New Study Shows Telco Providers Must Act Now to Digitize CX Across All Channels, Including Phone


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A new survey of 1000 cell phone customers of major providers, such as Verizon, ATT, T-mobile, and Sprint, conducted by Lightico, highlights the frustration and poor customer experience (CX) these customers have with their telco provider when it comes to legacy, non-digital interactions.

The Survey also highlights the importance, and tips for going further into digitizing sales and service experiences across key touchpoints including retail stores, websites and most importantly the call centers.

Telecom companies maintain some of the largest call centers. It only makes sense that they leverage these centers to maximize profit and create an opportunity to increase average revenue per user (ARPU). Although telesales can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. This survey sheds some light on why the contact center should be the focal point of telco growth.

Customers Expect Effortless, Digital, Anywhere

Despite the ever-growing myriad of digital and phone channels that have been created over the last decade via the growth of the importance of omnichannel communication, mobile operators still have many frustrating, analog customer touchpoints, and paperwork requirements. The combination of paper-heavy processes and requirements to visit a retail branch are the core frustrations for customers.

The survey indicated that customers still end up buying their new devices at a retail store. Surprisingly, Telco websites are not as compelling: only 32% of respondents said buying a new phone on the computer was easiest.

Despite the resurgence of in-store experiences, thanks to the CX focus of leaders like Apple – creating an in-store “genius bar” buying experience – the number of people planning on buying in-store is declining – only 43%.

This seems to support the fact that customers value ease over experience. Furthermore, the wow of coming to see a smartphone seems to be losing some of its appeal. Smartphones are ‘known’ and customers no longer have the need to go and touch them before they buy them: 43% of respondents said seeing a phone in-person is the least important factor when purchasing or upgrading a phone.

As a matter of fact, the two most often cited obstacles to purchasing a phone is the requirement to go physically to a store (28%) and the paper processes associated with signing up and buying a new device (16%).

Dislike going to store and paperwork
Edited and reproduced with permission from Lightico

Customers Want to Be Serviced Over the Phone

Interestingly and somewhat counter to the digital world we now live in, the survey shows how 42% of customers want to speak with someone on the phone to resolve issues. This vastly overshadows every other channel. Digital-only service channels like email (only 17%) and through a website (a surprisingly low 12%) lack the immediacy and human element customers seek to be understood and to resolve issues. And, while wholly human, only 12% of customers like going to a retail store to resolve issues.

Phone support is best
Edited and reproduced with permission from Lightico

Telco Customers Demand Digital Sales & Digitally Enhanced Service

Given the competitiveness of the telco market, mobile operators are rightly looking for an edge to grow sales and streamline service. The survey of more than 1000 telco customers shows how simple digital CX interventions like e-signatures can boost sales dramatically and streamline common care concerns. With the two most salient issues being paperwork and the need to physically visit retail stores, digital tools can address some of the most salient CX gaps telcos are facing.

And there is a business imperative to digitize these interactions. More than half of consumers said they’d switch phone providers due to poor CX (53%). It has also practically become a mantra that CX is currently and will continue to be a defining differentiator between competition. Given the explosion in mobile digital commerce, this paints an interesting opportunity to better leverage digital tools for better servicing and digital, mobile sales.

Howard Schulman
I've worked with several call center technology companies delivering marketing and sales insights and strategy.



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