Communications service providers (CSPs) put a huge amount of effort into attracting new customers, but this could be wasted if they don’t pay attention to customers’ early experiences. In fact,  just the first ten days of a new contract can make or break the relationship. After this time, the customer attitude becomes fixed – for better or worse.

Those that are satisfied become advocates for their CSP, happily recommending it to friends and family. However, those that aren’t satisfied not only have already decided to leave at the end of the contract, but also spend its duration spreading negative views.

This thin line between love and hate – and the tiny window in which to do something about it – has been revealed in a new report published by TM Forum and sponsored by BriteBill, ‘Inspire loyalty with customer lifecycle management’.

Uninspired experience

The overall CSP customer journey can still fail to impress despite a CSP’s efforts to improve call centers and omnichannel experiences. This is particularly true in the first few weeks of the new customer relationship – the onboarding phase. The report states that this is a critical time in which CSPs have their first opportunity to make a lasting impression on customers. However, a single poor experience at this stage could take up to 12 positive experiences to counteract.

Turn problems into promoters

There are several tactics CSPs can adopt to improve net promoter score (NPS) and customer satisfaction in general. These can be summarized in the following objectives: matching service delivery to the promise, increasing accessibility and transparency, and improving responsiveness.

CSPs operate in saturated and competitive markets so they can’t afford to leave this revenue on the table or to ignore customer churn. They need to prioritize customer retention –  he link between retention and a positive customer experience is obvious and quantifiable. Australian operator Optus for example achieved a 1.4% reduction in churn amongst its retail post-pay customers by raising its net promoter score (NPS) by six points, while another large CSP saw a 3% decrease in churn following a 25-point boost in NPS.

A consistent customer journey

CSPs can avoid the pitfalls and create positive customer experiences across the onboarding process and beyond to enhance NPS and aid retention. The report outlines what a clear and consistent customer journey should look like and highlights the importance of the bill as the distinguishing feature in a contractual relationship.

The report also suggests finding 12 positive ways to interact with an unhappy customer should something go wrong – can you afford not to take maximum advantage and make a great first impression?

To learn more about strategies for improving your NPS, download the full TM Forum report here.