How to Avoid Turning a Promoter into a Detractor in 1 Day!
I’ve spoken to many senior telecoms professionals over the years that frequently tell me “it’s all about the customer” and use phrases like “customer 360 view” but is it all talk or do they actually practice what they preach?
Recently, I experienced some mobile network coverage problems at my home and had to do something many of us would rather avoid, I had to ask my Service Provider for help. Nowadays there are many choices to contact your Service Provider; their shop, call the call centre or go online and email them, use the live chat function or post something on Facebook or Twitter. I have multiple personal and business accounts with my provider and so that gives me lots of options.
I started with the shop because it’s close to my house. After waiting over 10 minutes to be seen I explained the problem to the assistant. The coverage at my home has started to fluctuate recently and it’s resulting in dropped calls, inability to make/receive calls and call quality is often a problem. The assistant asked for my postcode and checked his ‘predicted coverage’ map which said I have excellent 2G coverage and variable 3G/4G coverage. If only that were true. The answer – a Femtocell – it plugs into your home broadband and sends your calls and messages over the internet instead and mine for £100. So you want me to pay to fix a service that I already pay you for? I was not even asked for my details despite carrying an iPad and two iPhones. How can you best serve your customer if you don’t know who they are? Next stop the call centre, and again, the solution to my problem, pay £100, followed by a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. This survey helps identify both the fans who promote your brand as well as the unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede your growth through negative word-of-mouth. Maybe an email might work, a week later still no response, despite the 2 day response target in the automatic response message. Online chat yields the same results, so I provide numbers, ask for contract expiry dates and how long it takes to get a PAC (Porting Authorisation Code) number to allow me to transfer my numbers to another provider. The reaction from my Service Provider is underwhelming as I wait, expecting at some point that the years of loyalty and my significantly higher than average ARPU might count for something, but no.
Does my Service Provider know me, do they show me any loyalty and do they even care? In a subscriber base of millions maybe I am expecting too much? Nordstrom, Lexus and Amazon all seem to be able to provide experiences that exceed expectations. Wouldn’t it be great if I had engaged at the first point via my chosen channel and they had actually said they would raise a ticket and take a look or offered the Femtocell for nothing, which is probably cheaper than the resources utilized as the process continues without resolution. Not only is there a risk of losing me as a customer but I am resorting to alternatives such as Skype, Viber and Whatsapp. This decreases my usage on the Network for incoming and outgoing calls which in turn reduces the chance of out-of-bundle revenues as well as reducing termination charges. Many of the calls I make and receive are International so attract higher margins and higher termination rates which merely increases the revenue lost.
Meanwhile, there is a team of people analyzing churn data, another team working on customer retention and another team looking at the customer experience. I completed the NPS survey, giving a rating of 1 out of 10 and went from promoter to detractor in one day. They have the data from my interactions across multiple channels, my NPS survey result and the fact that I asked for contract expiry dates and timeline for PAC numbers. This data should be correlated against me as the customer. My lifetime value and high profitability measures should be ringing alarm bells by now, still nothing. They know where I live and they know I have several accounts across business, leisure and pre-paid systems. With all this information they should be able to prevent me churning all of my accounts to another provider. The data is there, but it is not connected. The opportunity to prevent churn was there in real-time and is now there in historical analysis. In a few months my contracts will expire, I will ask for PAC numbers and my Service Provider’s retention team will attempt to persuade me to stay due to the risk of losing future revenue along with the original Subscriber Acquisition Cost (SAC). This retention activity will add further cost and if successful, will likely result in a reduced contract revenue as they seek to incentivise me to stay as their customer.
Maybe Voice performance is not as important as it once was or maybe the customer experience is not a strategic priority for my Service Provider? A quick scan of their latest annual report tells me that is not the case as they frequently use terms like ‘provide an excellent customer experience’ and ‘customer-focused’ in their strategic outlook as well as citing reliable calls as the customer’s number 1 priority. It also highlights that they not number 1 in terms of NPS in my market but are investing heavily in technology, processes and people to try and change that.
One customer is now generating lots of data, using multiple care resources, pulling down the NPS and telling lots of people about the poor experience they are having. Service Providers spend millions on people and technology but what’s the point if you’re not addressing the basics of knowing the customer? How can you help if you don’t know me? Master my data! I’m telling you everything and engaging every way I can. Connect my accounts, connect my interactions, understand my household, understand my relationships and you’ll understand me. Once you master the data it doesn’t matter which channel I use they all have the same view and maybe you miss the first warning signs in real-time but the analysts can also see the connected view in their historical data. Mastering customer data provides on average a 5% churn reduction, 5% increase in upsell, 30% increase in marketing effectiveness, improved sales and better lead conversion.
Master your data, master your customers, master your business.
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