A Telco’s guide to 5G: How Telecom players can help their customers adapt
The transition from 4G to 5G
Flagship telecommunication technologies have fascinated the industry but 5G telecom service providers should be mindful of the shifting landscape and potential impacts. Also, the understanding that a 5G rollout is approaching should be placed into context despite idealized scenarios, the road is likely to be evolutionary, as argued over revolutionary.
According to research from TM Forum, 87% of CSPs have begun 5G deployment and digital transformation at some level, and according to the Ericsson Mobility Report June 2020, a total of 190 million 5G subscriptions are expected by the end of 2020, and by 2025 there is a forecast of 2.8 billion 5G subscriptions globally, accounting for about 30% of all mobile subscriptions at that time.
Speculation aside, customers finally have a glimpse of 5G emerging from concept to true progress and implementation. With the data usage increasing, telecom companies have aggressively developed pre-5G technologies e.g LTE Advanced, that lead 5G to enhance capacity. This is suggestive of the type of nuanced deployment of infrastructure that will render the 5G timeline segmentation, as opposed to a simplistic Pre-5G to 5G transition. We expect an active, but gradual, incorporation of technologies.
The telecom industry is actively implementing these technologies to not only increase overall network capacity but also intertwine their development paths with 5G deployment to expedite ease of transition. The generational change from 2G to 3G and then 4G/LTE represented true technology shifts with similar speed improvement requirements. 5G, while still committed with speed requirements, differs in that improvements are centered on the spectrum or channel optimization and high-frequency usage, which will indirectly increase network output.
5G, Telecom, and Customer Service
In the telecom industry, traditional service development has either been driven by what the network can do or what competitors are doing. This tactic doesn’t always have a lot to do with the customer and is ultimately a reactionary approach to innovation. The old define-and-push approach no longer works, and the telecom service providers everywhere know this has to change if they want to stay relevant.
In today’s era, the necessary approach required is a demand-and-pull model that welcomes the new ways people and companies consume services and content, rooted in the best possible customer experience. It requires reimagining the entire process to be based on customer experience outcomes and it has a direct impact on telecom business operations.
The telecom industry is opening up to the ecosystem to desegregate the business
To embrace a demand-and-pull model, telecom companies must understand their business holistically, rather than simply the infrastructure elements behind individual customer touchpoints. The customer service in telecom is not just about what they provide or how they provide it or troubleshoot it when there are problems. It’s about all of those things combined.
Telecom companies who get this right by leveraging their customer insights will have the power to drive a different experience and different outcomes.
The great news is that they don’t have to do it solely. In the 5G era, networks can be transformed into a platform that telecom providers and their partners can utilize together to create services that satisfy customer needs, whether it be online gaming packages with the network built-in or industrial automation services. The sky’s the limit.
Prioritizing the customer experience in the first place
The ways customers use their devices and data nowadays aren’t yet reflected in the structure of the telecom industry. Assume a scenario in which a telecom provider offered a premium customer to use apps anywhere, rather than penalizing the user for the consumption data. Proactive customer support along with premium benefits to loyal users is one way to ensure greater customer satisfaction. For telecom service providers, this is about seizing the moment to monetize it while also fostering relationships.
It is vital to begin viewing the network as a fluid platform for services that support those kinds of relationships with end customers. To make that happen, traditional processes need to be re-centered around the customer’s need so that all the mechanisms within the network are geared toward meeting that goal.
Designing customer service-centric operations
Traditional telecom companies have to become digital customer service providers. It’s a mindset that emasculates everything from service delivery to the innovation journey and requires being much more customer service-centric by getting past the idea that operations are simply the network operations center.
5G is changing the network and the customer journey, profoundly, and operations to0 need the change. A better balance must be found between supply and demand based on intelligent, on-demand processes that support the management of digital services from end to end over a software-based network.
These kinds of transparent customer services will be more complex than the ones offered today, without a doubt. Nevertheless, this outcome-driven approach to the customer experience is vital for the 5G telecom future by putting the focus on serving, above all else, the customer.
The need for proactive customer support
In this dog-eat-dog world, the success of any business depends on the quality of customer services it provides to the customers. Conventionally, when the customers were having issues, they contact customer service and the concerns were taken care of. This is called reactive customer service. But now businesses are embracing a proactive customer service approach. This is more powerful as it shows devotion to making the customer happy. It proactively communicates with the customers and asks them if they are facing any issues with the product or service. This will considerably decrease the number of inquiries the customer service representatives receive and will solve it before it becomes an issue and thus this increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Improves customer loyalty
According to a study by McKinsey, 70% of the buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
The way to a customer’s heart is much more than a loyalty program. Making customer-friendly service is about creating experiences worth talking about. To stay ahead of the competition, it is a must that you provide exceptional customer service to your customers. If you wish to bridge the gap between “good” and “great”, you will need to be proactive in fulfilling customer needs.
If you’re a telecom company that sells products to customers in the likes of network connectivity, you’d want to provide them with the best services possible. And in a world where people believe more in the idea of “experience”, it becomes essential for a business to provide a positive experience to their customers. The term “connecting with the customer” is gaining momentum, with the focus specifically on the fact that every need of their consumer is catered to well in advance.
By adopting a proactive customer service approach, telecom companies can deliver the best customer service and thus will build a strong and long-term relationship with the customers and will boost customer loyalty.
Helps to build customer trust
Despite how proactive your customer service team is, mistakes or unscheduled issues will occur. The best way to handle such a situation is to announce such mishaps to your customer before they occur. Letting your customers know about mistakes, will help you to gain their trust.
Greater user experience through post-sale support
Post-sales support is one of the best ways to impress your customers and to show how proactive you are. So with this proactive customer service approach, they can get the solution immediately and this will help to build a long-lasting relationship with the customers.
Once the customer has made a purchase, the customer service team shall send an email or be it a phone call asking if the product is okay or are they facing any issues. Sending a simple email will create a long-lasting positive impact on the customers and will improve customer experience.
The customers can even raise their issues and agents can give solutions before it escalates and makes the customer unhappy.
Helps to know what customers think about you
When it comes to providing experience to the customers, the experience must be top-notch. And be it any business, the only way to improve your services is to work on the feedback provided by customers. The feedback process plays a two-fold role.
The first benefit, which is as obvious as it might seem, is to help get an idea of what your customers feel about your product or service. However, there’s another hidden benefit, the idea of connecting with customers.
The only way to make sure that a customer is satisfied with your product or services is to ask questions about the same! Underestimating the power of asking questions is a mistake several telecom companies commit.
Helps to educate customers through self-service
As per the stats report of eConsultancy, more than 50% of customers prefer to find answers to their problems by themselves.
Most of the time customers ask basic questions and to get the answer to that question they need to call or email the customer care team, and this leads to frustration among customers when you don’t reach the right representative.
One of the simplest ways is creating a FAQ section on your website and include all the answers to the questions that are commonly asked by the customers. You can identify these common questions by reviewing customer’s calls or email logs or can discuss it with the customer service team or sales team. With this proactive approach, customers can easily get all the answers and this will save time and lessen the number of service tickets you receive.
Leverage 5G customer service to assist users
As the world looks forward to 5G becoming an everyday reality, now is the time for you to think about how 5G will impact your customer experience strategy. Whether you have a seasoned CX strategy or are just beginning to build and perform on your CX vision, you need to start thinking about how 5G has the potential to revolutionize the way you interact with your customers.
The demand from customers for more self-service capabilities, as well as the anytime access to more data, will not slow down. And it will continue to increase rapidly, meaning the telecom service providers must not just meet but exceed the demand placed upon it.
One strategy to improve the telecom industry’s network function and capability will be found in 5G’s ability to create Network Slicing. With 5G-supported technologies like AI generating continuous greater amounts of data, Big Data analytics will be crucial to harnessing all that new data to improve the customer experience.
It’s necessary to understand that 5G is all about being able to deliver significantly high speeds and ultra-low latency. By thinking about 5G in that context and considering the types of speed, latency, performance, and capability upgrades that 5G can deliver, telecom leaders can begin to think about the type of revolutionary experience they want to provide customers in the future.