Telecommunications companies are ill equipped to meet the customer service demands of the omnichannel consumer. This is the headline that leads our latest research paper, ‘The illusion of digital success in the telecommunications industry.’ The report examines where, when and how 54 of the leading European and American telcos present contact channels to their online visitors, identifying the problems currently faced by providers and providing insight into how these problems can be remedied.
A lack of technological development means that telcos, worldwide, are failing to provide the personalized service that consumers expect from them. And consumers aren’t happy. In the UK, the number of mobile customer service complaints recently rose by 13 percentage points; in the US, telcos almost always sit at the bottom of customer satisfaction tables; in Germany, a recent DSL survey found that only 44% of consumers are happy with the service that they’re receiving. This isn’t good for business; revenues from telecom services, Europe-wide, have declined by 16% in the last 8 years.
Telcos aren’t determining user intent
Our research found that 56% of telcos drive all of their online visitors to the call center in one click or less, indicating a distinct lack of intelligent technology that can determine, and react to, user intent. Treating all users the same, regardless of why they’re on a company website, can have a negative effect on the way that consumers perceive the business.
In an ideal world, companies would be able to identify each consumer’s needs. This would enable them to present a phone number (if necessary) at the appropriate point in their customer journey which connects them directly with an agent in the call center who is already equipped with a full understanding of the caller’s needs. This isn’t an abstract ideal: companies have the ability to take the reigns of the customer journey by using technology that delivers on the promise of personalization.
Learn from online data
Telcos are not doing enough to foster the ideal customer experience. If they were, they would be more proactive with their contact channel offering. Companies that have proactive channels are actively learning from online data to improve the customer experience and increase sales opportunities. But 67% of telcos have none at all, meaning that the majority have their sites set up so that the visitor has to find and engage with the contact channels themselves.
Our research determined which countries house the most technologically developed telcos. While no French or Norwegian telcos offer a proactive contact channel at any point during the customer’s online journey, 85% of German telcos proactively engage their visitors with a chat box. And 100% of Danish firms offer a prompt asking the customer whether they would like an agent in the call center to call them back.
The US also has a stronger than average showing with proactive chat forming part of 63% of firms’ contact channel strategies. 60% of UK telcos adopt the same strategy, along with 42% of Dutch, 33% of Spanish and 20% of Belgian companies. For the majority of telcos who have proactive contact channels, chat is king.
More telcos need to take advantage of the consumer data that’s already available to them. They have the ability to improve the online customer experience and increase sales; they just need to recognize and jump on the opportunities for improvement that are laying on their feet.
The full results of our report, The Illusion of Digital Success in the Telecoms Industry, can be downloaded below.