Improving the Telco Customer Journey: Addressing Resolution

Customer Experience

Con­sumers today want their prob­lems addressed and rec­ti­fied imme­di­ate­ly. They expect you to han­dle issues in real time, as they arise. If you can­not, they have no prob­lem tak­ing their busi­ness else­where. In the Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions indus­try, first-con­tact res­o­lu­tion has nev­er been a strength. Yet there are steps we can take to improve the res­o­lu­tion process, ulti­mate­ly increas­ing cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion scores.

As part of the Tel­co Cus­tomer Life­cy­cle series, I dis­cussed the chal­lenges and goals of the first four phas­es of the cus­tomer jour­ney: Aware­ness, Con­ver­sion, On-board­ing and Cross Sell. In this piece, I explore Res­o­lu­tion, the fifth phase in the life­cy­cle. More specif­i­cal­ly, how Tel­co can lever­age employ­ees, insight and even cus­tomers them­selves to improve this crit­i­cal stage of the cus­tomer jour­ney. Despite offer­ing a good prod­uct at a com­pet­i­tive price, Tel­co cus­tomers will encounter prob­lems— how they are addressed and resolved is what real­ly mat­ters.

First-Con­tact Res­o­lu­tion in Telco—Key Chal­lenges 

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we may have a long way to go to sat­is­fy the needs of our cus­tomers. In fact, accord­ing to a 2015 sur­vey by Pro­ceri, the Tel­co indus­try ranks only slighter bet­ter than gov­ern­ment when it comes to cus­tomer dis­sat­is­fac­tion. Why? The major­i­ty of con­tract cus­tomers only reach out to an oper­a­tor if they have a prob­lem. While most of us appre­ci­ate the fact that things go wrong, we do expect the prob­lem to be fixed as soon as pos­si­ble to ensure any break in ser­vice is min­imised. Prob­lems can often be solved with the help of oth­ers, but delays in diag­nos­ing the issue cause anx­i­ety and frus­tra­tion for the cus­tomer. Here are some of the main chal­lenges Tel­co faces with res­o­lu­tion.

Cus­tomers are bounced between dif­fer­ent peo­ple or depart­ments in attempts to resolve prob­lems. Nav­i­gat­ing dif­fer­ent oper­at­ing hours of var­i­ous depart­ments is con­fus­ing enough. Now add try­ing to deci­pher which depart­ment han­dles sup­port issues ver­sus those that sell prod­ucts. Tedious.

Sup­port resources are out­dat­ed or inac­cu­rate. Often, cus­tomers will make the effort to resolve sim­ple prob­lems on their own, with help from sup­port resources of course. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, they often find online FAQ’s are out­dat­ed or wrong. Worse, many are sent into a nev­er-end­ing loop when try­ing to solve basic issues. Final­ly, no online com­mu­ni­ty exists for cus­tomers to share issues with peers or dis­cuss how prob­lems were solved.

Post res­o­lu­tion fol­low doesn’t exist. Effec­tive res­o­lu­tion involves not only resolv­ing the prob­lem, but also, fol­low­ing up after­wards to ensure the issue has been closed and the cus­tomer is sat­is­fied. With­out this impor­tant pro­ce­dure in place, many issues con­tin­ue or reoc­cur.

Work­ing Toward Improved Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ence Through Resolution—Goals

Issues will cer­tain­ly arise, but ensur­ing prob­lems that hap­pen across the life­cy­cle of the con­tract are as plea­sur­able as pos­si­ble improves cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. Nev­er­the­less, the chal­lenges list­ed above lead to three major oppor­tu­ni­ties that most Tel­co are los­ing out on:

The chance to strength­en rela­tion­ships dur­ing and post issue. While inter­ac­tion between cus­tomers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives is typ­i­cal­ly lim­it­ed dur­ing the life­cy­cle of the con­tract, prob­lem res­o­lu­tion pro­vides a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to strength­en ongo­ing rela­tion­ships. Invest in train­ing to ensure con­tact cen­ters have infor­ma­tion to address cus­tomer needs as they arise and make sure oper­a­tors know how to place con­ver­sa­tions into the con­text of the entire rela­tion­ship to sep­a­rate recur­ring com­plaints from first time prob­lems. Skilled rep­re­sen­ta­tives give cus­tomers the answers they need, improv­ing cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion lev­els improve across any issue they may have with your oper­a­tor.

Take advan­tage of upsell oppor­tu­ni­ties. Use the res­o­lu­tion phase as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to encour­age cus­tomers to use addi­tion­al fea­tures or ser­vices after inter­act­ing with you. Upsell ser­vices to cus­tomers based on usage/ behav­ioral infor­ma­tion gath­ered dur­ing res­o­lu­tion and raise aware­ness about fea­tures or ser­vices they may not be tak­ing full advan­tage of.

Encour­age pos­i­tive feed­back. Too often we hear neg­a­tive com­ments about Tel­co oper­a­tors who fail to resolve issues, and the frus­tra­tion peo­ple encounter when deal­ing with prob­lems. How about those cus­tomers who enjoy a seam­less expe­ri­ence, or were delight­ed with how they were treat­ed across the res­o­lu­tion phase? Encour­age pos­i­tive feed­back and make chan­nels avail­able for cus­tomers to share pos­i­tive expe­ri­ences. Com­mu­ni­cat­ing how spe­cif­ic issues were resolved may even min­i­mize call vol­umes and foot­fall into retail.

Gath­er dig­i­tal insight, and act on it. Know­ing why your cus­tomers are dis­sat­is­fied is half the bat­tle. Often times, unsat­is­fied cus­tomers will not reach out to call cen­ters but instead, voice opin­ions on dig­i­tal chan­nels such as mobile and social media. Gath­er dig­i­tal insight to alle­vi­ate some of the frus­tra­tions sur­round­ing res­o­lu­tion and bet­ter under­stand cus­tomer pain points. Data and ana­lyt­ics can inform deci­sion-mak­ing. Use it to guide action that can improve cus­tomer expe­ri­ence over­all.

Best prac­tices for improv­ing res­o­lu­tion in the Tel­co indus­try vary. How­ev­er, by under­stand­ing the chal­lenges the indus­try faces and the goals it strives to reach, more busi­ness­es can focus less on dis­sat­is­fac­tion and more on mea­sur­ing suc­cess­ful inter­ac­tions and improved cus­tomer expe­ri­ences.

Next week I dis­cuss the sixth install­ment in the Tel­co Cus­tomer Life­cy­cle series, Advo­ca­cy. Hav­ing strong, reli­able advo­cates of the ser­vice you pro­vide is more pow­er­ful than the mil­lions of pounds spent chas­ing replace­ments for those you lose. Delight your cus­tomers from the begin­ning with supe­ri­or ser­vice and when the need for res­o­lu­tion occurs, the expe­ri­ence will be noth­ing short of plea­sur­able.

Customer Experience
Chris Jenkins

Posted on 03-27-2017

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