When telecommunications companies lower their spending, it often comes at the cost of the customer experience, but what if they could align their budget with their customers’ needs?
Facing rising infrastructure costs and the need to provide unique experiences more seamlessly than the competition, many telecommunications companies have designated 2024 as the year of reducing spending. Unfortunately, this mentality often finds itself at odds with another common pain point telecom companies face: customer satisfaction.
Continuously rated as one of the worst among any industry, telecom brands have long struggled with their CX offerings, and redesigning existing processes to cut costs often results in customers having one more roadblock to traverse on their already complicated service journey. This usually ends with more income loss due to customer churn, negating any savings from the redesign.
However, with inefficient processes causing many issues impacting both CX and expenditures, telecom companies need to strike at the root of their issues instead of delivering momentary wins. From utilizing automation to optimize back-office operations to entrusting non-core functions to experienced third parties, here are four ways telecommunication companies can reduce their costs while also improving their customer experience.
AI in the Contact Center
Contact centers are one of the primary areas where businesses interact with their customers, but also where they lose the majority of them. With the average agent turnover rate reaching 60% in 2023, many telecom companies have struggled to meet the demands of their customers with their drastically reduced staffing.
While AI tools like virtual assistants are no strangers to contact centers, it is past time for telecom brands to take full advantage of the CX and budget improvements they provide. Offering support through a variety of digital channels like mobile apps and the internet, virtual assistants provide 24/7 support to many of the smaller customer questions that agents get held up by, adding far more scalability to businesses at a much lower cost. Additionally, they can also be used in the training process to provide more accurate examples of customer interactions, saving telecom brands thousands of dollars on hiring trainers and creating new training material.
In the near future, telecom brands can also receive shorter-term wins with generative AI in their contact centers. Although their integration with chat functionality is still developing, gen AI can quickly assist agents with customer queries, either through auto-generated summaries of calls during support escalations or by providing information on more niche questions newer hires may not know about.
Automation in Back-Office Workflows
Back-office operations are vital for any industry to properly function, especially one like telecommunications, where customer retention and support are a must. Unfortunately, many of these functions have not received the benefits of digital transformations like other divisions and rely on manual labor, which commonly results in many human errors that can throw off analytical models.
By introducing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) into back-office workflows, telecom brands can quickly catalog data, greatly reducing the excessive time and operating costs tied to performing this work manually. Not only does this allow many back-office employees to focus on income-driven and CX-boosting tasks, but having all this data centralized in one spot will allow employees to have access to an overhead view of the company’s performance, which can be used to generate better marketing, personalization, and support services for customers.
With many telecom brands operating on a global scale, data siloing is unfortunately far too common, impacting the speed and efficiency at which they can modify their CX offerings while also resulting in excessive amounts of spend on products and services their consumers may not even want or need.
However, once automation helps transform back-office workflows, telecom brands can take advantage of their centralized, de-siloed data and transform them into valuable insights through predictive analytics. As an industry that suffers from a large average churn rate of up to 35%, telecom brands can utilize predictive models to anticipate potential churn events based on current customer behavior and act appropriately to retain them.
Predictive analytics can also help with another common telecom pain point: network and equipment maintenance. Failures and the resulting downtime can dramatically impact CX scores and result in unnecessary expenses, but through predictive models, telecom brands can track the conditions of these services, setting time aside to perform maintenance during slower periods of the day to minimize any disruptions to customers.
Partnering with Third-Party Organizations for Non-Core Operations
Although the above methods can all help increase CX and budget efficiency, the truth is that many of them require full business transformations, something that not all telecommunications companies can set into motion on their own. That’s why telecom brands have begun partnering with third-party organizations experienced in customer operations to make these changes a reality in their company.
Whether it be staffing issues in contact centers or uncertainty regarding how to utilize AI and automation tools within their organization, these external partners are well-equipped to fill in any gaps within a telecom brand’s workflow. Once started, these organizations look for the issues causing customer unhappiness or unneeded expenses and then deliver a solution that works best for that brand. This can range from supplying more technicians in a busy period to providing and integrating the latest technology into client systems to optimize their workflows. This means that telecom brands no longer have to spend the time and money developing in-house resources or performing these installations on their own and provides a welcome level of scalability that delivers the exact services and employees they need when they need it.
Keep Service Quality Up & Costs Down
Although these strategies can greatly help telecom organizations lower their expenditures, actually implementing them can be easier said than done without the help of a trusted partner.
At eClerx, we recognize that transformations do not happen overnight, which is why we offer in-depth CX consulting to clients to target areas that can be improved, as well as demos of our own AI and automation products to ensure that your business can get back to what you do best, and more efficiently than ever.