Your Customers Rely on You
Customer loyalty is the lifeline of all businesses—especially in the telecommunications space today. Retaining current customers is more important—and profitable—than acquiring new ones. Across industries, the probability of selling to an existing customer (60-70%) is much higher than the likelihood of selling to a prospect (5–20%).
In the turbulent, competitive telecommunications market, retaining customers is especially difficult. There are 915 wireless telecommunication carriers in the U.S. alone, and switching providers is easy for customers. In the U.S., the cable television and financial industries had the highest churn (25%) in 2020, with telecom/wireless at 21%. Not to mention, streaming services are making it easier for customers to drop or minimize their packages with pay TV providers in exchange for quicker and easier viewing experiences.
Telecommunications organizations make people’s lives easier—and better. People rely on internet, cellular and cable TV service to work remotely, stay in touch with loved ones, and inform and entertain themselves. When you’ve invited friends over to watch the big game, you need your cable connection to show up, too. Outages are frustrating, inconvenient and costly. People who can’t work without internet or cellular connections lose income during the down time, and communication service providers (CSPs) lose revenue when dissatisfied customers churn. Almost half (45%) of smartphone user churn is due to poor network coverage.
Delivering consistent service and pricing can be challenging for telecommunications providers. Network outages are difficult to predict—and sometimes caused by bad weather conditions and power blackouts that are impossible to prevent. Bidding wars, such as those between networks and professional sports leagues, have a significant impact on cable TV pricing. ESPN pays the National Football League $2 billion per year for Monday Night Football. When the NFL increases its renewal rates for broadcast packages, that higher cost gets passed along to cable customers.
Consistent Communication Keeps Customers Connected
CSPs cannot control the weather, power grid or sports leagues, but they can control how they communicate with customers. Consistent communication—regarding service outages, price increases and other changes that affect customer experience—is essential for customer satisfaction and retention.
Follow these three best practices to improve telecommunications customer loyalty.
1. Communicate consistently and proactively regarding service outages
Customers expect transparency from the companies whose services they use. People understand that problems arise, and they want to be kept in the loop when they do. Proactive notifications keep customers from guessing what’s going on, turning to social channels to self-serve and calling your contact center for answers.
- Immediately notify customers in the affected service area. Send customers timely messages with real-time updates. If you don’t tell customers what’s going on, they may turn to social media for information. Incomplete and inaccurate information shared via social media increases frustration and stress.
- Include status updates in real-time customer communications. Outages (planned or unplanned) in a particular area should trigger a service outage notification journey that continues until service is restored. Send customers a link to digital channels (web, in-app, etc.) to track progress in resolving the problem or completing the scheduled work.
- Inform your customer service agents. Equip your call center agents with real-time information regarding the status of the network and potential problems customers may encounter. Well-informed agents are better prepared to respond quickly and accurately to complaints and requests for information.
2. Personalize communications and offers
Personalized interactions with a brand are the norm. According to a McKinsey & Co. survey, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t occur. Most consumers say they’re more likely to purchase (76%) and re-purchase (78%) from brands that personalize. Across industries, companies that excel at personalization generate 40 percent more revenue from those activities than average players.
In the highly competitive telecommunications markets, personalization is critical for customer retention and revenue growth. How can you personalize the customer experience?
- Use journey analytics to analyze current behavior, predict future behavior and determine the best next action. Tailor your messages to the customer’s stage in the lifecycle. For example, offer customers relevant cross-sell packages based on their current behavior (e.g., product usage). For someone who frequently purchases pay-per-view sporting events, this journey provides discounts on a sports channel/package or special deal to encourage loyalty. If you notice a customer changed her last name in the system, offer a discount to add a new phone/line to the cellular plan. For loyal pay-tv customers whose usage is declining, deploy a digital save journey and proactively win back business.
- Optimize omnichannel notifications. If customers aren’t responding to email, try reaching them in another channel that you know is more successful with similar customer personas. Use customer information and journey management to reach out to them in different channels where call to action completion in the past has been successful.
Related Resource: Xponent Ignite for Telecommunications Datasheet
3. Deliver consistent messages across channels
When customer data and information about outages and special promotions are stored in different systems across your organization—and employees don’t have access to that information—miscommunication is likely. When someone calls to sign up for a promotional offer (received by mail) and the agent often doesn’t know anything about that special deal, the customer is likely to get frustrated. Customers shouldn’t hear about subpar offers and have to tell the agent the details of the offer they received. To ensure this doesn’t happen, notify call center agents about promotional offers, service outages and other issues that are likely to trigger calls.
To deliver consistent omnichannel notifications, you need a customer data platform that synthesizes real-time customer data from different systems and departments in your company. When marketing teams, customer service teams and journey orchestration platforms have access to customer journey data, they can recommend and guide customers toward relevant products and services and deliver seamless customer support.
Boost Customer Retention with Customer Engagement Platforms
CSG commissioned a Forrester Consulting survey of 480+ global CX leaders (including 121 in telecommunications) to learn about their customer experience (CX) practices and challenges. More than half (59%) of the telecommunications CX leaders indicated that their organization has experienced poor customer retention due to poor customer experience.
Telecommunications leaders are investing in customer engagement solutions (CES), including journey orchestration platforms, to improve CX and retention. More than half (52%) of telco CX leaders said they have experienced (respondents using a CES) or would expect to see (respondents not using a CES) increased customer retention as a result of implementing a customer engagement solution.
Telecommunications brands that communicate proactively, delivering personalized, consistent messages across channels will always see better customer loyalty.
Download our eBook, Telecommunications Transformation: Turn Customer Engagement into Your Retention Strategy, to discover best practices to improve retention—and where telco CX leaders are investing money and effort to overcome CX challenges.