Telecom companies are often regarded as providing little differentiation by way of service delivery, pricing, and quality. However, providing an excellent customer experience is arguably more important now than ever before in the face of unparalleled levels of competition. Quite simply, a positive customer experience can be directly tied to customer retention, and this is an area where Communication Service Providers (CSPs) can therefore really seek to make a difference.
The challenge is that the modern customer of today expects a consistently positive experience, with quick and easy solutions across whichever channel they choose. However, recent research by Netomi has found that CSPs are not consistently delivering when it comes to email support in particular, with over half (55%) of telcos providing “a poor quality response” when responding to customers. Meanwhile, a recent report from Which? on the best and worst brands for customer service ranked some of the leading telecoms providers amongst the bottom five worst performers out of 100 brands from a variety of industries.
This is a cause for concern for the telecoms industry, and clearly, there is room for improvement. However, one of the problems that CSPs have is that the customer relationship management (CRM) systems that they have in the Business Support Systems (BSS) stack were designed when most customer concerns were resolved over a phone call. As such they’re just not able to quickly accommodate all the touchpoints that customers now want to use to communicate with their CSPs and react quickly to changes in customer behavior.
Often the customer care teams in a CSP can see the potential for customer churn long before it happens and go to IT to request that a ‘customer retention’ offer and process is put in place in the CRM system. The IT teams then go to their CRM/BSS vendor and ask for a change in the CRM system to accommodate the new ‘customer retention’ offer. Four months and a large amount of money later the system will be updated with the new offer. In the meantime, the customer may have churned and posted a lot of negative comments about the CSP on social media, helping to drag down NPS.
If the care team in the above scenario had been able to change the CRM system themselves to build the new customer retention offer and process and have it implemented in days, they would have avoided customer churning. This is where no-code BSS comes in.
This approach to BSS changes gives control back to the CSP. It democratizes BSS and lets the business users build and launch new BSS features. Stakeholders from the operator's core business units of marketing, commerce, business lines, sales, or customer service operations will become the primary user group of BSS. We will see a new breed of BSS users who are able to quickly design and launch new commercial offerings across channels and segments, and experiment with commercial conditions, such as customer eligibilities or discounts and promotions.
Just as we've seen the emergence of DevOps to ensure continuous integration and continuous deployment of new software features, we are now starting to see the introduction of BizOps where new business functions and processes can be rolled out by business users. Democratizing the use of BSS and providing no-code systems that can be used by business teams in an operator will take the pressure off the IT teams in operators. IT teams are flooded with work just now and often backlogs and fire-fighting means that strategic projects get pushed out or even canceled due to lack of resources.
Customer retention is just one business area that can benefit from this new approach to BSS.
Innovative CSPs are investing in no-code BSS to improve retention and turn customers into loyal brand ambassadors. But what makes no-code BSS a good choice for helping to transform a telco’s business processes, and how can they help to significantly reduce customer churn?
Customer acquisition is such a key focus for operators that many dedicate significant time and resources to launching new services and offerings designed to attract new customers. However, the more CSPs focus on customer acquisition, the less time and effort there is often spent on customer retention activity. The reality for many telcos is that for each customer gain, there is all too often a customer loss.
Retaining an existing customer is just as valuable as acquiring a new one. Gaining customer loyalty is becoming increasingly difficult, so much so that a recent Accenture report found that 77% of consumers are no longer as loyal to brands as they were a couple of years ago. This highlights the need for CSPs to work harder than ever before at customer retention strategies.
Further to this, some CSPs have taken note of the changing landscape with regards to customer attrition and loyalty, and as such have looked towards simple customer retention strategies. This includes extending the length of their network contracts from 18 months to 24 months in an effort to keep consumers tied down on contract for longer.
However, this isn’t a viable solution for increasing customer retention in the long term, and definitely not an example of providing a rich customer experience. CSPs are now looking beyond these incremental, quick, and easy wins and have started to digitally transform their operations and services using no-code BSS. This delivers a new level of agility to customer retention that enables CSPs to quickly develop retention plans and offers that are designed to enable the best customer experience possible.
Innovative CSPs are starting to embrace no-code BSS to enable them to react to competitors and customer demands more rapidly. As a result, this has helped them to dedicate just as much activity to retaining customers as acquiring new ones. No-code BSS is highly flexible, cost-effective, and easy to use, enabling CSPs to rapidly implement new business processes in their operations as well as launching and implementing new product services.
From a customer perspective, no-code BSS helps improve business processes and service delivery by recognizing incremental events such as a change in customer destination or data usage in real-time and therefore triggering certain actions in response to this. CSPs will then be able to react quickly by building and offering new service price plan packages to customers based on their circumstances or actions.
For many CSPs, changing and implementing new price plans and product services can often be intangible as many tend to have set offerings that are rigid and inflexible. While some identify the key problems and implement solutions to address frequent changes in the consumer landscape, they often struggle with responding to these changes in a timely manner.
This is where no-code BSS makes a huge difference. Products and services can be implemented and changed quickly based on highly specific and configurable rules that are embedded into BSS workflows. This means that actions such as building a customer retention process for high-value customers can be done instantly by non-technical personnel.
This will bring significant advances to the customer retention function in a CSP. Placing the tools that control customer retention directly in the hand of the business users gives them the ability to manage their business function themselves and not be burdened by outdated systems and processes.
VP of Sales Americas