Telecoms and learning from your favourite restaurant
Imagine deciding to go to a new mobile operator after having heard so much (from them) about how great they were. You call them up and are greeted by a polite and friendly sales person who takes your details and processes your order.
Your SIM turns up, but you keep having problems with the network. You try to let them know, but nobody seems interested. You give up and decide that you won’t make the same mistake again. The bill arrives from a no-reply email address and the money automatically leaves your account. For many people, this might not be too difficult to imagine.
Would you expect the same thing to happen at a good restaurant? I don’t think so. If there was a problem, you’d raise your hand and a waiter would appear. You’d explain that there was a problem and it would be assumed that there was indeed a problem – because you are the customer, after all. Then the problem would be fixed for you and the restaurant staff would trace the problem back to the kitchen, for example, to make sure it did not happen again, says Peter Young, CEO of SpatialBuzz.
So, why in Mobile Telecoms do we often obsess solely with the kitchen (network alarms, equipment and engineering simulations) at the expense of giving our customers channels (i.e. the waiters) to let us know when things are not right? Is it because we don’t want to hear?
Or perhaps we are worried they might give us bad news? Or maybe we wouldn’t know what to do with all the feedback? Or is it because we don’t trust them? Because if we don’t trust customers, how can we expect them to trust us?
All operators get customer network issues, but it’s often the media storms caused by major network outages that highlight the Industry customer communication problem. Instead of engaging meaningfully with their operator, customers will often take to social media to complain that the operator was not able to tell them what was happening. It’s not hard to believe that the mobile telecommunications industry is right at the bottom of the customer satisfaction league.
Back at your favourite restaurant, the problem has been rectified and you are enjoying a freshly-made dish courtesy of the apologetic kitchen staff. You are happy, because even though there was a problem with your meal, it has been noted and rectified so quickly that you’ve had no time to become dissatisfied with the service.
You might even go as far as to write a review to commend how efficiently they dealt with the issue. Unsurprisingly, the food industry is second from the top of the customer satisfaction league.
What is it that operators want their customers to do when the network is not working for them – other than take to social media in their anger? The call centre tends to be a never-ending circle of “press 1” then “press 3” and then long stints of hold music. This unpleasant reality could be tackled if operators sought a new way of interacting with customers.
The call centre alone is not the answer. In the increasingly digital-era, operators must engage customers about the service they are receiving through a meaningful two-way channel. Other industries have revolutionised how they interact with their customers.
Amazon Prime, for example, has set the benchmark for customer service, topping The Institute of Customer Service’s league table for the second year running. Not only does Amazon Prime take the hassle out of delivery, its transparent, trusting, and attentive customer service breeds customer loyalty.
The same principle applies in the Telecommunications Industry, too. Customers who are listened to and receive a good service become more engaged with their operator and will spend more. Just like they do at their favourite restaurant.
The author of this blog is Peter Young, CEO of SpatialBuzz
About the author:
Peter Young is the CEO at SpatialBuzz, a cloud-based customer experience analytics and service monitoring specialist. He has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry in various leadership roles within product management, operations and sales.
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