NEW DELHI: Comviva, the global leader in providing mobility solutions, and TM Forum, have jointly unveiled a comprehensive report on the state of customer experience in the telecom industry. Titled, “Want to Drive Business Benefits? Improve Customer Experience”, the report surveys telecom representatives including heads of customer experience and digital transformation and chief information officers globally.
The report is aimed at examining why improving customer experience has come to the fore and what challenges operators face whilst ensuring customers obtain a “digital-first” experience. It also highlights the key lessons imparted by digital natives and their peers who have succeeded in improving customer experience.
A key takeaway is that providing an optimal customer experience is atop every operator’s list. In fact, the report validates this fact, by highlighting that while almost 90 per cent of consumers have a higher opinion about a company that remembers their previous interactions, a quarter of them will switch providers after just one bad experience. However, in today’s omni-channel, digital era, customer experience is no longer adequate to ensure success.
Today, customer interactions are becoming increasingly digital, with influence from digital natives such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, being paramount. The need of the hour, therefore, is for operators to provide a contextual and personalized experience to customers. This, in turn, will drive overall business value, ensure customer retention and reduce churn. As per the report, operators, thus, must decide whether they want to provide a truly integrated omni-channel customer experience or whether they want to migrate towards a fully digital experience, which is appealing in terms of cost efficiency.
This process is, of course, linked to the larger aim of digital transformation. As per TM Forum, a key driver for digital transformation is improving customer centricity. Other factors include:
Before this can be executed optimally, however, several challenges remain. TM Forum’s interviews with operators reveal that persistent tension exists between the grand aims of improving customer centricity through digital transformation and the realities of day-to-day operations. In addition, the data collected from multiple customer touchpoints ought to be available in real-time or near real-time to be valuable.
Most importantly, operators ought to be able to act upon this data. To achieve this, the very structure of the organization must be realigned culturally to prioritize the processes and behaviors that underpin them. Elaborating on this, the report states that customer centricity must start at the top of the organization and become pervasive. Disconnects between employees and executive management appear to be a source of significant frustration. While employees feel the need to convince senior management of the importance of the customer experience, it is surely incumbent upon management to recognize the need for change and set the agenda. All employees should be incentivized to deliver a positive impact on the customer experience.
Speaking on the occasion, Aditya Dhruva, Chief Technology Officer at Comviva said,” In today’s digitally enhanced world, telecom customers are comparing their experiences to other disrupted industries (Netflix, Amazon) and finding telecom companies falling short of their expectations. In fact it would be fair to say, that even today, after many years of digitization, telecom customers are still waiting for that new subscriber experience, touted as revolutionary and transformational, with customer centricity at the heart of everything. In this report, we have highlighted the challenges, the opportunities and the path forward for telecom companies who want to digital service providers.”
Mark Newman, Chief Analyst at TM Forum said, “This report brings insights from customer experience practitioners from the frontlines of the industry. The key finding is that CSPs aren’t taking full advantage of the resources available to them, and while they are leveraging data to understand their customer and serve them better, many lack the ability to innovate with customer centricity at the top of their mind.”
The report has many recommendations for CSPs with customer centricity as the main focus area. Chief among them is using CSP capabilities for providing enhanced customer experience for the end user. In order to unlock this opportunity, CSPs will require to bring a cultural shift in their organization, from a hierarchical to a flat structure that spurs innovation, from a closed loop to an open loop system that allows enterprise of all shape and sizes to use their capabilities through APIs.