In the dynamic telecommunications industry, where customer expectations continue to rise, providing exceptional customer support is no longer an option—it’s a necessity. Customers today demand an omni-channel approach to interactions, where they can effortlessly connect with an organisation through various touchpoints, from web portals and mobile apps to phone calls and in-person visits. What’s more, they expect a consistent level of service, regardless of how they choose to connect.
Automation is key to providing a consistent, excellent customer support experience. We discuss further in the blog below.
The Drive Towards an Omni-Channel Approach
There is a drive towards providing an omni-channel approach to customer interactions in the telco industry. This is where customers can use multiple channels to contact the organisation and receive a consistent level of service. For example, they could report a service fault via an online web portal, using an app on their mobile phone, by calling a customer support desk, or by going in-person to a retail outlet. Irrespective of how the fault is reported, they would expect it to be recorded, tracked, and resolved at the same speed.
A customer with an issue wants it resolved as quickly and as easily as possible. There is an ever-growing appetite for self-service too. Equipping your business to be able to offer a range of highly effective self-service capabilities, or equipping agents to be ‘1st time fixers’ a high percentage of the time will lead to increased customer satisfaction and retention. The key here is having a single, consistent back-office process that is, or can be invoked by (as in the example above) the company’s web store, the customer service agent, and the in-store personnel.
CSPs need to separate out the back-office process from the customer interaction but must also recognise that both affect CX. This separation allows you to change the process as and when needed without necessarily changing all or any of the front-end customer interaction channels.
Automation tools here are not necessarily just RPA and advanced Automation tools, but they also include chatbots (manned or unmanned) and IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System) which provide different channels for customers to contact the operator. Traditionally, these are accessed via web sites/portals, email, SMS, social media, and in-person visits to stores with booths or service centres.
The Secret to Success
The secret to success here, is designing highly re-usable Automation assets that no matter who or how you access them, the tools help you progress issues through to successful resolution. For example, automation to validate service status can be used in at least three different scenarios: prior to initial service delivery to the customer to validate that the service is working as expected; by the customer via a web portal or mobile app as part of their issue diagnosis if they experience a problem; by a customer service agent when a customer calls to report a fault. Building an Automation for faults that can be built once, but used in a variety of interfaces with the customer gives you significant advantages. You offer a consistent experience to customers, regardless of how they choose to engage, and you do not create a myriad of complex solutions all addressing the same issue. This saves you time and money.
Use Case: Customer Service Testing
At CORTEX, we were presented with a challenge from one of our operator clients. They were keen on reducing the workload on their Network Operations Centre (NOC) and wanted to empower their customers to independently verify the status of their services. Our objectives were clear: create an automation solution that would enable customers to check service status and provide diagnostic data to our IT Service Management (ITSM) solution, leveraging CORTEX for seamless correlation and troubleshooting. Our solution involved CORTEX performing service-specific tests immediately after network service activation. We then made these tests accessible to customers via a self-service portal, giving them the control to manage their own fault resolution. This initiative significantly alleviated the NOC’s workload, offering customers a more responsive service experience.
Use Case: 1st Line Support Testing
CORTEX partnered with a leading operator to develop a three-part automation solution aimed at swiftly diagnosing customer issues, particularly in IPTV and IPVPN services. Prior to our intervention, identifying these problems took a considerable amount of time. Our solution encompassed testing, diagnosis, and remediation, automatically resolving issues, or escalating them when necessary. We also empowered customers with self-service tools for fault resolution, resulting in a 40% reduction in Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR), a 95% reduction in agent call handling times, and an 80% increase in right-first-time issue resolutions. This comprehensive implementation, comprising over 1,100 functional blocks, delivered these impressive results in just six months, enhancing both customer experiences and operational efficiency.
The telecommunications industry’s move towards automating customer support is not just a response to evolving customer expectations; it’s a strategic imperative. The ability to offer omni-channel support with consistent service levels is a key differentiator in a competitive landscape.
Automation, including technologies like RPA, chatbots, and IVRS, is at the forefront of this transformation. By seamlessly integrating these automation tools into customer interactions and back-office processes, telecom companies can achieve remarkable outcomes. These include reduced workloads, faster issue resolutions, higher customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency gains.
By embracing automation, telecom companies can lead the way in an era where exception customer support is an everyday reality.
If you want to find out more about the challenges of Automation for CSPs, download our free eBook A Buyer’s Guide to Automation for CSPs.