Improving the Telco Customer Journey—Strengthening Consumer Advocacy

Customer Experience

Today, con­sumer expec­ta­tions have increased dra­mat­i­cal­ly and the pos­si­bil­i­ty to churn has nev­er been so great. Hav­ing strong, reli­able advo­cates of the ser­vice you pro­vide is more pow­er­ful than the mil­lions of pounds spent chas­ing replace­ments for those you lose.

With access to rec­om­men­da­tions, griev­ances and peer reviews at their fin­ger­tips, con­sumers today are no longer at the mer­cy of the busi­ness­es that pro­vide the goods and ser­vices they need. Par­tic­u­lar­ly in telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, where more choice has empow­ered cus­tomers, long-term busi­ness suc­cess will depend on trans­paren­cy, trust and the fruits of a robust cus­tomer advo­ca­cy strat­e­gy. Brand advocates—those who cheer­lead for your prod­uct and ser­vice are high­ly influ­en­tial. And it’s easy to see why. Nine out of ten con­sumers cite rec­om­men­da­tions from friends and fam­i­ly as the most trust­ed form of adver­tis­ing worldwide.

In the strug­gle to out­pace the com­pe­ti­tion, smart Tel­co busi­ness­es rec­og­nize supe­ri­or cus­tomer expe­ri­ence as a true dif­fer­en­tia­tor. Yet despite a myr­i­ad of loy­al­ty and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion pro­grams, cus­tomer advo­ca­cy lev­els remain low. With cus­tomer expe­ri­ence top of mind, what accounts for low rates, and what can man­agers do to strength­en advo­ca­cy and dri­ve growth in the Tel­co industry?

In pre­vi­ous posts, I intro­duced key chal­lenges and goals of the first five of sev­en phas­es of the Tel­co Cus­tomer Life­cy­cle: Aware­ness, Con­ver­sion, On-board­ing, Cross Sell and Res­o­lu­tion. In this piece, I dis­cuss the sixth phase—Advo­ca­cy, along with chal­lenges and strate­gies for improv­ing this crit­i­cal stage of the Tel­co cus­tomer journey.

Dri­ving Growth Through Advocacy—Key Challenges 

Dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing fac­tors are dis­ap­pear­ing. In the world of Tel­co offer­ings, dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion between oper­a­tors is becom­ing hard­er and hard­er. Why? Net­work infra­struc­ture, such as cell tow­ers are shared to reduce oper­at­ing costs and con­form to tougher envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions. In addi­tion, price plans tend to offer unlim­it­ed data and voice. As a con­se­quence, cus­tomer expe­ri­ence is becom­ing more and more impor­tant for both retain­ing an exist­ing cus­tomer base and attract­ing new customers.

Dif­fi­cul­ty adapt­ing. With on-demand every­thing, cus­tomer atti­tudes and behav­iors are chang­ing faster than Tel­co rep­re­sen­ta­tives can adapt. Poten­tial cus­tomers are seek­ing out and find­ing infor­ma­tion through social media chan­nels, rely­ing on peer reviews and rec­om­men­da­tions from friends and fam­i­ly to guide deci­sion-mak­ing. There is also an emo­tion­al aspect to advo­ca­cy, and those who are impassioned—both pos­i­tive­ly and neg­a­tive­ly make their voice heard.

Lack of action­able out­comes. The con­verse of advo­ca­cy must be tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly if there is no action­able plan in place to iden­ti­fy and address cus­tomer expe­ri­ences that have been neg­a­tive. How is the indus­try cur­rent­ly mea­sur­ing cus­tomer expe­ri­ence? Cus­tomer Sat­is­fac­tion Sur­veys (CSAT) mea­sure user sat­is­fac­tion with prod­ucts, and Net­work Pro­mot­er Scores (NPS) can inform about cus­tomer loy­al­ty, but both fail to account for the big­ger picture—the rea­son behind the num­bers. With­out action­able out­comes to address issues, net­work per­for­mance, brand advo­ca­cy, cus­tomer and employ­ee sen­ti­ment and touch­point inter­ac­tions sim­ply col­lect data and mea­sure trends over time.

Build­ing Con­sumer Advo­ca­cy In Telco—Strategy and Goals 

Win­ning with advo­ca­cy in Tel­co involves pri­or­i­tiz­ing and embrac­ing a plan for fur­ther­ing the fol­low­ing strategies:

Rock cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. Devel­op more detailed pic­tures of cus­tomer wants and needs, and use those insights to more effec­tive­ly deliv­er cus­tomized prod­ucts and ser­vices that cre­ate suc­cess­ful cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. Lis­ten to cus­tomers, and build a closed loop mech­a­nism to reach back out to them to demon­strate that you have lis­tened and are tak­ing action. High­light areas where cus­tomers have been delight­ed to help repli­cate suc­cess­ful strat­e­gy across the wider business.

Cre­ate two-way dia­logue with cus­tomers. Cre­ate on-going dia­logue from the moment cus­tomers inter­act with your brand. Open com­mu­ni­ca­tion is a dif­fer­en­tia­tor, and helps dri­ves true advo­ca­cy between the cus­tomer and Tel­co rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Remove the “util­i­ty” phase and replace it with a per­son­alised con­ver­sa­tion based on a pro­gres­sive pro­file cre­at­ed and enhanced each time con­tact is made with an oper­a­tor. Trans­par­ent, ongo­ing inter­ac­tion will com­pel cus­tomers to pro­mote and rec­om­mend their Tel­co provider.

Pro­mote rela­tion­ship-build­ing to improve and grow. Encour­age con­ver­sa­tion with your cus­tomer at a giv­en moment in time and across the rela­tion­ship to cre­ate a “tem­per­a­ture gauge” for assess­ing how hap­py they are with your brand. This will help iden­ti­fy things that can be done to improve expe­ri­ence over­all and help find sim­i­lar cus­tomers across the installed base.

Today, con­sumer expec­ta­tions have increased dra­mat­i­cal­ly and the pos­si­bil­i­ty to churn has nev­er been so great. Hav­ing strong, reli­able advo­cates of the ser­vice you pro­vide is more pow­er­ful than the mil­lions of pounds spent chas­ing replace­ments for those you lose. Get it right the first time, but if not, learn from your mis­steps to ensure it doesn’t hap­pen again.

Next week I dis­cuss the final install­ment in the Tel­co Cus­tomer Life­cy­cle series, Reten­tion. Stop cus­tomers from think­ing about when their con­tract ends by ensur­ing they get the most from your rela­tion­ship to decrease churn, reduce the need to attract new cus­tomers and most impor­tant­ly, dri­ve more advocates.

Customer Experience
Chris Jenkins

Posted on 04-03-2017

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