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4 ways 5G will impact telco Customer Support

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Customer service agents working in a call center

The work of rolling out 5G core in Europe emerges. We all probably agree that 5G will once again revolutionize the way we use mobile network technology in our way of living, working and socializing.

Download speed and latency is one of the areas where 5G will deliver some of its paramount potential. The download speed from 4G to 5G is predicted to be up to thousand times faster and similar improvements in latency. With today's 4G connection, the general latency is 50 milliseconds and with 5G we look forward to speeds of one millisecond or less.

Another area that will significantly improve is capacity. 5G can support up to one million units per square kilometer, it is 10 times more than 4G. The capacity improvement is required to support the significant estimated increase in IoT units in the coming years.

As we continue to explore the potentials with 5G, we quickly realize that the possibilities are enormous, almost inconceivable. The new standards for download and capacity open up an ocean of opportunities in all existing business areas and a whole portfolio of brand-new ones.

The experience for the consumer will be absolutely phenomenal - but can you be certain to deliver 5G at any given time? And what happens when it does not turn out as planned? What if customers complain about their delivery experience? How can you verify what speed the customer is really getting?

5G & Customer Support

Most of the CSPs’ customers experience takes place remotely. Simple new sales and upgrading services can be done via digital platforms, but for technical support it is required that you contact a call center or store.

In our yearly Telco customer market study, 60% of the respondents’ state that they want to be able to contact their CSP during weekends and 43% don’t list phone as one of their top three alternatives to contact their CSP.

30% of your NPS consist of tech network delivery* – it is easy to assume that for those customers who specifically buy 5G subscriptions or 5G related services, this part is significantly higher. 65%** says that customer service is the most important or very important factor to consider when choosing a CSP.

The significance of 5G will unfold over time. The following, though, are four different ways that we can expect it to influence the telcos customer service offerings.

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1. Advanced Real-Time Personalization

The CSPs who deliver outstanding customer service are often the ones who have a unified customer-centric view. They focus on each individual customer's satisfaction at every step of the customer journey, as the cost of acquiring new customers is always higher than retaining existing satisfied customers who stay for a long period and upgrade their services.

In order to be able to deliver extraordinary and personalized service experiences in the CSPs' customer service organization, it is necessary to be able to act on large amounts of data. The vast majority of CSPs already have large amounts of rich customer data that they do not use efficiently in Customer Service. With this data collected in an aggregated customer-view the service agent is empowered to identify if, and what trouble, the individual customer is experience and recommendations on how to resolve the potential issues.

With efficient and modern tools based on Machine Learning and AI, the tools become even smarter. In this way, they will be able to deliver more reliable models for how, for example, the perceived service delivery should be in a certain area on a specific device with a specific OS version.

Several large operators in the Nordic and Baltic region, such as Telia and Telenor, have already started using the analysis tool SubSearch for their customer service organization in order to meet the need for advanced personalized technical support.

As a result, customers receive a personalized service experience with a faster resolution time.

Three smartphones with mock-up screens visualizing a series of notifications

2. Advanced technical self-service in your smartphones

The next step is to make the hyper-personalized customer service available to the consumers where they actually spend a lot of time - in their smartphones. Many organizations find it difficult to match data with customer data and evaluate how their customers actually experience their products. Not least in real-time.

Open APIs enable customers to get hyper-personalized technical support, straight in the smartphone. They could in fact receive the same information as a support agent can see in their analysis tool, but in a customized format in their CSP brand app. Around the clock.

For example, the customer may be in an area with planned maintenance work, which will affect 5G capacity for four hours. The vast majority (90%)** then want to be informed that their service is affected in the nearby area, via an app notification. They even wish to be proactively informed about maintenance work in areas where they are often located, such as at work or at home.

Another example is when there is a service disruption for voice calls, text or data. Despite the fact that there are sometimes major disruptions where some customers are affected for several hours, sometimes several days, very few (0,3%)** contact customer support to inform about their perceived problems.

The great thing about open APIs is that they can be used for various reasons. A technical self-service API in the 5G generation should at least inform customers if the service delivery does not live up to the required level, what the problem is, how it can be solved and when it is resolved.

To proactively prevent customers from even experiencing a degraded service level, an API should also return information back to the Network Operations Center (NOC). It simplifies how the NOC prioritizes amongst known trouble tickets and it becomes a seamless feedback loop.

As a result, it is possible to steer the operations towards a much more proactive customer experience center.

A person holding a tablet with a home control screen of the households IoT devices

3. Increase of IoT with self-service

IoT has been around for several years and is in itself nothing new to bring to the table. Thanks to 5G with lower latency and improved technical reliability, the number of IoT devices will increase significantly, as most market experts advocate.

Several of these newer IoT devices such as home alarms, thermostats can even notify the owner when they need maintenance work. With new technologies such as 5G and Augmented Reality (AR), many consumers can carry out this work independently at home with the help of clear instructions in an included app. Of course, the same information should be shared with the product manufacturer to prevent future problems and improve the customer experience.

A woman sitting in front of her laptop and waving with her right hand.

4. Accessibility to Video Support

For those occasions where AR and app instructions are not sufficient enough to solve the problem yourself, the next step is video support. With the better connection that 5G offers ultra-crisp video calls to customer service can be carried out. The technician can observe the issues in first hand through video which means that troubleshooting and guidance to solve the problem step by step, even in the case of complex and technical problems is simplified.

One thing is for sure - the communication service providers' (CSPs) customer service will need to change with 5G, especially the technical support.


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