Addressing the market of digital-first users
From cost-saving strategies to challenges in customer experience, the telecoms industry is adapting to a world driven by social media and digital commerce. Are CSPs equipped to meet the demands of this new era? In the first blog of a new series, Tiago Lopes examines the changing digital landscape and explores strategies for delivering exceptional customer experiences.
For over a decade, CSPs have been leveraging digital channels to allow end users to manage their accounts and place orders online. This strategy, which significantly reduced the operational costs associated with sales and support staff, has been widely adopted and endorsed by key stakeholders, especially when combined with automation.
However, this approach has often led to customer frustration due to complex Interactive Voice Response (IVR) flows, counterintuitive web interfaces, and interactions with chatbots unable to deal with anything but a standard enquiry. Over time, this has eroded customer satisfaction.
According to the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) 2023 survey, satisfaction in the telecommunications and media sector sat at a score of 75.4, having fallen by 1.6 since 2022. This puts the sector lower than banks, insurance and retail, but higher than public services and utilities.
For a while, the focus on operational efficiencies at the expense of customer experience was not a concern, as most established CSPs were all moving in the same direction, and consumers had limited alternatives. The first to challenge this status quo were the MVNOs, who targeted niche market segments and communities, providing consumers with more options and a streamlined customer experience.
In recent years, and certainly accelerated by the pandemic, there has been a steep increase in digital commerce and social media consumption. Social media platforms have become powerful tools for companies to market their brands and promote their products and services. This has given rise to a new consumer segment that prefers to get information via social media and make purchases through digital channels, rather than visiting stores or speaking with sales representatives in person or over the phone.
As a result, a new wave of MVNOs has emerged – primarily mobile-first brands that advertise on social media and direct consumers straight to their commerce applications. Understanding and optimising the customer experience throughout these journeys has become a daily task for those capitalising on this new trend.
However, instead of focusing solely on digitalisation and automation KPIs, which are mostly related to operational aspects of a CSP’s business, they are now required to measure digital experiences through two new KPIs:
- Digital engagement, which measures the frequency of interactions via self-service applications compared with assisted channels.
- Direct sales revenue via digital channels, which measures income generated by leads from internet and social media campaigns that are fully completed via digital channels.
BSS/OSS suppliers have also had to adapt to these changes, evolving into customer experience platforms that support tailored and engaging user journeys, enable advanced digital strategies and transformations, and ensure that CSPs can successfully convert leads generated by social media advertising into completed customer orders.
CSPs now need a strong presence in digital marketing and sales to cater to these new consumer habits. Moreover, they must use these channels to provide frictionless onboarding and exceptional customer experiences, increasing brand awareness to acquire new customers and retain existing ones.
While these new technologies may be perceived as complex, in such a fast-paced world, there’s no need for them to be. The world of digital is meant to be simple.