Mobile, Broadband and Media Service Providers Must “Play to Win” with Digital Care

It used to be that businesses adopted technology advancements first, followed by consumers. Today, consumers are leading the way.  The majority of customers interact with their mobile, broadband and media providers through multiple channels. The expectation of customers is that their experience will be seamless, irrespective of channel, device, time, or place. For support and service, while traditional contact center services provided via phone or email still reign supreme, the gap between traditional and digital preference is narrowing—quickly.

While the transformation to provide omni-channel service is challenging, the payoffs are extensive, including, tangible digital customer experience differentiation and company bottom line. In one study, McKinsey found that customers who started and ended their service journey through traditional channels declared a satisfaction rate of 57%, those whose journey was comprised solely of digital care channels reported a satisfaction rate 19% higher.

Additionally, digital care offers the opportunity to collect more customer information to enable more personalized service. Given that enhancing the customer’s experience is at the top of the list for many service providers, digital care should be considered as resource for continuous improvement that can be used to inform customer experience design for all stages of the customer lifecycle. Improving the digital customer experience will also help to drive sales attributable to online channels.

However, the 2013 Global Consumer Pulse Study conducted by Accenture finds that many companies are merely incorporating digital channels in a “play not to lose” strategy. Sixty-six percent of the 13,100 consumers interviewed switched providers due to poor service, but 82% of them agreed that their service provider could have done something differently to save the relationship. Seventy percent of consumers surveyed used at least one digital channel to obtain customer service and support.
According to Accenture:

“The lack of movement in key customer indicators is a strong sign that a play not to lose strategy has run its course. To play to win, companies need to understand that every customer is a digital customer, recognize that consumer dynamics have changed, and adjust their customer models in response.”


Digital Care is More than a Choice of Channel
Digitization is transforming the buying and support experience in all industries. And the digital customer will expect the same service level from Service Providers as they receive from E-Commerce companies or on-line Banking services. Every chance a service provider has to interact with a customer is an opportunity to impress. Digital care expands this opportunity across all stages of the customer lifecycle, whether first selecting a product or service, resolving a concern, or expanding the portfolio of services and products in use.
Sykes view is that digital care crosses several spectrums from interactive care to social care to mobile care.

Interactive care includes online chat, video chat, self-help tools, and FAQs. It is the most active form of digital care with 42% of consumers using it during the last year. The top two types of interactive care used are online chat and online FAQs. In fact, if a service provider’s customer service channels included online chat, 90% of customers would be likely to use it.  Improving issue resolution through interactive care channels offers strong opportunity considering that 55% of consumers would prefer to use it—even over traditional care—if they knew their issue would be resolved.

Social care includes social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as online forums and communities. Social care also carries expectations of swift response, with the average time expectations to be within the hour when a consumer reaches out in a digital channel. But there’s also indication that a brand’s proactive outreach to both assist with a purchase or to answer a concern would greatly improve their opinion of the brand. There are also tangential benefits to proactive outreach using social media. Nearly 75% rated 6 or above on a scale of 1 to 10 that seeing a brand that engages with customers or prospects on social media would improve their loyalty to that brand. Responsiveness is important.

Mobile care includes apps, SMS text messaging, and mobile chat and is even more demanding with 62% of consumers saying they expected a response within 10 minutes. The upside of mobile care is that 25% of consumers sought customer care through a mobile app. Overall, 59% said that if a company offered them a mobile app that was helpful, they’d be open to receiving information about new products and services via the app. Fifty-five percent of consumers rated the importance of offering mobile care an 8 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10.
Winning with Digital Care

We have identified several opportunities that will help service providers win more often with digital care. The first is to determine the most expedient way to help customers find resolution through digital care. If this is not done right, the number of interactions can increase to more than 16 in digital channels, where traditional channels resolved issues within 1 – 5 interactions. The second is that consumers don’t perceive digital care to be convenient. Improving these two perceptions can help to dramatically transform a brand perception in the market it served.