Declining household income is accelerating churn, and as inflationary pressures hit consumers’ budgets, how can telecoms, media and technology providers keep their customers and attract more?

Organisations are experiencing an ever-pressing need to deliver exceptional customer experience (CX). Every interaction needs to be a positive one that empowers people with innovative technology. 

Telecoms, media and technology (TMT) providers must boldly position themselves if they wish to thrive. Moreover, to retain customers, businesses need tailored services, conversational experiences, and hyper-personalised offerings to enhance the customers experience. And as illustrated in the Ipsos-Capita report: What drives great customer experience?, they must also meet customers’ emotional needs and make them feel valued – not just to listen but to really hear, with a human touch. 

Alongside this, it’s all about the ease of doing business, removing friction and treating customers fairly. People need to be confident that their provider will resolve their issues and give them a seamless experience. 

Here I’m going to go into more detail on eight key customer experience trends all TMT providers need to be aware of – and act upon.

1. Digital disruption in a radically changing market

Digital transformation has advanced 15 years in the last two or three. According to FT analysis, there is a permanent mind shift in how work is organised. Professor of economics Nick Bloom said that the UK, along with the US, has seen a marked shift in the number of people using hybrid working models.

A global survey of 33,000 employees in February 2022 by WFH research, a unit run by a number of North American universities, including Stanford , showed that the UK has the highest number of paid working days from home each week in Europe. No one would ever have believed this before the pandemic – risk and compliance wouldn’t have signed it off.

Automation, monetising data, IoT and 5G are all acting as drivers, not to mention the divergence of fixed and mobile lines. Connected devices in the home are moving more and more from the physical world to the virtual.

2. Working with digital natives

The number of digital native companies is growing fast, but with this comes complexity. How do we unlock the potential of working with digital natives? There is a drive among TMTs to move towards service models with less friction – simplified product and service portfolios, supported by fully automated, AI-enabled, cloud-based processes. Work with digital natives has to complement this.

3. Finding cost-effectiveness in the cloud

The most compelling reason to begin cloud computing using AI is the cost saving that this technology offers. Cloud models are enabling businesses to purchase their required storage only and eliminate traditional infrastructure costs. With this model, organisations don’t need physical data centres and so the cost of the projects can easily be reduced.

4. The incoming debt tsunami

Gas bills, energy bills – every bill is higher than usual at the moment, and as inflation rises the pressure increases even more. Although services like broadband and mobile phones are critical, the reality is that removing non-necessary subscription-based services will become the target when it comes to balancing budgets.

How customers pay for those services moving forward is going to be important, and indeed vulnerability is a topic that we need to be cognisant about in CX.

5. Disruption from new entrants

The TMT industry is at a similar place to where the utilities industry was around five or six years ago, with lots of new entrants and lots of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) activity.

From a Telco perspective, it’s the MVNOs that are offering the best CX. The reason for this is that their operating model is simpler, since they don’t need all the technology and backing of a mainstream operator’s systems in order to provide a differentiated customer experience. 

6. Cyber security is more important than ever

We’ve never seen so much attempted fraud as there is today. Demonstrable security is hugely important to customers – gone are the days when people were happy to simply pay a subscription for security software and feel reassured by periodic pop-ups on their screen telling them that they are protected. That level is now expected to be built in – and so these days, service providers need solutions. 

7. Data monetisation

Nowadays, there’s not only a need to monetise data and to use data to cross sell and upsell new services. Providers must also leverage data to cross sell products from other industries. Added to this, the launch of 5G offers an unparalleled opportunity to provide fast and scalable connectivity and so process data that can provide hyper-personalisation. 

8. Branding and advertising have less significance

Operators that struggle to truly differentiate themselves (and not just appear to do so in their marketing) may no longer remain relevant. For instance, there’s a strong need to offer better services via devices – such as slicker authentication and better mobile payment apps - and for the mobile device to have faster interaction with the internet and offering new services. Focusing on this process could be a strong way to connect customers back to a brand, thus strengthening it.

Get these eight trends right, and TMT providers will be well on their way to giving their customers the truly unrivalled CX they expect.

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Written by

Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham

MD for Telco, Media and Technology, Capita

Mark was previously Group Customer Care and Experience Director & COO of Financial Services at The Very Group, the UK’s largest integrated online retailer and financial services business. He’s had a varied career spanning 15+ years across operational and outsource management, transformation and customer experience, including at Vodafone and British Gas. Under Mark’s leadership the Very Group was recognised at the European Call Centre awards for their customer transformation programme which in 2 years improved brand NPS by 30 points, tnps by 90 points, first contact resolution by 30 points and reduced overall customer contact and cost by over 70%.

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