How Telecom Companies Can Ensure Customer Needs Are Met During Mergers

By: Amit Ben

Mobile users in India are on their way to being better connected as Vodafone and Idea finalize their merger and set their sights on bringing 4G network performance to consumers across the country. When it comes to being better connected to loved ones, streaming their favorite content or conducting business via a mobile device, the merger is good news for prospective and current customers.  However, as with any merger, there is also a sense of uncertainty as the two companies begin to iron out the details of their new relationship.

One of the biggest concerns customers will have is regarding how their relationship with their current mobile service provider will change, including adjustments to their bill or service plan, as well as the best way to contact their provider should they need help. Now that Vodafone is serving more than 395 million subscribers, there is a justified fear that customers will be lost in the shuffle and their past loyalty may be overlooked or omitted due to restructuring. As customers look to build more intimate relationships with brands and expect a personalized experience, these types of risks can push customers away. Beyond losing their existing relationship, there is also the fear of trying to connect with a customer service team that may be feeling the strain of 395 millions subscribers.

To successfully serve customers during a merger, companies need to ensure they are accessible to their customers, provide consistent, unified information on the new parent company and monitor customer needs to ensure nothing gets overlooked. So what’s the best way to create a controlled, comprehensive, accessible resource without having customer service teams work all hours of the day? The answer can be found in the use of AI-fueled virtual assistants that help to manage the front line of customer experience. As a key component of the customer service process, self-service virtual assistants are able to support both the customer experience team and its subscribers to more efficiently use resources and provide the 24/7 support that is demanded by today’s consumers.

Make Sure Customers Still Feel Loved

One of a customer’s biggest fears during a merger is that they won’t know where or who to go to for help, feeling unsupported and unsteady. To alleviate this, both companies involved need to ensure that customers don’t need to look for help, but rather ensure that help is readily available. This shows customers that, regardless of the changes in the business itself, the customer still comes first. Self-service virtual assistants can empower a business to be everywhere their customers are, offering technology that can be implemented across all channels, be it mobile, web, email and even social. Virtual assistants also allow providers such as Vodafone and Idea to ensure that each and every customer receives the most accurate and consistent information. Managing all resources through one centralized system, businesses can ensure that the information provided on Facebook is consistent with what is being shared on the website.

Beyond access and accuracy, businesses also need to ensure that they are creating the most effortless experience possible for their customers. One misstep when integrating customer service tools is the deployment of automated chat bots that require customers to identify the “right” way to ask a questions in order to get the answer they need. When things are already unsteady, this type of static, unproductive interaction can frustrate customers and may even cause them to consider going to a competitor. However, through natural language processing and AI-fueled capabilities for contextual conversations, virtual assistants can alleviate this frustration by creating an engagement that feels natural and easy for customers. This means empowering customers to control the conversation, allowing them to ask questions any way they choose and propose follow-up inquiries without needing to re-explain themselves. It also requires that virtual assistants provide personalized answers based a customer's history - be it with the new or previously existing company. 

Better Empower the Customer Experience Team

Customers aren’t the only ones businesses need to inform during a merger, it's equally important to ensure that your employees are up-to-date on the state of the new company. When it comes to customer experience, employees are on the front-line of the business, building the actual relationship consumers have with a brand and providing needed support. Internal use of virtual assistant technology can ensure that the workforce always has the most accurate answers to customers biggest questions.


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