Ease of billing and customer communication are still important topics for telecoms companies of all sizes.
The recently published American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report* makes for interesting reading, as it seems that telecoms operators in the US are starting to take on board customer demands, at least in some areas.
When it comes to overall customer satisfaction, mobile phone services managed to score higher than last year (an increase of 1.4% to 74 on the 100-point scale) while fixed-line services remained the same at a score of 70. One element that has improved according to the report is ease of billing – this is up by one percent to a score of 77 for the fixed-line sector, and up 4 percent to a score of 80 for wireless providers.
This is good news, as easy to understand bills are an important part of creating a positive customer experience. Initiatives that address customers’ billing headaches are clearly paying off, but as always, there is room for improvement. The bill is not just a standalone monthly deliverable; it should be an integral part of an operator’s overall customer experience strategy. Not all operators recognize the value of the bill as a key tool to boost customer loyalty and reduce calls to customer care.
Call centers are often the worst part of the customer experience and unsurprisingly, this pain point is also highlighted by the ACSI report. Contacting customer service by phone scored the lowest in the customer experience category for telcom operators, at just 64 for fixed-line operators and 71 for mobile operators – both demonstrating a downwards trend.
Hopefully, over the next few years the introduction of self-service customer care and chatbots could improve these results. Customers are open to these new technologies: a recent survey conducted by BriteBill showed that half of the younger generation of customers would prefer to speak to a robot first for bill enquiries and a third (32%) agreed that chatbots are a good alternative to traditional customer care touchpoints.
Providing people with a new and simple way to tackle queries and concerns, while enabling them to access information easier and faster, should give telecoms operators another way to improve customers’ overall satisfaction levels.
Regardless of the technology being implemented and utilized, a key learning from the ACSI 2018 report is that quality of customer service and support really counts. In the long run, keeping your customers happy by providing clearly designed bills and enabling them to interact via the channels of their choice means they’re far more likely to stick with you.
* The ACSI annual index uses data from 250,000 customer interviews with more than 380 companies in 46 industries across 10 economic sectors, including federal and local government agencies, to create scale rankings out of 100 points.