What happens when you deliver poor customer experiences and get complaints? You might ignore your customers — or worse, blame them — and lose them for life. Or you might fix their problems and earn their loyalty. What you and your employees will do depends on your customer culture. In a global survey by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, 56 percent of companies described themselves as customer centric. Only 12 percent of their customers agreed.
The telecommunications industry continues to face a number of challenges when it comes to the development of improved customer experience and services.
Some of the problems are self-inflicted due to numerous well-publicised technical issues that have affected the network and how companies have handled the backlash; employees who are not prepared, trained or authorised to provide flexible solutions to specific customer difficulties; some of the problems have developed due to the lag in the development of business & customer strategy processes; and emerging technologies can allow for better customer-centric strategies are not implemented fast enough (if at all.)
One of the bigger issues in terms of Customer Experience and the Telecommunications field continues to be the reliance on outdated methods of connecting with customers. Naturally the ability to use the telephone as a source of communication is inherent in the industry — but the telecommunications industry is one of the last to adopt the use of array of digital technologies available and always seems to be trying to keep up with the best methods rather than creating them with new innovation.
If you look at the mobile operators, this quote from Steve Summer (VP Sales EMEA, Neustar Inc) encapsulates the one of the primary problems outstanding with that industry:
“Mobile phone numbers are key assets that have been taken for granted and undervalued by the mobile industry for years. They are consumed in their thousands every day. They are acquired, upgraded, re-assigned and switched from one operator to the next. They are used to lure new subscribers in with tempting deals and thrown away without a second thought.”
The industry is seemingly either dismissing the instant connection that they have with customer or abusing it by viewing it as solely another opportunity to directly market to them — there are more active mobile phone subscriptions in the UK and USA than there are people. According to recent studies, people check their phones over 150x/day so there is an immediate and necessary connection for mobile phone companies to explore.
For the communications companies offering television-based services, the TV remains central to the home entertainment experience for a majority of consumers (despite its greatly exaggerated demise –mainly to the rising importance of broadband deployment – i.e. In the UK, households continue to watch in excess of 4+ hours of television every day, in the US, it exceeds 5+ hours daily.) For those offering broadband access, the time spent using the internet is higher than that and only going to grow in the future.
These statistics support that the potential audience is not only there, but easily accessible, to begin the development of an effective customer experience strategy.
With that potential receptive audience, and in truly customer-centric companies, all individuals (regardless of their roles) have to base their decisions and actions on the belief that what’s best for the customer is best for the business. New evidence shows how a strong customer culture drives future business performance and supports market strategies.
New research, based on a quantitative study across more than 150 businesses, spanning various industries and functions, identifies seven cultural factors that drive customer satisfaction, revenue and profit growth, innovation, and new product success.
These are important predictors of future results and early indicators of risks and opportunities related to retaining customers and acquiring new ones. This research on highly customer-centric businesses like Amazon, Virgin and salesforce.com tell us that these factors are disciplines that, if practised and embedded, create superior value for customers and sustainable growth in value for stockholders. They can be measured and benchmarked for any organization.