Calling up better mobile customer service
In its short life, the mobile telecoms industry has changed dramatically. From the introduction of brick-like handsets aimed at business people in the 1980s to mass market adoption and the emergence of smartphones, developments have been non-stop. And with 4G networks around the corner, change isn’t going to end anytime soon.
The high speed nature of the mobile phone industry could explain its historically poor reputation for customer service. Indeed, research carried out as part of the 2011 Eptica Multichannel Customer Service Study found that both mobile and fixed line telecoms companies were incapable of answering questions asked via the web and email. The best performing company answered just 6 out of 10 basic customer questions online – with the worst scoring just half of that. This led to the lowest average number of questions answered (42%) of ten major industry sectors researched.
The good news is that mobile phone operators are now investing to improve customer service and to meet the changing needs of consumers. For example, Vodafone has said it will refit 75% of its 2,200 shops across the globe by the year 2015 so they have an ‘experience led store design,’ providing a fantastic service to customers. The stated aim is to take a leaf out of Amazon’s book and offer top class customer service in order to win and retain customers, particularly in an era of ever-more complex smartphones.
So how can mobile telecoms companies shake off their reputation for poor service? Based on Eptica’s experience here are five areas for improvement:
1 Use the web
Most mobile companies now provide web-based access to bills and customer service information. Make this as simple to use as possible so that customers can find what they are looking for quickly and easily and incorporate self-service systems into websites so that customers don’t need to call the contact centre.
2 Have experts available
From being the playthings of early adopters, smartphones are becoming more and more mass market phones. Therefore make sure you have experts on hand who can solve problems and explain complex concepts in a simple and straightforward way
3 Be consistent
Most mobile operators have a retail presence, online website and contact centre. Centralise knowledge so that whichever channel customers use to contact you on they receive the same, accurate answers.
4 Make customer service mobile
It is a pretty obvious point but customers are going to want to contact you using their mobile devices. Make sure your website is optimised for mobile viewing and consider having a specialist app available for download. However don’t just focus on these channels – ensure you are also covering incoming queries through social media, text and (of course) phone.
5 A picture is worth a thousand words
The best way of explaining complex concepts is often through pictures and video. So offer ‘how to’ videos on your website for setting up new mobile phones or services, making it simple for customers to get the most out of their purchase without needing a long call to the contact centre. And as they are web-based videos can be accessed 24x7, even outside the hours that your contact centre might be open.
In an industry as fast moving as mobile, change really is the only constant – so customer service can’t stand still. It has to continually evolve if companies are to win and retain increasingly demanding customers.