The 7 myths of crowdsourcing and customer experience
Using crowdsourcing to develop a real-time picture of things is not new. Your traffic app does it, weather forecasters do it and you might use Uber now and again too.
So, if you were running a mobile network and wanted to know how good the network was at any point in time, what would you do? Peter Young, CEO of SpatialBuzz asks, would you rely upon network-centric performance management systems and equipment alarms as a proxy of customer happiness and then throw in a few customer surveys? Or would you want to check a crowdsourcing system to view customer satisfaction in real-time?
We think you might want to do a bit of both, but here are the top seven myths that we encounter when talking to mobile operators about crowdsourcing and customer experience:
- We already know where our problems are. Performance and fault management systems are a poor proxy for customer satisfaction. Some modern probe systems take things further, but ultimately, they’re a synthetic model of what customer and service satisfaction might be. Through crowdsourcing, we have watched world class operators get better at what they do by seeing problems faster, prioritise better based on customer impact, and most importantly of all, meaningfully communicate with their customers about their network.
- Customers might be wrong. No single person can ever offer the engineering surety of a propagation model or the simplicity of a green or red light on a box – but many people can. If there is a hotspot of dozens of customers on a map telling you there’s a problem then – quite simply – there is a problem. If the equipment is telling you otherwise, then it’s wrong.
- Our customers won’t report problems. As a mobile operator, you are likely to be one of the least trusted entities your customers deal with. But the good news is that customers are desperate for positive change. They will report, and they will do it in their thousands. Remember – you don’t need everybody to report, you just need enough to develop a statistical picture.
- Network transparency is risky. Or to put it a more transparent way, “if we don’t tell customers about problems then they won’t know about them”. Wrong. They already do, but most won’t bother telling their operator because the barriers to communicate are just so high. Customers already use websites like DownDetector and Twitter because they can’t find, or don’t trust, the picture painted by their operator. So – the route to trust is through transparency. Embrace it.
- “Going Digital” is mostly about billing. If an actionable network status checker is not already in an operator’s digital plan then we’d argue that any customer centric digital strategy is holed below the waterline. Customers want to engage about the thing that matters most to them – the network – so a digital plan must tackle this as a priority.
- Acting on customer input is reactive not proactive. Our industry is last for customer satisfaction so let’s start by getting the basics right. It is always good manners and good business to keep a channel open for your customers to communicate with you about the thing they are paying for. The additional beauty of crowdsourcing is that network problems fixed by the reports submitted by the few appears 100% proactive to everybody else.
- Things need to be complex to deliver strategic value. We see some truly dreadful customer facing network portals – clunky, inaccurate, complex, slow, ambiguous – just plain wrong and very often written from the operator’s perspective rather than the customers’. And when we dig further, we usually find they took months to deliver, cost millions and fall over just when they are needed most during major infrastructure problems. Our experience shows that operators can have a world class SaaS customer network engagement solution in as little as eight weeks. That’s eight weeks to show to the public that an operator is really walking the customer experience talk.
Nothing helps these myths evaporate faster than taking that first difficult step of accepting that the telecoms industry is at the bottom of the customer satisfaction league. Afterwards, it is about challenging old thinking, embracing new ideas, and walking the customer-centric talk.
The author of this blog is Peter Young, CEO at 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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