Developing Customer Experience Management Strategies
Retaining existing clients rather than attracting new ones is now the focus for the telecoms industry and this cannot hope to be achieved without sound customer experience management(CEM).
The expectations of the service consumers will receive from their provider is also increasing, leading many to realize the systems they currently have in place are not enough to deal with the changing industry landscape.
Major mobile and broadband provider, O2, is among those recently making significant changes to boost customer experience, merging its sales and customer service directorates, and allowing for a consistent service between its store, phone and online platforms.
"We are streamlining our management structure so that we can invest more in the experience we deliver to our customers," a spokesperson for the firm said.
In the year ahead, more companies are likely to take steps to reach the same goal and continue to compete.
CEM Benefits and Trends
According to a report by Forrester, entitled the Business Impact of Customer Experience Management 2010, there are 3 key areas which will deliver increase revenue when a strong CEM strategy is in place.
The report correlated the relationship between a company's spot on its Customer Experience Index, which is judged on customer's evaluations on if a business meets their needs and is easy and enjoyable to work with, as well as the subsequent increases in loyalty.
It found when the Customer Experience Index score is higher, there is a rise in the three loyalty metrics, leading to an increase in revenue. These metrics led to people making more purchases across the year because of a good experience, a rise in new clients based on recommendations and a decrease in those who would have gone to another firm because of a poor experience.
These reasons are perhaps why many are predicting telecoms providers will be looking to boost their customer experiences this year.
Sanjay Kumar, industry vice president for communications and media at Progress Software, said, "The telecommunications field is very competitive, and service providers have to do what they can to differentiate their offerings."
In its list of predictions for the year ahead, Progress believes companies will focus on pre-empting and correcting problems before the customer becomes aware of them, building stronger relationships through personalising the service they receive and offering more mobile access to their services.
"Operators will be increasingly trapped in the gap between customer expectations for flexibility and speed, and the limitations in existing business and operational support systems," it added.
Implementing CEM Strategies
The view that current processes in place are not adequate to deal with rising customer expectations, or indeed new CEM programs, is one shared by Oracle.
It published research recently suggesting communications service providers are looking to boost their offerings, but currently does not have the systems in place to deliver a personalized customer experience.
Some 76 percent of those involved in the research said they intended to personalize their content to each individual, while 70 percent wanted to provide added value services and 68 percent wanted to offer a "compelling, intuitive user experience."
In contrast, a mere 16 percent actually had the systems in place to provide detailed information on individual customer preference. Less than half are capable of making recommendations to customers based on their current behavior.
Gordon Rawling, director of EMEA Marketing at Oracle Communications, indicated many companies have the systems in place which can deliver such insight, but are not utilizing them properly.
"It is a case of integrating customer data and systems across the organization and using this wealth of information to provide genuine insight into customer behavior and how the business can profit from it," he commented.
However, telecoms companies were said to be leading the way in being able to adapt to changing trends and 20 percent were said to be wasting time by inputting information in multiple customer management systems.