Tweets, shoots and leaves

Tweets, shoots and leaves

One week on, and I’ve just about recovered from the hugely successful Customer Experience tweetchat staged in association with Telesperience and Nokia Siemens Networks. The discussion exceeded all expectations, with participants from companies including Amdocs, BT, Cerillion, Global Crossing and Nokia Siemens Networks generating more than 500 #CSPCX tweets in an hour’s lively debate around the challenges Communications Services Providers (CSPs) face in improving the customer experience they provide.

And the tweetchat didn’t just stop at 1 hour, with the initial conversation extending well into the evening here in Europe as participants in other time zones came online to continue the discussions.

With so many active participants the tweetchat format can be somewhat overwhelming – trying to keep 30 simultaneous conversations whilst ‘listening-in’ to what everyone else is chatting about is something of a challenge! However from the various discussion threads, it is clear that the Customer Experience is rightly at the top of the list of CSP priorities. Not just in mature markets where competition is fierce, but also in emerging markets where there is a growing shift away from customer acquisition towards more customer retention strategies.

Here are my thoughts on some of the key discussion threads from the tweetchat:

  • @janerygaard: “Our UK study shows, 45% of the negative experiences with mobile can be explained by network quality falling below expectation” – Network coverage and call / service quality are perhaps the most visible issues to both operator and customer, and hence draw significant investment each year. However it’s often the softer factors which are harder to measure, such as the attitude of customer service staff, which have the most lasting impact on the customer relationship.
  • @gxsteveh: “Don’t get caught only reviewing internal metrics. The outside-in view is more important when working to improve Customer Experience” – This is a very important point. Business KPIs have to be aligned with customer experience goals from a customer’s viewpoint, not from what the business thinks the customer wants. Just look at the rail industry – they continuously provide statistics that say 98% of trains run on-time and think this is satisfying their customers. But that depends on who defines what on-time is.
  • @TeresaCottam: “Too many CSPs think they can become cust centric just by adding tech… no, it’s process & culture not a product!” – It is the classic combination of systems, people and processes that can solve problems. Customer experience needs to be a complete business transformation. And when it comes to people, the focus needs to be as much on how the job is done, as to what actions are taken.
  • @dougnewdick: “CSPs need to look at whole billing chain to generate better customer experience, not just the bill – last step in the chain” – Doug makes a great point here. The bill itself is a crucial customer touchpoint that in many cases is undervalued and poorly designed. However, decisions made about product packaging and tariff definition have a huge knock-on effect on the final bill presentation; and customers still can’t make the link between the data services they use and how they appear on the bill, in particular for mobile data roaming which is still billed by the KB or MB.
  • @SimonjMatthews: “Management of consumers and retention of them needs to move to proactive rather than reactive. Stop ‘winback’, start ‘keepthem’” – Customer retention strategies are often geared around contract dates and handset upgrade cycles. However, customer experience needs to be positive throughout the complete customer lifecycle and at all customer touchpoints.
  • @sevendotzero: “You can often find an excellent customer experience in niche operators, e.g. @giffgaff in the UK. Interesting social model” – I previously commented on giffgaff in the July 2010 edition of Evolve. Indeed social models are a great way to lower costs and create a group of ‘fans’ who advocate services to their own networks and communities.
  • @patrickjpr‎: “From a personal view, great cust exp is not no problems (unrealistic), but fixing them efficiently” – Each touchpoint with the customer is an opportunity to delight them. Exceeding customer expectations when fixing problems may be more valuable in the long run than a touch-free service where no contact may then be followed by churn.
  • @CarlEdgar‎: “Poor Information Management is a common theme amongst CSPs (and other large enterprises). Bad data quality impacts #CSPCX and its analysis.” – Our survey of small, medium-sized and rising telcos (SMARTs) confirms that integration of customer service channels with BSS / OSS systems is a critical issue. Being able to deliver a consistent multi-channel experience means avoiding data silos and depends on having a unified customer record with all data immediately available and accessible across all channels. Download our customer experience data sheet  for more insights into the strategies and priorities of SMARTs.

A great customer experience drives loyalty and profitability, and helps to achieve premium prices and brand differentiation. So why tweets, shoots and leaves? Well in the era of social media, dissatisfied customers will very quickly tweet their frustrations, shoot down your company reputation and then leave. You’ve been warned!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Customer Experience tweetchat. The latest developments can be followed on Twitter at any time, using the hashtag #CSPCX (http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23CSPCX), and a list of regular #CSPCX tweeps can also be followed here: http://twitter.com/Teresacottam/cspcx.

For further views on the recent tweetchat, check out the blog post from Jane Rygaard of Nokia Siemens Networks here.