The Brite:Bill team was busy at MWC16. Here is a round-up of key findings around market trends and priorities based on conversations with operators, industry analysts as well as with the many visitors to our stand!
Lack of customer-centricity leads to “bumpy” customer experiences
While many service providers are making great strides in the area of customer experience management (CEM), most still suffer from a lack of focus on the individual end-customer. There is a prevailing inability for service providers to adopt a more agile approach to change and incremental improvement. Poor alignment of online and offline channels still proliferates, as does the gap between brand promises and the expectations set to consumers and the brand reality delivered in in-life customer communications. This can cause ‘bumpy’ customer experiences, with service providers still stuck in their traditional thinking in terms of channels, internal organizational divisions and silos.
The race to meet the expectations of today’s “always on” customer
Consumers seek providers that can facilitate this ‘always on’ approach where they’re free to access relevant information or support from virtually any location at any time. Increasingly they interact with products and services whilst conducting their everyday lives and going about their usual business. Customers expect to be treated in the same consistent way, no matter where or how they interact with their service providers. They are channel-agnostic and expect brands to deliver upon their promises, be it online, in-store, on social media, on their website or mobile app, or when they call support.
This convenience has stretched their expectations still further. Inconsistent, disconnected and fragmented experiences negatively impact the overall brand experience and perception. This erodes trust, satisfaction and loyalty.
The CEM challenge
The challenge still remains to proactively deliver insightful communications, which factor in individual wants and needs, to smooth interactions and greatly improve customers’ brand experience from the moment they sign up to each and every other touch-point over the lifecycle of that customer. Customers increasingly expect a personalized experience when they engage with brands, and are more likely to respond to offers that are tailored to their personal preferences. However, customer expectations of instant, personal attention means they are quick to “opt- out” when frustrated by a broken experience. Time, rather than money, is fast becoming a key resource and motivating factor, and technology continues to shorten a customer’s expectation of the distance between a question and an answer. It’s vital that the CSP has a joined-up approach to dealing with customers and that they know who the customer is when they engage through any touchpoint, be it face-to-face, online, or on the phone.
How will Service Providers tackle these challenges?
CSPs need a new level of agility to respond to these challenges and make gradual and prioritized improvements to customer service by turning insights, data and feedback into action. Operators must learn to make smaller changes quickly and evaluate the success or failure of these initiatives equally quickly, applying the learnings to the next piece of work. This new level of iteration is certainly needed from a technology perspective but also from a business and organizational viewpoint. Providers must become ready to react to the ever changing market and evolving customer expectations.
Fixing customer journey paths that cause most dissatisfaction
A 360 view of the customer is key to delivering great customer experiences that are expected these days. CSPs need to harness the power of digital channels to monitor and investigate why a customer may not be reaching their goal. Identify the most common journey paths such as on-boarding, changing or upgrading plans, contract roll off, address change, roaming and billing and map to end objective. Focus on key sources of leakage as a starting point to avoid being paralyzed by data overload.
Break down silos and assemble the right teams to achieve fast changes. Silos limit your ability to see the full scope of the customer and their individual journey. Multi-disciplinary teams mean that smaller changes won’t require lengthy interaction with numerous different parts of the business. Build consensus on an action plan based on individual team knowledge, shared learning, data analytics and a deep understanding of the customer journey. The call center, social media channels, customer service, in-store and billing departments should have a shared view of the individual customer and what they are trying to achieve or resolve.
Personalization and relevance is key; seek solutions to adapt the content of customer communications depending on non-demographic subscriber parameters such as previous interactions, expressed preferences, measured preferences and behavior on other channels. Customers increasingly expect a personalized experience when they engage with brands. It’s no secret that consumers respond better to offers that are tailored to personal preferences and where they are on their individual customer journeys. Personalized, tailored experiences improve satisfaction, increase conversions, boost retention and loyalty and ultimately have an effect on growth and revenue.
CSPs are scrambling to map customer journeys and create seamless experiences. Many will have identified the same “in-life” customer painpoints. Service providers need to focus, not only on the digital front end, but must consider the backend technology improvement required to support transformation. Brands need to have the technology to handle cross-channel customer communications without a drop in quality or consistency. Companies need to look beyond CRM systems and take a holistic approach encompassing staff training (CSR), effective analytics to monitor performance and impact including behavioral analytics, multi-channel inbound communications and social media. Predictive technologies are also key in understanding customer sentiment such as propensity to call the call center or even to churn.
Being pro-active & pre-emptive
With a 360 view of each customer brands can take action and be proactive in providing care. Proactively communicating to consumers using their preferred channels improves customer relationships, increases trust and loyalty and reduces unnecessary inbound inquiries. For example, don’t wait for a customer to contact you with bill shock but reach out to them mid-cycle to provide context and explain the increase in cost. Improve the likelihood of improving NPS by dealing with a problem before they even know it’s a problem.
Finally, why was Brite:Bill so busy at MWC?
Billing is still a major factor of dissatisfaction and churn for telecoms customers. When bills are confusing and charges are unclear, customers get annoyed; worse still they may simply leave their service provider altogether. This churn continues to be an expensive problem for operators, as is staffing call centers where up to 40% of calls are billing related. With Brite:Bill, service providers are transforming static “demands for payment” into customer centric and engaging communications that are personalized for each and every customer they have. Billing then becomes a strategic customer communication as it combines factual data, such as how long the customer has been with the service provider and what products and services they subscribe to, with behavioral data, such as usage patterns and preferences. This creates a powerful customer-centric interaction. The value of this is measured in a notable reduction in calls to care (up to 30%) resulting in massive cost savings for service providers. We have brought significant technical innovation to be able to deliver mass personalization without the need for complex, expensive core billing engine replacement. This is disrupting the billing landscape and is why many service providers are taking notice. Forward thinking service providers such as Sprint, Vodafone, & Rogers Canada are already transforming their billing communications on the Brite:Bill platform.
Brite:Bill also gave a sneak peek at what’s coming next, following from the success of tackling confusing billing communications and based on requirements from existing customers, we will introduce a new product to tackle even more of the ‘in-life’ communications necessary for operators to create frictionless end-user experiences. For example, the disjointed communications around on-boarding new customers, where there can be up to 10 systems driven pieces, from welcome text to contracts, to asking them to sign-in to a portal and more. Service providers trust us with billing communications and therefore it’s a logical next step for us to add value.
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