Omni-channel customer service

Superior service is delivered when a telco is able to anticipate the customer’s needs
Srinivasa Ravi, chief operating officer, Flytxt
Srinivasa Ravi, chief operating officer, Flytxt

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Mobile phones are now an integral part of consumer lives, but loyalty to service providers is not an assured outcome of that fact anymore. Telcos are constantly challenged to ensure consistent customer experience through service innovation and customer service excellence.

Customer touch-points are of strategic importance to telcos in maximising opportunities to engage and strengthen the relationship with customers. Today’s customers interact over a variety of touch-points, both digital and non-digital, depending on their convenience and choice. No matter which channels they use, they must be able perceive a continuity in the conversation they have with their service provider. With this in mind, telcos need to ensure an omni-channel experience for their customers, that is, a seamless experience that spans across every customer touch-point. Achieving this is not easy, as a telco customer base can go up to many millions and ensuring a personal touch for every customer requires deep understanding of their needs, preferences and interests on a one-to-one level.

Legacy systems and traditional technologies are not equipped to handle such complexity. Crunching enormous volumes of data to discover hidden insights and using them appropriately as opportunity arises requires advanced analytical capabilities. It enables telcos to process data stored in data warehouses as well as analyse, on the fly, streaming data coming in from billions of transactions and interactions taking place every moment. The historical data on the customer provides insights about their usage patterns, affinities and persona while the streaming, real-time data allows the telco to understand their current context. When these insights are combined, they create a holistic picture of each customer.

However, the complexity doesn’t end with the volume, variety and the ability to process real-time data. Analytics technology must be adaptive enough to understand the dynamic needs of customers and their ever changing persona. A truly superior customer experience is delivered when a telco is able to anticipate the customer’s need based on a complex combination of behaviours – be it interest, most recent activity, location and so on. When analytics is able to produce such data-driven insights, it offers telcos valuable opportunities for improving sales, boosting loyalty and growing the customer wallet share.

To provide an instance, when a customer calls the Call Centre of a telco and Customer Care agent brings up the details of that particular customer, the behind-the-scene analytics populates the screen with the best fit offers, which it selects from hundreds of offers that are mapped to this customer. In this case, analytics helps to discover trends like the customer has browsed latest smartphone deals on the service provider’s web portal and has been a regular viewer of sports content. So, the offers related to handset data pack bundle and sports pack are recommended. In this case, analytics significantly reduces the time taken by the Customer Care agent to select and extend the right offer from hundreds of options.

Similarly, context adds another level of personalisation. For example, when a customer is on roaming and checks-in to a self-service kiosk, the offer is refined and prioritised in accordance with the current context - location, and a roaming pack is featured on the kiosk screen. Further fine-tuning makes personalisation even more compelling when analytics learns from behaviour of customers across touch points and deprioritises offers that they have rejected in the past.

A leading Asian telco was able to reverse the heavy offer rejection rates it was experiencing by integrating our analytics solution with automated recommendation and offer prioritisation capabilities. The telco was able to identify customer needs in real-time and provide highly personalised service recommendations across various touch points. This resulted in conversion rates shooting up from 2.1% to 11%, call hold times improving by 40% and offer decline rates reducing from 5% to 1.7%.

Going forward, we will see a variety of advanced analytical techniques like text analytics being employed to derive insights from unstructured sources of data from customer care and social media interactions that can help in proactive customer care. A well thought-out and properly implemented Omni-channel experience and service personalisation lends telcos enormous competitive advantage and enhances the customer’s lifestyle experience.

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