Customers have clear ideas about what they expect in terms of technical support. Fredrik Edwall reveals what these are, based on the findings of Subtonomy’s research on customer preferences and expectations, and explains how these needs impact on customer service in the 5G era.
Sixty-five per cent of customers already say that customer service is an important factor in their choice of CSP. Their need for support always increases when a new technology is rolled out, until everything’s bedded in and they’re used to it, but 5G is game-changing when it comes to customer support.
5G isn’t just a faster network
It delivers the ability to dynamically assign resources and supports new ways for CSPs to create, deliver, and capture value – including complex new business models such as B2B2X and co-creation. This complexity means there’s far more to go wrong and supporting customers is therefore a lot more challenging.
At the same time, customers expect 5G to deliver a step-change in their experience and have distinct ideas about how they wish to be supported. If their needs aren’t met, not only will support costs rise, but customer service will be inundated with inquiries – lengthening wait times and creating even more frustration. Ultimately, if the support experience isn’t as expected, customers will vote with their feet, as South Korea discovered when it rolled out 5G.
The problem is CSPs are not starting from a great place
For example, according to our research only 10% of customers say they’d report a problem in the first 24 hours. In reality, that number is usually far lower, as low as 1-3%. If customers see support as so important, why aren’t they calling when they have a problem? The answer is that they’ve learnt to expect their service requests to be frustrating and to take a long time. Rather than get help, they prefer to suffer in silence.
It's tempting to believe that customers not calling is good, but it isn’t. Eventually customers get so frustrated they churn and because they’re not interacting with their CSP the CSP is starved of knowledge about their customers.
The trick is to increase customer engagement without raising costs or increasing the burden on call centers. But what about customers? What are their expectations of support? Our research revealed that customers want:
more channels - only 30% want phone support, 43% don’t see the phone as one of the top 3 ways they want to receive support and 87% say they want to be able to file complaints online
extended support times - 60% expect the same level of support during the weekend and 26% want 24x7 support
personalization – 90% want personal notifications of issues that affect them, 91% want personalized disturbance updates and 99% expect personal updates for open tickets
greater consistency – 88% want all customer touch points to be consistent.
It’s easy to think that these expectations only apply to consumers but, increasingly, corporate customers expect the exact same experience in their business lives that they receive for their personal communications. So if you’re delivering more dynamic, personalized and digital customer support for your B2C customers, you’d better be ready to do the same for your B2B customers.
All of this begs the question: how do CSPs meet their customers’ technical support needs more effectively? Using Subtonomy’s range of technical service tools, which provide data-driven, personalized technical support to customers themselves (Technical Self-Service), call center agents (SubSearch) and to those supporting large enterprises (CorpDash), our customers have:
reduced calls to customer support by an average of 20%
decreased time spent on trouble tickets by 47%
increased their first call resolution, resulting in 60% fewer escalations
increased their service-related interactions by 300%, but simultaneously lowered costs due to smart automation.
With the right tools it’s possible to deliver more responsive, personalized omnichannel support, while lowering wait times and decreasing costs. When technical customer support is more efficient, customers are more likely to interact with their CSP, which not only increases engagement and therefore loyalty, but also results in more data points that feed the CSP’s knowledge of their customers. More data results in more precise automation, which makes the support experience even better. The right approach delivers a win-win of happier customers and lower costs, creating a virtuous circle that enables support to continually improve and adapt.