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Telecom Customers: Advocates or Antagonists?

The relationship between contact center transactions and telecom customer needs must lean heavily toward the customer, rather than the company. Smart phones and mobile devices are playing larger roles in your customers’ lives as communication channels evolve.
The 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology report found that 60% of Gen Y consumers aged 18 – 30 compulsively check their smartphones for emails, texts or social media updates. More than 40% would feel anxious if they couldn’t do so.
The reality is that consumers are dependent on mobile devices, wireless access and being connected online. The question is whether they’ll buy those services from your company or your competitor?

It’s Time to Tilt the Scale in Your Favor

Communication Service Providers (CSPs) have lagged behind other industries such as technology, grocery chains, retailers and logistics firms in customer experience. Each of those industries ranks substantially higher with consumers than their telecom provider in customer advocacy.
Telecoms must focus beyond customer satisfaction—a moment in time attitude—to customer loyalty and advocacy—a longer-term behavior to improve customer lifetime value and continued growth and advantage. The way customers experience your company has never been more important. As your customers become more connected and reliant upon the services you provide, they can either contribute to your business objectives or negatively impact them on a much larger scale.
Developing customer advocacy is a critical outcome that must be achieved through customer experiences in relation to your brand. Currently, antagonists outweigh advocates by more than 3:1 based on research conducted by IBM.

  • Advocates (18%) are loyal customers who spend more, refer new customers and resist competitive offers.
  • Antagonists (60%) are customers who feel negatively about your services, will sometimes speak badly about your company and have the potential to negatively impact your brand. They also spend less and cost more in support services.
  • Apathetics (22%) are neutral and passive, showing no strong feelings either way. They could become advocates or they could be enticed to leave by a competitor with a more appealing offer.

Use the Contact Center to Understand Customer Transactions

To shift antagonists toward advocacy, it’s imperative for Telecoms to improve their understanding of what drives customer transactions. Call recordings, email exchanges, chat sessions, social media posts and forum threads provide opportunity beyond simple quality monitoring and problem solving to understand what caused the transaction. Your contact center receives, monitors and responds to the transactions that take place in these channels and is your primary source of insight to the voice of the customer.
Each transaction is a record of the effort expended by both the customer and the company in achieving resolution. But, more importantly, each transaction is an experience that either contributes to advocacy or to antagonism. The strength of the contribution to either side can also unseat an apathetic customer and sway them in one direction or another.
While your telecom may be conducting data analysis on channel transactions, it’s important to understand that the data, alone, is not representative of the customer experience. Nuances, emotions, tone and the level of acceptance or rejection of resolution is more clearly identified by customer service agents and personalized quality monitoring designed to measure attitudes and expressions of pleasure or disappointment. Personalized interactions in the contact center also provide an opportunity to transform outcomes by modifying processes on the fly, as appropriate—something digital channels removed from human contribution have a hard time accomplishing.
By incorporating contact center analysis into customer experience design, telecoms can gain insights that inform strategic business decisions about how to build better customer relationships that result in higher advocacy and a more sustainable business model.