In late October, Sitel Group sponsored and attended the Customer Experience Management in Telecoms – North America event in Atlanta, Georgia. The event, which focused on customer experience for telecoms, hosted speakers from leading telecom companies including AT&T, Cable & Wireless Communications, Orange™, T-Mobile and Verizon among others.
The two-day event highlighted the importance of customer experience and the potential gains when operators excel at customer service. A wide range of insights were shared focused on driving customer centricity through digital disruption and transformation. Sitel’s Gordon White, General Manager, The Social Client, spoke about the importance of trust in customer experience.
While the event had many significant takeaways, below are three key insights that drove the conversation.
Brands are looking for ways to improve their customer experience, reduce attrition and improve CSAT. But, those are just the results of the vast activities brands must focus on if they are to reach successful KPIs. Some of the world’s leading telecoms have found success when they placed their attention on building a customer-centric brand culture. In fact, several of the event’s keynotes focused on a brand’s necessity to provide an unforgettable omnichannel experience in a highly competitive market. The recipe is simple: The C-suite must be customer obsessed, listen to its associates and build a customer-first culture. By doing so, everyone – internal and external stakeholders – will benefit. This may include empowering associates and holding them accountable for driving positive customer experiences, investing in learning and development activities and providing top-notch onboarding experiences.
Airbnb. Lyft. OfferUp. WeWork. Venmo. These are just a few of the many platforms operating in today’s Sharing Economy – an ecosystem in which assets or services are shared between people via online marketplaces with tremendous transparency. Not buying it? Just ask Venmo’s news feed when you send someone money.
So where does trust come in?
The sharing, or trust, economy is on track to becoming a $335 billion industry by 2025, and it is primarily driven by trust. People trust these platforms will provide the services they ask for, exactly as they want it and when they want it. Unfortunately, trust in brands is tougher to come by.
“Trust is a challenge for brands when 42 percent of Americans find brands and companies less truthful today than 20 years ago,” said White during his keynote. “The telecom industry, in particular, is ranked fourth for ‘trust’ out of eight industries according to Edelman’s 2016 Trust Barometer.”
People are finding that a brand’s content can be inauthentic, websites are inundated with ads and consumer perception is that brands are focused more on profits than on doing what’s right for their customers.
One way some brands have helped improve trust is by building online communities and engaging in dialog and a mutual value exchange with their customers.
“People trust recommendations from others, even people they don’t know, over branded content,” said White. “It’s one of the reasons online communities are important.”
A client in the telecom industry created an online community where super users became brand ambassadors and provided customer support on behalf of the brand. The community grew by an average of 9,000 new monthly members and drove an 83 percent self-help rate. The best part? The brand ambassadors were not employees of the brand – they simply had a passion to support the brand and help others.
The arrival of AI and chatbots have already transformed the customer experience industry. The best ones are able to deliver experiences that customers are not able to differentiate between humans or computers. However, is human interaction required in today’s world? Absolutely. Though many organizations utilize virtual customer assistants and natural language processing to address some of the most common customer needs – and bring in human agents when necessary. There is no perfect equation, but continued innovation, personalization and scalability will enhance the customer experience.
While technology continues to evolve the way brands drive the customer experience, Sitel Group partners with many of the leading global telecom operators through a mix of digital channels, learning solutions and customer experience management.
To hear more insight from the event or to have a general discussion about end-to-end customer experience solutions, contact us.