Customer experience key factor in determining subscriber growth for telecom providers, study finds
Customer centricity will be the key to driving long-term growth for telecommunications (telecoms) providers, a recent survey found.
The joint study was conducted by Infobip, a leading omnichannel communications platform provider, and Kantar about what telecom subscribers want.
The objective is to understand what telecom subscribers want and, in turn, what telecoms around the world can do to improve their customer experience.
More than 3,000 telecom subscribers aged 18 to 69 in 15 countries worldwide participated in the study.
The findings disclosed that 53 per cent of subscribers switch operators due to poor customer service. Therefore, telecoms face challenges in becoming more customer-centric and communicating with subscribers through multiple channels in a unified manner.
Meanwhile, the top reason that respondents cited for switching telecom operators is too long to resolve their issue (48 per cent), followed by the need to contact the provider multiple times regarding the same issue (45 per cent), long waiting time to contact customer support (36 per cent), and getting transferred between agents and repeating their issues (35 per cent).
Other less-mentioned but notable causes included limited communication options, no replies from the operator to messages, no status updates upon issue resolution, and no 24/7 customer support.
Lim Jiun Kei, head of Operator Partnership Region APAC at Infobip, stated in an online press release on Friday that customer experience has now arguably become the most important factor driving customer loyalty and revenue growth in the telecommunications industry.
He also pointed out that the reasons customers change providers indicate a strong need for a holistic customer experience solution, also known as a “omnichannel communication solution".
This omnichannel can assist telecoms in understanding their subscribers' data, orchestrating personalised customer journeys, automating support, assisting agents in resolving customer issues with the availability of conversation history, and facilitating seamless cross-channel and chatbot to agent transfer.
The survey found that Covid-19 has also changed the way 60 per cent of subscribers interact with their telecom operator, with the use of digital channels increasing by 16-21 per cent while in-person communication has decreased.
Hence, as more people use digital channels for communication, omnichannel customer experience has become something they have come to expect.
Lim Jiun Kei said that the same goes for Thailand. He cited DataReportal, an online reference library, which found that Thailand's internet penetration had increased to 54.50 million users, or 77.8 per cent of the total population. At the same time, people are now spending an average of around nine hours on the internet each day, an increase of 4.2 per cent from the previous year.
"To deliver a differentiating customer experience and stand out from the competition, telecoms must become far more agile, prioritise delivering a superior experience, embrace new technologies, and proactively direct subscribers to digital self-service channels that provide a frictionless journey," he suggested.
Customers are now more technologically savvy and willing to try out new innovative products and services from their telecom providers, he concluded. They anticipate receiving digital self-service via an omnichannel approach that will ultimately deliver best-in-class customer experience.
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States were the 15 countries surveyed.