Time to bridge the Customer Experience divide

Participating in the recent Communication Services Providers (CSPs) customer experience tweetchat hosted by Cerillion, NSN, and supported by Telesperience was a business-orientated social networking eye opener. The whole experience was a catalyst for many possibilities to gain useful intelligent opinion from every element of our sector in a compact but dynamic format. Even when using a tool like HootSuite, which enables you to manage hashtag driven streams, (in this instance the hashtag was #CSPCX) your brain needs to get familiar with the ocular overload of catching all the related tweets. However once you get into a rhythm and focus on a key topic it really is a fantastic medium.

There was a lot of commentating on what is being done wrong and therefore what action is needed so that CSPs are able to hold their heads up high and wear the “Customer Experience is My Priority” badges with verisimilitude. But there was one key topic close to my heart that really grabbed my attention.

It remains an obsessive fascination of mine that despite an industry-wide drive for service convergence and experience equality between your faithful postpaid base and the more nomadic prepaid base, there is still a view that the customer experience investment between the two should retain a difference of epic proportions.

Further to this it appears that in the scenario where service convergence has been achieved and a customer is both prepaid and postpaid some CSPs don’t seem to know how to treat them at all, reverting to only a revenue model where the higher the revenue the more expeditious the route to a good customer experience.

Convergence is something that Cerillion as an organisation has been focussed head long on for over 5 years now and we have seen enormous demand for our convergent capabilities over the last few years. So it had not occurred to me that many CSPs would not have reasoned through using all the convergence features provided in their BSS platforms to drive high levels of Customer Experience, as well as fast new customer take-on, fast mean time to market, and so on.

Some of this lack of focus can come from board-level down and depending on how the CSP is structured as an organisation this can make a profound difference. There are certainly a number of CSPs who in certain markets (some in all markets) are geared to measuring success on the basis of new subscription rates rather than customer satisfaction. But maybe that is because the CSP has lost sight of the cost to acquire, especially when using third parties, versus the cost to retain.

But all is not lost; the feedback from the tweetchat is that some CSPs are holding that light at the end of the tunnel not with anecdotal remedial actions, but mature programmes for driving higher and higher levels of customer experience – my favourite being through good training and motivation of their staff, leading to good treatment of their customers. Happy staff = Happy customers.

Both the exercise of the tweetchat and the Customer Experience subject matter were thought provoking and useful, and I’m looking forward to the next online discussion very soon!