Telcos are fast realising that their competitive edge is no longer in merely offering a communications product or service. With a host of players entering the traditional Telco space, it’s important that they explore other possibilities to remain competitive; looking closely at the ever evolving needs of their customers could be the best place to start. It’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to understand what their customers want and customise their products and services to meet these demands. So what does a customer want from its telecom service provider?
In today’s “short attention span” environment, the competitive edge is moving away from just product and service makeup of features and price, but to the customer’s experience of the company’s brand and services provided. Whether the engagement is in the form of customer enquiry or complaint, the company’s response to those enquiries, or their direct connection to the customer through advertising and marketing campaigns; all interactions are collectively responsible for driving good customer experience.
The challenge of managing good customer experience is not one only faced by Telcos. In South Africa, banks are leveraging telecom provider’s data and communication services in order to enhance access to their online banking services and application suites, providing customers with a unique and meaningful experience. The increased usage of communication services in other sectors in other parts of the globe, for instance in Retail where brands are providing their own branded communication services to customers, is heralding potential for the same to happen in South Africa. To stay ahead of the curve, it is imperative that Telcos look at innovative ways to connect with their customers and provide best in class services for enhanced experience.
While there is a pressing need to meet the ever increasing demands of customers, Telcos will need to devise an approach that will differentiate them from their competitors. Delivering a holistic experience to their customers will become key to profitability and business longevity. In this disruptive digital world, digitization can add that extra edge to customer experience. Effective digitisation leverages IT and automation to develop new business and engagement models thereby improving customer experience and creating greater stickiness. The focus is the customer and the goal is to transform their user experience in how they interact with the company by leveraging self-service portals, dynamic instant information responses, real-time analytics, and rapid service fulfilment. What is also key is the extension of the service and product portfolio to embrace Digital content and services from a myriad of partners and “Over-the-Top” (OTT) players.
For a Telco effective capability in their people, processes, systems and data is critical to customer interaction. But these can also hinder its progress if not used and employed properly. These four elements comprise a typical systems engineering approach to enterprise enablement, and the optimisation and enhancement of these interactions in enabled through automation and information technology, with a focus on customer experience.
Digital transformation is the only way a Telco can create a seamless integrated environment that significantly enhances a customer’s experience at each touchpoint throughout the organisation, creating a customer centric ecosystem. Being customer centric ensures that the Telco has access to customer data and can effectively harvest and leverage the data to develop innovative models of interaction and product enhancements in-line with customers’ wants and needs. It also gives Telcos access to data which they can use to accurately identify hidden customer needs and interest areas. Through judicious use of applications, communication portals, online marketing tools, social media, and more, Telco’s can gain deeper understanding of their customer’s preferences, and address them accordingly.
Digitisation enables a Telco to utilise these tools effectively and ensure that they are all directed to the purpose of customer knowledge and interaction, across the same platforms. These elements need to be aligned to provide customers with a unified, consistent message and service experience across all engagement channels – which is a challenge currently faced by many companies.
Additionally, digitisation across the Telco’s ecosystem can help enhance their traditional service offerings in an entirely new light, through how it is presented to and consumed by the market. A previously run-of-the-mill service offering can be transformed and become instantly attractive to customers simply through digitalisation of engagement channels and service delivery.
Telcos who aren’t taking advantage of the many benefits of digital transformation and applying a customer centric approach to business, may just find themselves falling behind as early adopters of digital technology take the lead.
By Hrusostomos Vicatos, Business Development Executive for the Telco Sector at Wipro Limited and Gavin Holme, Country Manager, Africa, Wipro Limited