Best Practices to Ensure a Flawless Customer Journey in the Telco Space

 

Despite being built for strengthening customer relationships, contact centers have unfortunately become a hub for customer complaints. Australian telecommunications leaders are using multiple avenues for managing service issues today, including phone calls, live internet chat, email, social media, and more. But the real customer service experience only begins once that interaction takes place.

Closeup portrait young angry business woman, corporate employee talking on cell phone, having unpleasant, bad conversation, isolated white background. Negative emotions, facial expressions, reaction.jpeg

 

In Australia, complaints on internet services and their providers rose by almost 100% in the past financial year. And an international study commissioned across 10 countries found 40% of Australians feel companies have failed to meet their expectations. While these figures are alarming, they can also be a timely reminder to Australia telecommunications companies to re-evaluate how complaints are received, and look for new ways to implement customer service practices that optimize customer satisfaction.

Here are three methods telecommunications leaders can use as a starting point:

Don’t take it personally

Consumers are tired of calling customer service numbers, only to hear: “Sorry, all our operators are currently busy, please hold. Your wait time is approximately 15 minutes”. By the time their enquiry is answered, they are agitated by the extended wait time, adding to their list of issues with the network. This may cause the customer to lash out, directing all the anger they have for the network towards the customer service officer. Unfortunately, in that circumstance, there is a natural tendency to slip into a defensive mode which can escalate the issue. I think the most important goal is to focus on the customer, and not take it personally. You could admit fault, apologize for the waiting time and reassure the customer that their issue is being addressed. Always keep in mind that happy customers stay customers, pay their bills, and eventually become brand advocates.

Phone etiquette: Humanize the conversation

First impressions last, and it is no different with customer service calls. In these scenarios, the customer service officers are the face of the telco, and their initial approach will set the tone for the entire conversation. Just reading from a script can disrupt the human interaction element and create distance between the company and the caller. In saying that, it is always important to sympathize with the customer and relay that their problem and frustration are understood, while still maintaining a positive attitude. Telco leaders can implement simple tips to help in the overall quality of the call such as not interrupting a complaining customer, and always listening to the whole story, even if it feels unnecessary.

Respect consumers’ short attention spans and smartphone addictions

Consumers today are addicted to their smartphones, with almost a third feeling ‘anxious’ without them, and an overwhelming 91% turning to their phones for ideas in the middle of a task. When providing customer service on any communications channel, it is critical for organizations to recognize the high chances of the person at the other of the line using their smartphone as they speak to find further information about that business or, in worst case scenarios, their competitor’s business.

The first step to addressing this challenge is having adequate information available and accessible on mobile channels, and ensuring these platforms are integrated with the business’s other customer-facing platforms for a seamless and measurable customer experience. By being able to clearly track and understand how a customer is interacting with a brand through social media, their website, online chat, and customer service calls, everyone within the organization — from the customer service officers through to marketing and senior management — are then empowered to address existing customer issues while foreseeing and planning for future customer needs. Remaining one step ahead of customers in their own journey with a brand can ultimately help improve customer acquisition rates, optimize up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and boost customer loyalty.

As the telecommunications sector becomes increasingly competitive, maintaining a high standard of customer service will be a key differentiating factor between the industry’s leaders and laggards. Following best practices in delivering customer service is integral. But supporting these efforts by investing in the tools and resources to ensure a seamless end-to-end customer experience will be the defining factor for success as consumers continue to interact and demand more from brands through an increasing number of channels and platforms.