Why Customer Experience will Shape Telcos Business Fortunes

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User experience
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The telecommunications industry is authoritatively among the most pivotal in Kenya’s economy, cutting across key facets of the economy hugely contributing to the Gross Domestic Product.

Competition is rife, customer is king and business models and channels of customer interface have grown exponentially, particularly in the last decade. As such, customer experience as a success driver has never been relevant than today, thanks to the disruptive trends emerging in the 21st century across industries.

The latter-day telecom customers are discerning of the trends and gathered efforts for a share of wallet in the telecom industry and commensurately expect a better service driven by fundamental needs and as a result, demand more real time, intuitive and simplified experience.

This has completely forced telecoms to re-imagine their way customer service prism. The best way to re-imagine their engagement life cycle is by leveraging emerging technologies, which completely disrupts the way the telecoms deal with their enterprise customers – shifting from the conventional Business to Business (B2B) industry experience to a more Business-to-Customer (B2C) experience. This means more personalized customer services, data-driven insights, enhanced real-time and context-driven interactions, and end-to-end connections will mark every stage of the life cycle.

Out of this, a certain unprecedented pressure engulfs telecoms providers to invest resources both human and physical to bring world class customer experience to their enterprise customers. Specifically, this pressure is burdened by enterprise customer-support operations looking to understand the complexity of today’s environment, and then conceptualize, architect, implement and deliver outstanding technical customer support.

Given the nature of today’s global business, this requires a cloud-based customer support model built around people, process and technology. Closer home, telecoms like Telkom Kenya for instance have become a classic case study of firms that have had to make a volte-face of their model and internal systems to live up to customer demands and expectations.

Coming from a public sector-owned background fraught with legacy issues, and ongoing transition precipitated by the private investment has meant a strategic rethink into its operations to turn it to a future-fit telco. Never mind that the telco boasts the most advanced broadband infrastructure in the market which includes a 22.5% stake in TEAMs, a 5,000 km undersea fiber optic cable through Fujairah, UAE; a 10% stake in LION2 another 2,700 km undersea fiber optic cable through Mauritius; a 9.03% investment in the East African Submarine System Cable through WIOCC (West Indian Ocean Cable Company) and the management of the National Optic Fiber Backbone. Over Sh.6bn worth technological upgrades and infrastructural modernization has also been sunk in the business in the recent past

But this infrastructural superiority means naught to the enterprise customer without a dedicated enterprise customer-support. Such an insight triggered the creation and top-down rejuvenation of a dedicated enterprise technical support department through recruitment, training and retaining a team with the requisite blend of skills; designing optimized technical-support workflows powering world-class support to existing customers.

To the customer, this boasts a 24/7 support team, dedicated technical engineers assigned to each account, proactive detection and management of faults, shorter turnaround times for faults.

Off this strategic move has been contented customers and forthcoming revenue – for instance, from a turnaround of 48 hours on technical issues, the Telkom enterprise customer base now have issues resolved in less than 4 hours and high service availability scores for customers. The technical support team is also able to nab problems before they are reported by the customers and initiate recovery measures in good time enabling the team to meet and exceed customer SLA’s.

Granted, there is no one-size-fits-all surefire solution out for customer experience. It is the Holy Grail of modern businesses. However, the real value of customer experience is when telecoms start reducing the cycle times dramatically across the value chain and streamlining business processes which satisfy enterprise customer’s demands for greater agility and velocity and the enterprise technical support system is at the crux of it.

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