New channels for a new day: keeping Telecoms in the customer care loop with RingCentral
The concept of customer satisfaction (CS) sounds like it’s simple. That’s not the case, as most businesses and organizations can attest. For telecoms providers, levels of customer service are a massive differentiator between highly competitive companies vying for a saturated market.
At the vanguard of providing the best standards in customer experiences are the Customer Care departments in companies and institutions right across the world.
Getting the customer experience right informs and feeds customer satisfaction – another concept that sounds simple, but is challenging to implement.
Getting CS right is especially troublesome for telecoms companies, where price points are often similar between competitors, Customer Care teams are typically large, and for customers to switch from a provider is simple, relatively quick, and for the user, could be as simple as toggling software settings for dual-sim phone users.
Pinning down customer satisfaction
The main complication for telecoms with regards to that elusive customer satisfaction metric is that there’s never such a thing as a single customer type. An organization’s customers are as different as one person is from the next, and even the mode of communication favored by customer A can be quite different from customer B.
But unlike in some verticals, telcos can’t simply ignore a demographically-derived preference because everyone uses telecoms’ services and providers’ margins are tight, to put it mildly. There isn’t a single area of the market that can be ignored, like young people, or women with children.
True, there are generational and geographic trends – like one demographic preferring messaging interactions over emails – but in general, hitting the right buttons for each individual is a trying task and one that’s increasingly expensive for large Customer Care departments.
The main cost is in staffing for customer-facing departments, including training costs. As a new channel (or mode of communication) opens up, staff usually need to get their heads around a new piece of software with its own quirks and foibles, to best support customers that prefer this new channel.
In telecoms, traditionally very much at the cutting edge of what’s possible, especially in the mobile space, it’s one thing to be able to follow comms trends quickly, yet quite another to back up new services & channels with the care teams to support customers properly.
New challenges, new channels
Since the internet and digital communication became ubiquitous, “traditional” voice-based phone interactions have been superceded, and most telcos now find the majority of their customer interactions take place digitally.
That shift poses two major issues. The first is the unpredictability of what might or might not turn out to be the next “on-trend” channel (a question we consider momentarily). The second is about developing a completely connected ecosystem : integrating the digital engagement platform with the rest of the telco provider’s digital systems, such as CRM or Workforce Management Systems, for example.
Assimilating the new channels is, happily, a simple matter for businesses using RingCentral Engage Digital: messages, interactions, associated customer history, and key data all appear in precisely the same interface as all other channels for which the organization is signed up.
Two substantial new possibilities for channels have come into view in the last few months, and are set to be increasingly significant. Apple Business Chat and WhatsApp Business Solution are two cases where similar products potentially need different support frameworks.
Both are asymmetric text communication channels designed for prospective or existing customers to very quickly and easily get in touch with businesses.
WhatsApp Business Solution messages are created on-the-fly by customers tapping an icon on a website for example, with the same features as when talking to their peers. Apple’s version has a similar process for the end-user but relies on the customer having access to an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, with several entry points in apps like Maps, Safari, and Siri.
Messages from both platforms are then passed in real-time to the business. For Engage Digital users, the new capabilities of WhatsApp for Business and Apple Business Chat simply “plug in” and operate in the same environment that Customer Care departments use every working day.
That helps both staffing costs (no need to retrain, no need to employ Apple or WhatsApp”specialists” and so on), but also it will actively promote customer satisfaction. The blanket of customer care available to contacts via voice simply spreads to the new channels.
That’s because on the rocky road to personalization, a crucial aspect of customer satisfaction metrics, customers expect the same depth and quality of service whichever channel they approach a business through. Repeating one’s problems over a message on WhatsApp that were recounted last week via email is a quick way to annoy a customer. The RingCentral Engage Digital platform removes that issue altogether: it’s a win for Customer Care staff, and a win for the customer, too.
Circling back to personalized taste
What’s especially useful in a geographically and demographically diverse customer base (as telecoms providers’ customer bases tend to be) is the capability of not only providing a homogenized level of excellence regardless of comms channel, but also of being able to assimilate new preferences and new channels as soon as (or preferably before) they gain traction.
A new channel may appear, gain some users & preference, but then either fail to grab the public’s imagination, or fold for any number of reasons. What’s 100 percent certain is that nothing’s guaranteed.
Industry watchers will be aware of the power of the big tech giants; Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook, and so on. That power has the potential to create new, proprietary standards and services that could take the world by storm– those companies have both the tech and the resources to saturate the market with a new offering. Adapting and remaining open, therefore, is of paramount importance, and that’s what the RingCentral portfolio enables.
By empowering customer-facing departments with the type of platform that actively increases levels of customer satisfaction and remaining open to the possibilities looming just over the horizon for the next six months or six years, RingCentral users are onto a winning streak.
To learn more about WhatsApp for Business, Apple Business Chat, and the RingCentral portfolio of communication and customer care products, get in touch with a representative today.
20 September 2019
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