Gone are the days when Service Providers (SPs) relied solely on price-based strategies to attract customers. Today’s digital customers prioritize experiences over traditional methods and telcos need to keep up with this change. We’re all after better experiences. Experiences that make the necessary feel delightful, unobtrusive and seamless. Experiences that align intention with the result and make us feel accomplished in whatever we put our hand to. In this blog post, we’ll dive into how to improve customer experience in the telecom industry and explore the various strategies and techniques that can help you enhance your customer experience.
Customer experience design (CXD) is essential as it shapes not only the customer’s experience but also their brand perception. How your audience feels about using your product correlates to how they feel about you as a provider. Poor experiences lead to frustration, while intuitive experiences create positive associations, and lead to repeat purchases. For many industries, CXD provides a unique opportunity for market differentiation.
What exactly is customer experience design?
CXD is the process of designing products and services that prioritise the customer and user experience. It’s a customer-focused design; when a decision is made, it is made for and on behalf of the user. The underlying intention of CXD is to match products and services with the requirements of users. All while ensuring the experience aligns with their expectations. A notable proponent of CXD was, unsurprisingly, Steve Jobs: “You’ve got the start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way round.”
So rather than designing and then shoehorning a product into the marketplace, CXD is more intentional. You find what your audience is searching for and design the product or service. Interestingly, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
Telecoms and customer experience design: a new differentiator
Telecom companies have found themselves behind the curve; a lack of awareness of the importance of CXD has led to its underinvestment. According to Kantar’s And in 2022, only 60% of customers expressed that they had emotionally positive experiences.
Just 14% of network service provider customers were delighted with their last interaction. This stems from the general perception that companies should prioritise the quality of service – coverage, speed, and performance over the service’s delivery. If the customer’s experience is the bridge between them and your product – or, indeed, your brand – then the quality of the experience is the sturdiness of the bridge and the pleasure of traversing it.
The underappreciation of CXD is also due to an inherited misconception: that customers won’t change their provider or have a lack of choice. In the past, phone companies held the keys, and too little competition ensured the concentration of power.
It’s for this reason that telecom companies have been slow to embrace, let alone begin, digital transformation. But now the market is much more dynamic and much more competitive. MVNOs have accelerated the transition to digital solutions and sought to differentiate themselves through improved customer experiences.
Why customer experience design matters
New generations have grown accustomed to excess. Their options for any service are typically bountiful and, consequently, make decisions based on the experience of a service – essentially, how it feels – more than the end result of that service.
That’s not to suggest the ultimate result isn’t important. It is, but it’s not enough to have a great, reliable service that’s frustrating to acquire, integrate or use. Customer experience is certainly impacted by the reliability of the service. But, for telecom companies, this knowledge is a given.
Broader differentiation comes from refining the customer experience in other ways. Not least in the control customers wield, the information they have access to. And in how they’re able to interact with their service provider through apps, portals, or customer service.
The consequences of poor customer experience design
The consequences of poor customer experience are never felt in isolation. A customer dissatisfied with one product or service becomes, in time, dissatisfied with the brand. Additionally, only 1 in 26 unhappy customers actually complain. The rest, just leave.
Poor customer experience design risks residual impact on the portfolio of products. And just as negative brand perception is never isolated to one product, the same is true for positive brand perception. But in reality, negative experiences stay with us far longer than positive ones.
Everything is now about the customer because the customer has the power. They’re in control of their choice, and there is no shortage of options to choose from. If the experience of using your product or service, or interacting with your business, does not match or meet their expectations, they are not encumbered by a lack of alternatives.
The quality of your product is important. But it’s not all that’s important – and oftentimes, isn’t even the most important. Appearances matter, and how an experience makes us feel determines whether we’ll repeat it. We’re emotional creatures, and our emotional brains are quicker than our rational ones. (Assuming the experience is rationally better, which isn’t always the case: bad experiences frustrate and waste time).
How to improve customer experience in telecom
Design cannot only target customers; it must revolve around them. Truly customer-centric telecoms experiences can significantly boost customer loyalty. Empathy is required, and a dose of common sense. if you don’t like the experience of using your product or service over market rivals, neither will they. They’re not beholden to loyalty, or to stay with a solution that they grow dissatisfied with.
3 Simple solutions on how to improve customer experience in telecom
- Engage customers. Find out what they’re looking for, what they appreciate and, conversely, what they do not. Customer requirements are always evolving, but common-sense assumptions can be made. A clear and uncluttered purchase funnel, reliable connection, easy access to key information and data, and smooth and responsive integration with devices. Still, no strategy should be based on guesswork. Research and engagement should validate all assumptions. Continual feedback is necessary to keep pace with continual changes in expectations.
- Recognise where you’re going wrong, and work rapidly to resolve it. Identifying problems is only the first step. Some may solve it through incremental updates, and others may require a head-to-toe reimagining of the product. Remember, your customers’ problems are more important than your problems. It is their story, and their needs come first. Your service must cater to behaviours and expectations, not insist upon their modification.
- Keep it simple, keep it clean. Determine the information customers need access to and don’t clutter their journeys with superfluous prompts or repetition. Your app, product or service should feel nice to be a part of – and, like a modern home, minimalist, purposeful and satisfying.
In summary, CXD has more benefits than it has disadvantages. We are also committed to helping telecom companies in designing the best customer experience via our HERO software platform. Contact us to find out more about it.