Let’s get digital
The telecommunications industry is, unfortunately, not famed for offering a positive customer experience (CX). And the situation worsens when you look specifically at the digital CX. Why is the sector at the heart of technological development challenged by the digital future? Here, Hamish White, CEO of telecoms software provider Mobilise, explains how telcos can differentiate themselves and offer improved CX by adopting a digital-first mindset.
Offering customers a seamless, intuitive online experience is essential for telcos looking to thrive in the digital era. Providing a personalised, flexible and convenient service that guarantees customer satisfaction is the goal for all service providers, but what technology should they adopt in order to make it a reality?
Starting off on the right foot
Increased consumer demand for digital technology has forced companies to change how they connect with their customers in order to keep up with the market. Digital technologies that were once a temporary measure are now permanent features and technologies that were in their primary stages are becoming more familiar. GSMA Intelligence identified that although eSIM adoption increased throughout 2021, 2022 will be a year of more widespread usage, estimating that more than 500 million smartphone connections will use eSIMs globally by the end of this year.
Embedded SIMs, or eSIMs, improve digital customer onboarding by eliminating the need for a physical plastic SIM card. They take the network authentication credentials that have previously been held on the physical SIM card and download them to the mobile device via the internet. This facilitates a frictionless customer onboarding process, helping to improve CX right from the customer’s interaction with their service provider.
Implementing eSIM capabilities facilitates digital onboarding by completing everything from identity verification and subscription management right from the customer’s device, without the need to visit a physical store or wait for a SIM card via the mail. eSIMs also offer greater service provider flexibility for customers. Since several subscriptions can be activated on one device simultaneously, customers can switch between providers as required. This feature is particularly useful for regular travellers, allowing them to change operators depending on their region without the frustrations of storing several plastic SIM cards and switching them manually.
But there’s an additional choice that service providers need to make: QR code or in-app eSIM provisioning? Although the QR code solution improves CX compared to physical SIM cards, it still presents CX challenges. In-app eSIM provisioning uses a very specific application programming interface (API) layer between the mobile app and the device to provision SIM credentials without the use of a QR code. This means that customers can activate their subscription in as little as 20 seconds with just one tap.
The speed and simplicity for the customer when onboarding in this way means that in-app eSIM provisioning is the gold standard for telcos that value an enriched CX. In an industry like telecoms where churn rates are higher than average, ensuring that this first interaction between the customer and their operator is positive is a key differentiator for telcos. And adopting a digital onboarding process, powered by eSIM technology, is an enabler of satisfaction.
Valued, loyal customers
Enriching customer experience right from the beginning is important, but maintaining a positive brand sentiment is essential. The answer lies in personalisation. Customers want to feel like an individual that the brand they choose really understands, as opposed to just another number on a database. Service providers need to make their customers feel valued by knowing what they need and what they want.
Personalisation can be anything from custom offers to birthday messages or rewards based on customer usage patterns. But to do all of this, telcos need centralised data. Aggregating data into one system like a Customer Data Management (CDM) platform allows telcos to see all of the information they have on their customers in one place including internal data like customer profiles, billing data, call records, usage patterns and browsing history, as well as unstructured data from external sources like customer social posts.
Once this data has been gathered, telcos can run sophisticated machine learning (ML) algorithms in order to identify patterns that appear across their entire customer base. For example, if there is a certain behaviour pattern that customers tend to make before leaving their service provider, ML can identify existing customers that are exhibiting that same behaviour and are at risk of churning, and trigger a set of actions, like a special offer, to uncertain customers.
This enriches CX by offering a personalised predictive service. By unlocking the value data, telcos can gain actionable insights into their customer base to better understand their needs, both on an individual level and collectively, to pre-empt problems in the customer journey. For CX, this is extremely beneficial, ensuring that telcos meet the needs of their customers and tend to their frustration before they become dealbreakers.
To deliver exceptional CX at every step of the customer journey, from onboarding to subscription management and troubleshooting, telcos should create a comprehensive technology stack with several microservices to integrate eSIM capabilities, ML and AI to offer their customers a tailored, unique experience. Telcos need a CX to remain relevant in our increasingly digital world. Customers want it, technology can provide it, so it’s time for telcos to deliver for the benefits to all.
The author is Hamish White, CEO of telecoms software provider Mobilise.