Self-help for your self-care

Self-help for your self-care Richard Doughty, Senior Consultant at Cerillion, looks at how the new generation of self-service platforms can become a key revenue generation tool as well as underpinning your customer experience strategy.

Customer self-service has been a key component of a billing platform for a long time, however the requirement for this module has traditionally come less from an idea of customer service and more from the perspective of reducing the cost of providing that service to the customer. And certainly not from an angle of increasing revenue. But how can you increase revenue by letting customers look at their bills online?

“Empowering people” is usually a term you might expect to hear at some west-coast self-help guru led seminar, not from your billing vendor. So just for the moment imagine I’m a perma-tanned motor-mouth who’s promising to make your customers happy, increase your revenue, improve customer retention and reduce your cost of operation, and hear me out……….

Empowering people is about giving them confidence, in this case we’re talking about confidence in the services they use from their telco provider. Confidence comes from having information and the tools to act upon it. A big part of Cerillion’s move in to convergent charging has been the wealth of information we can provide to the operator and to its customers, and the timeliness in which this can be offered. In the context of a customer and their usage, this is about letting them know in real-time what they’re using, what it’s costing them and how much more they can use. Provided in the right way, this can stimulate usage.

‘Bill shock’ is a well-known phenomenon, almost a parable of our modern age. The stories of holidaymakers returning to a £2,000 bill are an all too familiar tale. So much so that these days it is has become standard practice that in the departures lounge of your local airport most people turn-off data roaming. But if you can give your customers confidence through targeted products, visibility and control of their usage, and the tools to manage that spend in real-time you can change that behaviour.

So, for example, you can offer travellers a capped £5 data roaming allowance and then notify them as they consume it. You can also provide free access to your self-care portal from a mobile device, even whilst roaming, and free usage of a mobile app, both of which provide real-time balance information. They become confident that the capped ‘bolt-on’ they bought really is just that and they can see their spend stop as they reach the limit. What happens next is that when they need more, they have the confidence to buy more. And if they can do that with a couple of clicks from that free, always-available self-care, or from their mobile app, wherever they are in the world, then they start to spend more and more.

So, where there was no usage and no revenue, suddenly there is some, and a growing amount. You’ve also brought that customer in to more frequent contact with your portal, you’ve improved their confidence in your services and they’ll do more and more through the portal and less and less on the phone with your agents.

This is why we have invested in building out our new self-care platform, Cerillion Self Service, using responsive web design (RWD) to provide a seamless experience across any device or browser. It allows customers to manage their spend in real-time, including setting thresholds for notifications and spending controls, as well as enabling them to buy temporary boosters for many types of services and region-specific usage. They can also upgrade services and refer friends, create auto top-ups and redeem vouchers, and even share balances with family friends. And in case you were wondering, they can of course look at their bill too.