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Optimising the customer experience for SMARTs

The goal of this Telesperience research programme was to discover how small, medium-sized and rising telcos (SMARTs) felt about the customer experience they provided, as well as to provide a snapshot of their goals, expectations and current strategies. In this datasheet we present the findings from this research, including unique insights into the role the customer experience plays in the competitive strategies of SMARTs.

Optimising the customer experience for SMARTsKey findings from this research include:
  • - SMARTs see the customer experience as being critical to their business, rating its importance as 8.0 on a 1-10 scale (with 10 being critical). However, they expect its importance to be even greater in future, rating its future significance as 9.0.
  • - The customer experience is a key differentiator for SMARTs – both from other SMARTs and from their larger rivals. Overall, SMARTs rated the contribution of the customer experience to their ability to differentiate their offering as being 8.3 on the 10 point scale. However, for two-thirds of SMARTs it was rated even higher.
  • - 88% of SMARTs say their key customer experience goal is to improve loyalty. Seventy-six percent are seeking to reduce the number of complaints and queries, and 73% are seeking to improve the speed of resolving customer problems.
  • - The most popular customer service channel is now the online channel, with 90% of SMARTs supporting this or rolling out support for it. However, the fastest growing channel is social media. Today 40% of SMARTs are already using social media channels, and 30% more are actively seeking to rollout out support for these.
  • - A consistent multi-channel experience is important to many SMARTs, and they rated this as having an importance of 7.7 on the ten point scale. However, for a third of SMARTs it was even more important, with these companies awarding it 9 or 10.
  • - Six out of 10 customer experience systems being used today by SMARTs have been custom built either by the SMARTs themselves or by third parties. Although the penetration of commercial off the shelf software is growing, there is still considerable scope for further growth in this sector. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and other outsourcing options are relatively little used by this group of operators.
  • - Only 34% of SMARTs are happy that their current systems support their customer experience goals. Just under half (45%) are unhappy with their current systems, but are split on what to do about it. Around half of those unhappy with their current systems intend to replace them, but the other half said they could not do so in the next two years.
SMARTs can use the detailed findings presented in this paper to compare their own experience, beliefs, strategies and progress to that of their peers. To put this research into context, and to benefit from Telesperience’s views on key opportunities and strategies for SMARTs to enhance the customer experience they deliver, readers are directed to the accompanying Telesperience Issues Paper.