Editor’s Note: Welcome to our weekly Reality Check column. We’ve gathered a group of visionaries and veterans in the mobile industry to give their insights into the marketplace.
In an age of digital and mobile services, where end users now demand personalization and real-time interaction, customer experience management will be key to operators retaining and winning customers. If you are able to capture consumer behaviour more accurately, you can better understand what users want from services and in turn, increase revenues and ARPU while reducing churn and operating costs.
In recent years, operators have become adept at creating efficient, cost-effective processes on a massive scale. But key Internet companies and retailers have changed end users’ expectations, and processes that weren’t originally designed with the customer experience in mind now need to be rethought.
Some telecoms are already taking first steps to improve CEM and claim to be seeing benefits. In the U.K., BT has put in place its “Right First Time” program to improve the customer experience, using a series of metrics to track its progress. The company says its consumer division improved its one-contact problem resolution by 9% in the year ending in March, eliminating 45,000 repeat calls per week. BT is also embracing the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter to resolve queries and complaints and says it is seeing strong growth in that area.
Mobile operators are also using social media and online platforms to improve the customer experience, and it is the mobility element that promises to take CEM to another level. Giffgaff, owned by Telefonica O2, enables its subscribers to carry out operations such as sales, marketing and customer service themselves. Members of the network are encouraged to resolve questions and problems through online forums and integrated Facebook and Twitter applications. And in France, Orange has launched a mobile virtual network operator called Sosh, aimed at highly connected customers.
Through the use of Internet and social media platforms, Orange aims to create a community of users that will help to deliver new offers and services. Meanwhile Telefónica recently introduced a new customer relationship management (CRM) system with integrated social media functions for its global sales team. The cloud-based solution is now enabling the operator to have more flexible communications internally and with its multinational customers, using mobile and desktop devices.
Despite such advancements, a recent survey by Current Analysis found that most operators are still failing to adopt a holistic approach to CEM across their services and organization. The analyst company says operators in Europe and North America are still focused on individual aspects of CEM such as customer care and billing rather than a comprehensive, cross-organizational approach to CEM deployment.
The solution isn’t necessarily an immediate overhaul of all legacy systems. But operators that are able to put in place a cohesive CEM strategy and maximize mobility are most likely to benefit from reduced costs, increased revenues and satisfied customers.