Telecoms, media and technology firms are facing the need to remodel the customer experience and drive change in an agile way. So what should be their key investment areas?
It’s not the CEOs, software engineers, or marketing executives who are deciding the future of business: it’s the customers. The customer is going to be as right in 2030 as they were in 2010, and businesses need to know exactly how to respond to a consumer base increasingly demanding better experiences.
Core IT services and billing systems need to be modernised and fit for purpose, and many service providers are going through this difficult transition at the moment. Meanwhile, as customers are dealing with tough economic circumstances, challenges around the cost to serve, reducing spend and increasing average revenue per user (ARPU) are high up the agenda. This means that prioritising innovation can be tricky; nonetheless, innovating commercially with a staged approach to making savings and improving customer experience (CX) at the same time is critical.
Where do most providers fall short in terms of customer experience?
Every year, the Institute of Customer Services runs the UK Customer Satisfaction Index, and in 2022, the three leading issues that customers believe organisations in the sector should improve are:
- making it easier to contact the right person to help
- developing more knowledgeable staff
- website navigation
Fewer than one third of the respondents from the UK CSI Survey said they are able to find the information they need easily when reaching out to a contact centre; the rest either struggle finding the right info or fail to find it at all. So, it’s clear that many organisations need to do a better job of making their service experience effortless for customers.
The current CX world needs investment across a number of areas and there are some key questions that any successful CX platform should answer:
- How easy is it for customers to get their needs addressed when reaching out to a customer service call centre?
- Are customers also empowered to resolve requests themselves through self-service, when they wish to?
- When live assistance is needed, do customers get connected to the right agent quickly and efficiently?
- Is there any friction along the way that causes dissatisfaction – and how can we reverse this while reducing the cost to serve?
So looking ahead, what 10 improvements should we expect in the next 10 years for telecoms, media and technology customer experience?
1. Mass personalisation
Mass-personalisation is, as you might expect, the ability to offer highly personalised products or services on a mass scale. Meanwhile, the term ‘micro-moments’ essentially means responding to customer needs at the exact right moment. Both are made possible by technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and analytics.
2. Distributed TX (total experience)
The internet of things will become a distributor of CX outside of traditional channels, shifting away from contact centres to spaces, screens and speech.
Everything will be a channel and ‘total experience’ will be distributed everywhere. As engagement channels continue to evolve, we’ll actually see customer experience become channel-less or multimodal. This means that customers and contact centre agents will be able to switch from one channel to another, such as chat to voice to SMS, seamlessly during a single interaction, with the ability to trade media files such as videos, GIFs, and PDFs.
3. RPA and automation
This technology is used to automate structured and repetitive business processes, freeing up human workers to concentrate on more complex, value-adding work. This is part of a wider shift towards automation that will impact every industry. Also important to this is reskilling your staff into new roles to keep a sustainable model for your resourcing strategies.
4. Digital platforms
Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb are all household-name examples of digital platforms – networks that facilitate connections and exchanges between people. This trend is turning established business models on their head, leading many traditional businesses to transition to or incorporate a platform-based model.
5. Customer service skills
Virtual assistants such as Alexa make it easier for customers to access the help and support they need, when they need it. Improving the quality and availability of customer services using voice devices can improve customer satisfaction and enhance loyalty. And the prevalence of these ‘digital speakers’ is exploding globally: Amazon, Nest, and Facebook comprise approximately 55% of ownership in the UK.
6. Digital humans – and the automation of contact centre support roles
Assisted customer conversations can allow you to prescribe, understand and react to customer inputs and build it into your CRM system, serving consumers better through real-time voice analysis and digital interactions.
Tools such as our assisted customer conversations technology augment the conversations between agents and customers by turning this analysis into unique insight, prompting and recommending actions that enable call centre teams to give personalised, helpful guidance to callers. These platforms monitor calls, analyse them and identify the best solution to the incoming query, leaving the agent free to really listen to the caller and help them more quickly and effectively.
Elsewhere, technology is growing fast that gives the ability to create ‘digital doubles’, cloning humans and their voices and delivering expressive and emotive interactions – allowing influencers and brand ambassadors to be everywhere at the same time.
7. New AI-enabled interaction channels
The emergence and evolution of AI and automation technologies in the call centre have made an enormous impact on the customer service experience.
AI has facilitated a better understanding of customers, and organisations can now use it to quickly process and analyse customer data, making it easier for businesses to deliver positive outcomes. AI has also enabled new interaction channels, from the first-generation chatbots to today’s intelligent virtual agents (IVAs), which can interact with customers more naturally and accurately over voice, social media, and messaging channels.
With more interaction channels available to them, customers are engaging with brands more frequently across more touch points – and they’ve started to expect a seamless experience.
Moving to the cloud has presented enormous challenges for all of us – but if we didn’t embrace the cloud during the pandemic then we wouldn’t have been able to keep servicing our customers. Not only that, but the cloud is huge and allows you to have that competitive advantage of flexibility.
9. Metaverse and planning for the new CX universe
The metaverse is having its moment internationally, accelerated by Covid-19’s impact on digital-based economies and disruptions to offline business models. The rise of blockchain, digital assets, and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) further fuels the demand for the metaverse.
Defined as a virtual-reality space in which users can interact, the metaverse is evolving into an increasingly vast and rich ecosystem that comprises metaverse gateways, platforms and infrastructures, as well as a variety of service providers to enhance the customer experience with identity, social, gaming and economic services.
The prevalence and growing importance of virtual characters or avatars presents various business opportunities in the retail sector. Many consumers now expect a combination of in-store and digital experiences, and the metaverse offers the ability to engage with brands and products using a personalised avatar. Whether it’s trying out a new phone, browsing for new products, or just elevating the browsing experience in a virtual store, the possibilities are endless.
10. Cyber security
As businesses face unprecedented new threats, the ability to avoid and mitigate cybersecurity dangers will be critical to success over the next decade. In my recent article, I wrote about the new telecoms security regulations and an accompanying draft code of practice in Parliament, reflecting that the threat of cybercrime is as strong now as it has ever been.
If you’re interested in looking at your business through a new lens at a time where we are all challenged with limited funds to pay for innovation, or need some fresh thinking around agile ‘invest to save’ commercial models to get started on the road to innovation, please get in touch.