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Putting Omnichannel at the Heart of Operations

By: Dominik Pacewicz

The traditional telecom industry has to reinvent itself in the face of strong competition from Over-The-Top (OTT) service providers. Consumers are becoming more vocal in demanding faster, cheaper and more personalized services delivered directly from their providers. In response to these demands, OTT companies such as Amazon, Skype, Netflix and others are serving up their entertainment and messaging services while eating away at operators’ profits. These services were built digital-first and with customer experience at their heart, which is part of the reason they are so successful.

Combine this competitive pressure with the declining use of traditional voice calls and poor monetization of entertainment services, and you can see the writing on the wall. To add insult to injury, telecoms are also losing revenue on international calls and roaming charges, both of which can cost unwitting customers hundreds of pounds a year.

At the same time, there is more digital data being produced, consumed and analyzed than ever before. This data includes demographic information about customers, as well as where they live and work, who they connect with and how often, their interests, behavior and attitudes. More and more organizations are using analytics to develop insights that can open up new markets for them and drive profit and growth, while at the same time allowing them to provide better, more personalized service for their customers.

These digital disruptors are providing unique services tailored to individual customers, which means that operators need to rethink their customer strategy. CSPs, with their wealth of customer data, are in a strong position to redefine their business model around these critical technological and lifestyle changes.

In order to implement these changes effectively, telcos are moving towards an omnichannel strategy that allows them to develop a strong customer focus, understand (and act on) customer trends, make tailored recommendations to upsell to customers, and reduce customer churn. It is the only possible approach for a company that wants to be ready to meet a changing future.

Rethinking the customer journey

While many operators still think in terms of individual channels and touchpoints for customer services, the modern customer doesn’t. He or she thinks of the overall experience—and the results.

Customers want to be able to use any channel that suits their needs at that particular time. This means the average customer journey could span any number of touchpoints from point of sale, TV ads and mail to social media, email and phone calls.  Previously, when a customer wanted to contact his or her cell provider, he or she would simply call from that cell. Now there are so many more channels to choose from and, as customers have become more app-focused, the traditional call is becoming a last resort to contact any provider. Instead, the customer journey might start with a tweet, move to webchat, and end with one or more calls, all across different devices. Customers want to be able to switch between channels and not have to repeat the issue or request, and for the response they receive to be consistent, however many people they interact with during that process.

Most companies will have a multichannel strategy in place—meaning the ability to be able to respond on each channel. But omnichannel brings far greater benefits to the business than simply introducing more channels to the customer experience.

McKinsey’s 2017 Customer Experience report highlighted that customers are less focused on their experience of individual touchpoints than they are on their overall journey as a whole. Customers seek the same experience, no matter the channel they choose.

The key pillars of the omnichannel strategy are consistent customer information and identification across channels, combined with the ability to respond to channel switching. Everywhere the customer moves, data is collected and analyzed to give detailed insight into behavior. 

To achieve this 360-degree view of the customer, all activity should be identifiable across different channels (creating a single customer identity, even if they have different user names per channel) and available to agents across all different channels.

By implementing an omnichannel strategy, telcos place their customers’ convenience at the heart of their operations. It can be complicated to collate and analyze real-time data from multiple channels, but if telecom companies want to thrive in this economy, they need to ensure they are providing a seamless customer experience and digital customer enablement. An efficient omnichannel solution puts the customer’s needs at its center and builds out from there.



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