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Creating extraordinary customer service experiences for competitive advantage

When I think of great customer experiences, I think about how easy it is to buy running shoes online. Or how quickly I order, manage and can cancel my weekly meal delivery.  These companies make it easy for me to engage with them based on my needs and preferences. And I keep going back for more. I give them a thumbs up and recommend them to my friends. My loyalty helps build their brand and revenue. 

According to Salesforce (2019), 82 percent of service leaders acknowledge that their customer service practices must continuously improve to remain competitive. This is an important concept for the telecom sector. Analysys Mason (2019) has found that telecom net promoter scores (NPS) are similar to the utilities and transportation industries and lag behind the web-scale companies, such as AWS, and Google, that telcos are trying to emulate. With the advent of 5G, consumer expectations are growing. That’s why meeting and anticipating their needs has become a fundamental requirement to maintain and increase market share. 

Here are three ways Nokia customers are already transforming customer service for competitive advantage. 

1. Leveraging AI and analytics - In a 2018 Gartner survey of CIOs, 40 percent of respondents ranked the current motivator for AI/ML investment is to improve customer experience, yet only 14  percent have already deployed AI within their organization.  Another 25 percent say they will deploy AI in the next 12 to 24 months (see Figure 1). These findings align with our experience. Some of our customers are taking a conservative approach by building a business case through trials, while other service providers have leapt ahead and are reaping the benefits of AI already. 

Present and future

Figure 1. Source: Gartner, The Present and Future of AI, Whit Andrews, 8 July 2019

For instance, Swisscom is deploying advanced analytics capabilities to better manage the large volume of inbound calls arising from home Wi-Fi issues. This telco required an AI solution that could improve visibility into home-based networks in order to provide recommendations proactively to resolve issues.  Even in the early days of its trials, Swisscom improved first-call resolution by upwards of 90 percent. Both agent and customer effort have been reduced significantly.

At POST Luxembourg, AI has been enabling automation and proactive troubleshooting of its broadband network. It wanted to reduce truck rolls and improve subscriber resolution times. To do this, POST Luxembourg needed greater insight into the functioning of its network. Improvements in diagnostic accuracy uncovered by AI have meant fewer truck rolls and improved field technician efficiency. Less time is spent performing repairs. This makes subscribers happier too because issues are fixed the first time around and there is no need for a repeat visit.

2.  Automating systems and processes - This is one of the largest transformation drivers for all industries. Nash/KPMG (2018) report that more than 60 percent of CIOs rank business process improvements and increased operational efficiencies as their top priorities. For example, without an integrated customer systems that allows agents to diagnose and resolve issues, it’s hard to deliver extraordinary customer experiences and meet OPEX savings targets

At British Telecom, its strategy is to offer the best customer experience in the industry. This includes equipping call centre advisors with industry-leading tools and insights.  BT’s customer service portal (HomeView), is helping it achieve this goal.  It provides new and essential customer experience-related diagnostic information together with product and service performance insights and tools relating to the home environment. The tool notifies advisors about potential issues and recommends the best action to solve the customer issue. BT expects the portal to significantly improve the customer experience, enable advisors to have great conversations with customers, as well as reduce operational expenses.

3. Expanding self-care - Salesforce (2018) reports that consumers now use as many as ten different channels to communicate with companies. Self-care has been the cornerstone of omni-channel engagement for some time. This is largely because of its positive impact on reducing call center volume. Self-care has evolved from the use of information on carrier websites and dedicated applications to the use of virtual assistants and chatbots by operators as well as Facebook and WhatsApp. 

One of Nokia’s Middle Eastern customers wanted to improve operational efficiencies by re-directing agent-assisted calls to self-care. By enabling self service through a number of different channels, such as IVR and a web app, it has reduced inbound calls by 25 percent (see Figure 2).

Customer care across channels

Figure 2. Source:  Nokia, Middle East operator optimizes customer care across channels

Fast forward to self care for 5G.  One of the new use cases our customers are exploring is the digital marketing, selling, and installation of 5G fixed wireless services. Tech savvy subscribers can take advantage of self-installation at a more attractive price point. They can buy 5G services online, have the equipment shipped out, and then install it themselves in a Amazon-like way (see Figure 3). For operators, zero-touch activation not only improves time to market but also reduces the need for costly field technician visits. 

Creating extraordinary customer service experiences for competitive advantage

Figure 3. Source:  Nokia, Monetizing 5G across the customer journey

Consider this fact from Watermark Consulting (2018): Companies that lead in customer experience perform 120 percent better in the market than those who don’t. That’s why customer service transformation is propelling CSPs forward to capture more market share.

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Sandra Lowenstein

About Sandra Lowenstein

Sandra is a product marketing manager for Nokia’s policy and charging portfolio which is used by some of the largest CSPs to generate revenue from innovative service offers and enable new business models. With broad product marketing expertise, she loves the challenge of promoting the value of technology in solving customer problems.

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