Being able to provide the same service to all in the face of rapid technological development is the major challenges that telecoms providers are currently facing up to – and the best way to help their customers is to prepare their employees.
Capita have recognised that differing key industries take on different approaches to their consumers. And there’s something to be learned from each of them to apply to your own sector. What does Capita say when it comes to the telecoms industry looking at employee experience?
People must be prepared for ‘the big switch’
As the speed of technology continues to become more personal and more engrained in our day-to-day, providers need to prepare customers for the future of connectivity and ensure that everyone has equal access. They also need to prepare their employees for the issues that they will be dealing with in their customer-facing roles.
The 3G network is gradually shutting down, yet many consumers have still not been made aware. While some have already turned their attention to 5G and so will not be impacted by this change, others need to be informed. UK 5G rollout began in 2019 and providers have started 5G trials in new cities, introducing the services to more areas, and improving reliability and coverage.
Yet there is little public knowledge or information regarding the matter. This will have a massive impact on those reliant on certain devices, deepening the digital divide and excluding people who are not digital natives or those who cannot afford to upgrade. This means that many people are calling their providers directly to find out the facts – and so employees need to make sure that they are in possession of them.
Because the impact of public switched telephone network (PSTN) switch-off and the digital transition is huge. When all analogue phone lines switch to digital, not just landlines are affected: personal alarms traditionally rely on analogue telephone landlines.
There are a million UK telephone-only voice-only customers, many with no broadband access. People in this group are more likely to be older, in a vulnerable position and/or financially challenged. Additional tailored support would ensure people understand the switch and are treated fairly, particularly the vulnerable. The employees will need to skilfully use tact on these occasions, and it is worth organisations being sure that they have a suitable resilience strategy in place for their staff.
Value for money remains a delicate issue
Many mobile phone and broadband consumers aren’t on the most suitable deal. Not enough people take it upon themselves to switch, with too many staying put and paying a ‘loyalty penalty’.
In an age where trust is the foundation of brand loyalty, telecoms providers are seen as one of the worst offending industries, increasing prices by almost 15% – above the inflation rate and seemingly penalising customers who stay.
The cost-of-living crisis added pressure to people’s finances. As well as this, many consumers are time-poor, with little patience to research and switch, resulting in loyal consumers being penalised even further. This means that customer service employees may also be faced with highly agitated and emotional calls from people who (perhaps rightly) think that their loyalty is unfairly being rewarded with higher prices.
Skilful communication is essential
As we become more and more reliant on online services, providers must rethink the fundamentals of the telecoms experience and act responsibly. They need to proactively engage with a tailored approach, one that actually speaks to people to develop a better tariff for them, emphasising offering an empathy and fairness.
Many customers are unaware of future phone and home internet price increases. Some households are actively cutting back on food and clothes in order to be able to afford the services. Yet many are still facing extraordinary challenges. Some have been unable to maintain payment plans and cover usage or arrears, with many experiencing this for the first time.
Digital Poverty Alliance found that 2.5 million people are behind on their broadband bills. This number must go down, not even further up.
CX is key to driving the rapid evolution of the telecoms – and without excellent employee experiences (EX), CX always suffers. Firms need to deliver exceptional CX, but they also have many internal pressures to juggle: optimising workforce productivity and EX; safeguarding data and privacy; cost-effectively delivering their customer relationship management, digital and analytics functions.
The telecoms industry has plenty of reasons to be optimistic. The macroeconomic hardships of this year have been a catalyst for reviewing the way organisations prioritise customers and the wider societal challenges. Many firms are now not only focused on organisational growth, but on prioritising the employee, the customer and the wider community.
Ultimately, the winners will be the operators that align all of these factors within their transformation programme, keeping the digital divide front and centre while creating better outcomes for their clients and exceptional experiences for their people.
Capita has published a series of reports on key industries to understand more about customers – including how businesses can best connect, support and transform their CX. Check it out today for more information.
This article was written by Capita, in partnership with CXM.