Five Ways to Enrich the Customer Experience

Posted: August 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

By Samantha Tanner, Telecoms IQ at IQPC

Customers are the most important part of a Communication Service Provider’s (CSP) business; after all, if a CSP doesn’t have any customers, they don’t have a business. Therefore, your customer experience strategy must reflect how important they are to you.

When putting together your customer experience model, take into consideration these five key aspects:

1. Emotions: Decide what emotions you are trying to invoke in your customers, and design an engaging customer experience around that.

Colin Shaw, founder of Beyond Philosophy believes that the process of turning customers into advocates has to be thought through—what does it mean to make them an advocate? What would it take to make them one?

According to Comptel’s CTO office director, Greg Scullard, the details of every event or transaction in customers’ lifecycles are key to winning hearts, minds and wallets.

2. Advocacy: Encourage advocacy by working toward a long-lasting customer relationship.

Andrew Williams, director of customer experience for Orange FT Group, believes that “the reason (advocacy is) important is that customers who are genuinely engaged with you and your service(s) are likely to stay longer and spend more money by buying more services or more expensive plans. But also, importantly, (customers) are prepared to go out there and tell their friends and family about what a great experience they’re having.”

3. Engagement: Actively seek out what services or actions will make your customers happy. Think about what your customers want and what they might require from you. For example, are they increasingly setting up smartphone plans? If so, one core desire will likely be fast data / Internet access.

Olivier Suard, marketing director at Comptel, explains that operators need to go the extra mile and be more interactive with their customers. By leveraging their OSS and network data, they can develop a complete picture of their customers’ behaviours, which will enable them to proactively engage with them, anticipate problems and ensure their satisfaction.

Likewise, be sure to listen to customers’ feedback. Subscribers are increasingly turning to social media as a customer service tool. Karl Whitelock, director, OSS/BSS business strategy, Stratecast agrees, finding that “what is most striking today is the speed with which customers react through social media. If a customer has a bad experience […] there can be a movement of thousands of others demanding a more equitable solution in just a few hours.” As mindsets change, so do the channels that customers want to be engaged through—be sure to listen and take note.

Dr. Nicola Millard, experience futurologist for BT Global Services, concurs: “The Internet’s given us a lot more choice than we used to have. So we’re seeing more people seeking advice via Googling or asking their social media connections. Often, the organisation is the last port of call.”

Image via TmoNews

4. Switch Focus: Change your mindset from being ROI-driven to being customer focused, and the ROI will come naturally.

Fifty percent of the customer experience is based on how the customer feels, explains Shaw. Relaying this message and integrating it into the way a company operates can be a challenge, especially when the overarching mindset is focused strictly on ROI. Because of this, he believes, it’s important to put yourself in the customers’ shoes. And over the past two years, , CSPs have really tried to focus on investing in customer care and driving brand loyalty rather than simply pushing products.

5. Never Be Satisfied: Keep going back to the drawing board and ask yourself if there is any way to further enrich or improve your customer experience.

Take, for example, Orange FT Group’s customer experience strategy. Every time a new product or service is launched the company maps out its customers’ journeys to try and understand what customers will want and what their needs are.

Emilie Smith, customer experience manager at Orange FT Group, says: “I think one of the things that we found is that sometimes there’s not an understanding across all areas of what actually happens, particularly at that beginning stage where a customer is doing his/her research. So, one of the things we do is take our staff back to being customers—we’ve seen that they then really understand the experience.”

In conclusion, if you want your customers to be loyal, and thus maximise revenue, work on your overall customer experience strategy. It goes a long way in portraying to your customers what kind of relationship you are hoping to build with them.

For more information on this topic and to listen to the original interviews, please visit www.customerexperienceevent.com.

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