Moving telecoms customer service online
Telecoms companies have historically had a poor reputation for customer service, something that our own research unfortunately verifies. Previously with little difference between service levels amongst telcos, customers didn’t have much choice, so there was little incentive to invest.
However this is changing as new entrants and technologies disrupt the traditional telecoms market. On the back of technologies such as smartphones and Voice over IP entering the mainstream, brands such as Tesco, Amazon and Apple are now major competitors – forcing telcos to take a fresh look at customer service if they want to reduce churn and increase sales. And this all needs to be delivered cost effectively to millions of customers, 24 hours per day.
Consequently more and more are embracing the web as a key part of their customer service strategy. New research from Ovum, based on a survey of telco customer service directors, has found that online portals will see some of the greatest growth in investment. This is backed up by Eptica’s own experience, from which we’ve identified four key advantages for web self-service:
Consumers have issues 24/7 – not just during business hours. Staffing a contact centre to meet this demand is tricky as it can be difficult to predict, leading to increased costs. Web self-service is accessible at all hours and scales to meet demand. It can also be combined with channels such as social media, as Australian telco Telstra has demonstrated.
2 Reducing complexity
Telcos are now offering a dramatically increased number of services and products. Whether it is TV, video on demand or more complex devices such as smartphones or iPads the consumer comes to the telco to sort their issues in the first instance. And these are more difficult to resolve - queries regarding smartphones can take ten times longer to sort out than for traditional mobile phones, adding to pressure on existing telco customer service resources. A web portal that enables customers to fix minor issues themselves eases this pressure and frees up agents to deal with really complex enquiries.
Telcos have worked hard to differentiate themselves from their competitors, investing significantly in building their brands. But what really sets them apart in a crowded market is the service levels they provide – and web self-service adds another channel to customer service and helps resolve more queries, faster.
Customers want to contact telcos across more and more channels – from retail stores to the contact centre and through social media. Ensuring that you deliver a consistent set of answers and messages and maximise sharing of the knowledge within the business is crucial to ensuring customers remain happy. A web self-service system that shares a knowledgebase with other channels (such as phone and email) provides this consistency and avoids costly silos of information.
With the telecoms market becoming more and more competitive the time is now for companies to invest and shake off their bad reputation for customer service.