Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  26 Apr 2010

TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Getting the Customer Experience Right in Telecoms


Recent Gauteng Business News

With the increasing amount of competition in the South African telecoms sector as new operators come into play, it is becoming ever more important for telecoms operators to improve the customer experience in order to hold on to current customers, gain new subscribers and manage customer information more effectively and more profitably.

Telecoms operators are attempting to make better use of the information from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, yet they have not managed to make a notable difference to customer service levels.

This is largely due to some operators making use of operational benefits of this technology, such as marketing, sales and service, while others may lean more towards the analytical elements such as data storage and management, business intelligence and analytics for better decision making ability. But to truly gain benefits from CRM systems it is necessary to take all of these aspects and use them in an overarching, organisation wide strategy to address the customer experience.

“By taking a holistic view of all of the information available through CRM systems, and breaking down internal silos and barriers, these operators can appreciate and understand the customer experience in far more beneficial and useful ways,” says Nathalie Ing, Business Lead for Customer Intelligence at SAS South Africa. “For example, by making customer insights available across divisions, information such as call details and product issues can be used to develop and deliver better products and services according to customer needs. This would not be possible if the information was kept in silos and not shared.”

With the trend moving towards convergence of services, including telephony, broadband and wireless services, this becomes even more important for telecoms operators. As a result, a co-ordinated and efficient customer services approach is needed, with CRM applications that have the ability to support converged offerings. Today’s customers also want to be able to communicate and interact with operators on their own terms, through whichever channel they find most convenient.

“Rather than focusing CRM efforts on pain points, telecoms companies would become more productive and have a greater effect on customer satisfaction, and as a result on customer loyalty, if they focused on creating a customer experience that uses multiple channels supported by consistent business processes and flows used by all channels,” adds Ing.

This integrated approach also supports the use of analytics to optimise processes. For example, marketing optimisation can be used to relate factors like customer segmentation and customer analytics back to the overall corporate objectives. This enables the organisation to make better decisions when it comes to targeting the right customers with the right offers, while staying within budget and channel capacity, without cannibalising future sales or over-soliciting customers with irrelevant messages.

“Optimisation helps to balance various requirements from marketing campaigns, as well as assisting telecoms operators to better manage limited resources across various processes such as promotion campaign budgets, audience parameters and channel choices,” says Ing.

“At the end of the day, telecoms operators need to view customer information as an asset that can be leveraged to provide a source of business benefit and competitive advantage,” she concludes. “The telecoms market is changing, with increasing competition and levels of convergence, which can lead to customer churn if operators do not improve the customer experience. By using CRM tools to gain deeper customer insight, operators can drive new revenue models, reduce churn on profitable customers and improve the customer experience, leading to happier, more loyal customers and ultimately an improved bottom line.”


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