Is customer service the telecoms industry’s biggest threat?
Customer satisfaction has increased by 0.8% since this time last year, according to a survey conducted by the Institute of Customer Service, writes Steve Smith, the vice president of strategic industries at ClickSoftware. It is also at its highest point since January 2013.
For telecoms organisations, customer satisfaction is actually lower than all other categories of service, with 74% of responding customers replying that they were satisfied with the service received. While approval towards the telecoms industry has increased by 1.1% since July 2016, it remains the industry with the lowest satisfaction in customer reviews. At the same time, the competition over customer satisfaction and acquisitions in the market is only expected to do one thing: intensify.
However, this competition will likely face a long uphill struggle if it doesn’t address the unavoidable issue that customers’ expectations simply aren’t being met. In ClickSoftware’s 2017 Field Service Report, it was suggested that greater customer engagement was needed in the telecoms industry, a verdict shared by respondents from seven different countries.
This widely-held opinion appears to be unanswered due to a divergence of interests, with customers primarily concerned with real-time communications and customer transparency, whereas telecoms companies seem to be more engrossed with implementing new technologies. And this frustration at the industry’s seeming failure to respond to requests is not going unnoticed. In his articles, ‘Poor customer service remains the Achilles of telcos’ digital transformation efforts’, and ‘Make Omnichannel a Cornerstone of your digital transformation – The Telco angle’, Forrester analyst Dan Bieler explains how rampant customer dissatisfaction is overwhelmingly present in the telecoms industry.
The clearly expressed dissatisfaction should definitely serve to remind telecoms companies of where their attention should be directed. Complaints are not simply one-offs and anomalies, but noticeably common. Realistically, telecoms companies should be looking to end – or at least reduce as much as possible – appointment cancellations and wait times that take far longer than expected, particularly where the application of efficient technologies has solved these issues in other industries. As a first step towards winning back the hearts of customers through service reforms, the world of telecoms needs to embrace these heightened expectations, not reject them in favour of other technologies that will do very little to retain customer loyalty and brand reputation.
When it comes to social media, with more channels for venting than ever, brand image can be bolstered or destroyed in the type of a comment and the press of the ‘enter’ button. Family members will see it, friends will see, strangers may see it, and that’s even before anyone’s considered resorting to the ‘share’ option. Criticism through social media is impossible to avoid, but the only antidote is a thorough improvement of customer service itself, through and through.
Telecoms companies have a broad diversity of options when it comes to improving customer service in order to keep revenue income stable. The most advisable option is to address this sooner rather than later, otherwise the correlation between customer relation rates and customer contentment will be far more difficult to control.