer-centricity and achieve this with constant communication. A lot of their staff don’t have direct contact with customers, so they film clients – who are asked to visit a location each quarter – whatever they want about the brand. Customers are invited to be critical and their comments are edited together in videos which are made available for everyone in the company to see. That way, each employee is reminded that whatever they do impacts people.

Will Gibson, VP – Retail at Cable & Wireless Communications, added: "I can’t stress enough that getting everyone on board [of the customer experience strategy] is critical. To transform the customer experience, the product team, marketing, technology and IT all have to be aligned."

3. The Trick to Gaining Senior Level Buy-in

While you have a direct influence over front-line staff when it comes to the customer experience they’re delivering, getting senior level buy-in to your new CX initiatives isn’t always quite as easy. Carlos Graham, VP Customer Experience at ETB, suggested that to get support from the C-suite you need to go one above: the Board.

He said that you need to find an ally within the Board and involve this person in the strategy design of the programme. Keep all members in the governance of the programme informed and involved. And each board meeting, right next to the financials you need to discuss customer experience.

The board member will ask for results, which can be tricky. So you need to get the metrics about customer net gain. Don’t show this in a currency but rather in number of customers. And tie NPS and worth of mouth to customer KPIs.

4. Service Trumps Product and Price

Did you know that the customer service you‘re providing could be the competitive differentiator you need to stay ahead of other organisations? In today’s age it’s no longer the product or even the price that makes the biggest different, it is the service.

Johann Schradt, Director Customer Experience Assurance at du, explained that a customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor if they are facing a problem which is service-related instead of price or product related. "We should be able to compete on service, not price," he said.

He went on to explain that in the UAE there is a really high standard of service, and for operators it can be challenging to keep up with the idea that service is excellent in this region of the world. Therefor they have had to make customer service a competitive advantage. This might not always be obvious to the people within the company, who just want to launch cool products, and so you have to ensure they’re all aware of the differentiating quality of service.

Jan Heyens, Director Retail Transformation at Mobistar, highlighted the importance of delivering a great service. They’re had a big focus on delivering add-ons, such as coffee machines at retail locations, investing in loan phones and installing machines that can copy a customer’s data from an old phone to a new phone. "It’s all about enhancing the experience in shop," he said.

5. Dynamic Personalisation Through Big Data and Analytics

With service being such a differentiator for the customer experience, it’s also imperative that rather than approaching your customers as one big group, each experience is tailored and personalised to make them feel truly valued.

A lot of companies present at the Summit highlighted key steps they have taken so far to personalise experiences, from Vodacom introducing customer personas to represent a sample size of their customers, through to Swisscom adding personalisation to the app, which looks at what other features the customer has installed on their phone to give tailored recommendations.

However, Paul Blake, Principal Customer Management Enterprise Architect at Vodafone Group Services, added that personalisation has to be "near real time". He explained: "Personalisation is key, but it has to be dynamic. To make this possible we need to start making much better use of analytics and big data and driving policy through the analytics."