Home // Blog

Telecoms Gain Innovation with Specialized Support Services

Every telecom provider must operate a contact center. Delivering customer support, however, is often considered a commodity, rather than a specialty, when it comes to selecting an outsourced provider. With the competition for customer retention intensifying, treating service as a commodity could become a reflection of the value your customers attribute to your brand.

As products and services become more complex, so does the ability to provide quality support. Yet when asked what the top criteria are for evaluating telecom providers, quality support came up third—after reliability and price—in research conducted by Ernst & Young.

While you may think that providing specialized service signals higher costs, what you may be overlooking is economies of scale. Outsourcers with expertise in telecom support services have already developed specialties. But even more important these days for telecoms could be the specialties the outsourcer has developed serving other industries with similar concerns, such as financial services and technology. Outsourcers with expertise across industries can bring big-picture thinking that telecom companies have trouble seeing.

Specialized vs. Commodity Service

Treating the procurement of a contact center outsourcer as a commodity purchase is indicative of what you’ll get. Answering calls and resolving customer issues is table stakes for contact center providers. It’s a commodity service that can be procured easily based on lowest cost, whether onshore, offshore, near shore or via virtual agents. It may serve its purpose of providing “support” but what additional business value does it bring?

  • Is customer lifetime value growing based on interactions in the contact center?
  • Are bottom box scores moving up the ladder toward top box scores?
  • Is first call resolution the norm at a reasonable average handle time?
  • Are escalations due to poor agent abilities increasing support costs?
  • Is your contact center providing a revenue stream through cross and up sell?
  • Are the analytics from customer data providing strategic value to customer experience development?
  • Is voice of the customer reflected in how your telco addresses interactions across channels?
  • Is customer sentiment reflecting poorly on your net promoter score?
  • Are customer defections increasing?
  • Are customers using only baseline connectivity and not selecting bundles with added services?

These 10 questions should enable you to set a baseline for an evaluation of what your current outsourced contact center provider is accomplishing toward your business objectives. Customer support is becoming more critical as today’s customers become more finicky and less loyal. In fact the research by Ernst & Young also found that just because a customer says they’re satisfied doesn’t mean they will stay or that they’ll buy more. It takes more than baseline satisfaction to generate customer loyalty. Support services that don’t go the extra mile won’t get you there.

Overlooked Opportunities for Service Innovation

It’s often thought that innovation comes from giving customers new products or services. But it’s worth considering that improving the quality of customer support provided can also create innovations for telcos that are often overlooked.
Below are three opportunities to consider:

  • Simplifying processes leads to efficiencies that produce higher margins for business models that may not be providing growth opportunities on their own.
  • Streamlining agent workflows by training agents to improve proficiency across product lines can reduce escalations and cost to serve.
  • Symmetry can be established with customers by using voice of customer data to create a better understanding of customer needs and preferences for cross and up sell opportunities.

By recognizing the need to integrate cost reduction and optimization processes into your telecom’s approach to innovation, a more holistic metric can be established to measure the impact of innovative activities. New revenue streams, reduced costs and non-monetary benefits can all be realized by selecting an outsourcer who brings a specialized support services to your contact center. Under these conditions, making the investment in the right contact center provider can more than pay for itself.