Telecoms apocalypse: Rage is turning zombie customers into walkers
We’ve had zombie customers in Telecoms for years. It’s a term that’s widely used to describe the disengaged. In today’s digital era we’re now experiencing a new type of zombie customer – the disengaged ‘walker’ –which have become infected by rage, and unlike their predecessors won’t tolerate negative customer experiences such as bill shock or poor communications.
They will vent their frustration, says Brendan O’Rourke, head of design at BriteBill, an Amdocs company, eat away at your profits and ultimately walk away faster than ever before.
The bad news: up to 32% of your customers are already walkers
Research by the TM Forum across 36 service providers in 24 countries showed that up to 32% of valuable, postpaid customers churn each year due to dissatisfaction that is no longer experienced silently. Rage is now transmitted and amplified by social channels, fuels call centre traffic, and turns customers into walkers as soon as their contracts expire.
But all is not lost: there are powerful strategies to combat rage
Walkers are costing service providers increasing amounts of money by impacting both their top and bottom lines. The good news is that, unlike in the movies, walkers can be cured if you identify them and take positive action. Here’s how you stop rage from ravaging your customer base.
- Take their temperature – CSAT and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) can tell you how your customers are feeling. Analysys Mason says that service providers can reduce churn in their small- and medium-sized enterprise base by 1.6% for every 10-point increase in NPS.
- Avoid exposure to rage by delivering a consistently positive customer experience – the change in tone from warm and encouraging during the sales cycle to cold and impersonal when the first demand for payment arrives (otherwise known as the bill) accelerates symptoms of rage. Combat this by making your bills a better representation of your brand. Sprint is doing this by focusing on ensuring that customers understand what they’ve signed up to, and providing continuity and consistency between the promises made during the sales cycle and the vital first bill it sends to its customers.
- Combat confusion – confusion is an early precursor to rage, but can be tackled by clearer billing communications. Cricket Wireless found that an effective antidote to early-onset rage was to use humorous instructional videos to take the confusion out of the onboarding process. Its ‘Let’s Look Inside Your Bucket’ video led to a 37% reduction in early churn.
- Demonstrate value – revealing the value you deliver, rather than just the cost of service can help immunise your customers against rage. Three has used this strategy very effectively by showing customers how much they’ve saved with its Roam Like Home plan, right on their bill.
- Communicate more effectively – better communication is a powerful antidote to rage. Using the bill to engage your customers by highlighting services and offers that are relevant to them, and personalising the information delivered, reinforces the message that you understand your customers and their needs. This creates increased cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and helps build trust.
Curing the walker
The key to stopping your customers from turning into walkers is to leverage the most powerful tool you have – the bill – to communicate more effectively with your postpaid customers and deliver a consistent experience. Done badly, the bill stimulates rage. Done well, it can prevent and cure it. Clearer and more relevant bills prevent customers from becoming enraged, increase customer satisfaction and reduce both calls to care and customer churn.
Click here to find out more, read the new TM Forum Quick Insights Report, sponsored by BriteBill, an Amdocs Company.
The author of this blog is Brendan O’Rourke, head of design, BriteBill, an Amdocs company