The subscribers at a Communication Service Provider (CSP) today are generally underserved when it comes to customer service in general and specifically for technical customer support.
It’s more a rule than an exception that the CSP try to avoid actual interaction with the customer base with all possible means: having the customer go through endless FAQ-pages and efficiently hiding the contact form and customer support number, so the hurdle of just getting in touch with the CSP i painful enough. If the customer eventually finds the means of contact, the waiting and response time can be very long and eventually the received response are often unsatisfactory due to poor tools and knowledge at the CSP technical support.
In a time when automation is a key word (automated operations, automated customer onboarding, service delivery and orchestration), customer service is slacking. The customer journey is smooth and simple until there is a technical issue – that’s where the journey often becomes full of hurdles and sharp turns.
But trying to avoid issues does not make them go away and what if there is a hidden gem that the CSP is missing out on? Not only are the subscribers underserved, which itself is measurable source for dissatisfaction and churn, but also the customer feedback as an asset is underutilized. If we should learn just one thing from the approach of the big internet companies, it should be that customer engagements and reactions really is that – a valuable asset.
If a CSP would be able to provide their customers with the means to engage with customer service with their channel of choice – may it be through an app, via a digital assistant and why not via a phone call or a visit to a branch store – those engagements sum up to a great source of intelligence that can be utilized for the benefit of the customers as well as for the CSP itself.
It can be utilized to train models to provide proper responses and recommendations for mitigations for the customer issues.
It can be used to map the customer service engagements with network location or nodes, to service platforms, to customer equipment etc. This information can provide the service and network operations center with a knowledge about what issues in the network creates the most custom engagements, and thereby important input for prioritization.
It can be used to provide intelligence for the network and service planning, by understanding in what parts of the network or what service platforms provides most engagements.
And not least, it can provide increased intelligence for customer retention and churn prevention. Technical issues are a large part of the reason customers churn and being able to see what issues customers are engaging is an important part of the puzzle to eventually understand what customers are prone to churn.
As an addition to the last bullet above, this can also be combined with actively measuring customer perception of service delivery and map that to both the active customer engagements as well as the measured customer experience in the network, providing an even better means to apply AI and machine learning to also predict detractors in the network. If this done successfully, there are endless possibilities to use that data in customer service, in business intelligence and other areas.
To achieve the above, the first step is of course to get the customers to engage. This can only be achieved by providing good quality in the responses and recommendations provided to the customer. The customer needs to feel that the message from the CSP is transparent and consistent, no matter what channel is selected, and that itself can only be achieved by having a common platform that serves all channels with similar type of responses and recommendations. This tool should:
Empower the customers and customer service agents with fast and accurate information and recommendations.
Have the ability to have a consolidated view of the customer experience – from the network and service experience to customer equipment performance
Provide information about known issues and alarms in the network that may affect the individual customer – and this information should be correlated with the measured customer experience.
Support different channels of accessing the customer experience data and recommendations, providing a consistent message through all channels.
Correctly executed the platform will not only provide the hidden gems, but also provide a more efficient customer service, encouraging customer to use digital channels, shortening the resolution times and decreasing the need for escalations. At the same time, the customers will be better served and customer satisfaction will be increased.
Customers, now and going forward, will expect a smooth and efficient customer service from their CSP’s. Automation is the only viable way forward to accomplish this and it will be serving both the customer base and provide underutilized intelligence, necessary for future success.