Delivering premium customer experience – the key to brand success
7 August 2018
Mauro Zullo, Director of Sales & Business Development, Bulb Technologies
At a time when organisations are becoming increasingly integrated with technology, a superior customer experience is needed more than ever to outperform competition. To be able to provide an effective customer experience that is memorable, service providers must place the customer at the forefront and provide not only the best quality of network but also a personalised, 24/7 customer service. However, Ofcom’s most recent numbers show that service providers are still far from providing this premium service as customer complaints in the last quarter of 2017 have not decreased.
So where are businesses going wrong and what needs to be done?
Far too often, service providers are too slow to solve issues, leading to customer frustrations. Untrained staff and a lack of focus on the user and their consuming habits are often the cause. More than often, when called, customer agents escalate an issue to many different departments in order to identify and solve it. However, this leads to unnecessary costs for the service provider and increased frustration for the consumer, who has to deal with an interrupted service for too long. Moreover, a lack of understanding and knowledge of the client, who often feels as if they are being treated as a number rather than as a person, leads to greater customer churn.
To solve these issues, the business world is looking towards an ecosystem that is automated. Organisations must provide a customer experience management (CEM) that follows the digital trend of automation, in which responses are in real time and effective. Automating processes and including powerful automated data analytics systems in the customer service process helps organisations control, monitor and measure the customer experience, giving a 360-degree visibility of the customer to identify and solve issues proactively and cost-effectively, while providing a service perfectly adapted to the user’s needs and expectations.
Organisations must provide a CEM that follows the digital trend of automation.
Hello, and welcome to Business Reporter's Digital Economy Campaign. I'm Alastair Greener. According to communications regulator Ofcom's report published in April 2018, the number of telecoms and pay-TV complaints they received in the fourth quarter of 2017 stagnated at previous levels. To translate this news into numbers, one top-three provider on their broadband complaints list had more than 6,000 customers in three months who felt disgruntled enough to escalate their complaints to the regulator.
These stats certainly don't match customers' perception of a premium service. Are telecoms providers let down by the technology they use, or by the customer service teams? This is what we're going to discuss today with Mauro Zullo, Director of Sales and Business Development at Bulb Technologies. Good morning.
Good morning, Alastair.
I'd like to start by asking you to put your customer hat on and describe to me what good customer service looks like, what are our expectations. How does that whole journey take place?
I was on the train this morning commuting into London. And it was amazing to see the amount of people using their handsets. What we've come to expect from our service experience is an always on and always connected experience. We need to be providing a customer service which is proactive. And if you wait for a customer to raise an issue, then you've already failed that experience.
And it's interesting when you talk about customer expectation because we always want to know well, what is it that's actually preventing telecoms providers and customer service providers from providing the results that will give us our expectations.
You can imagine when you have an issue and you call to report this issue, a customer care representative, like a stag stuck in headlights, what am I going to do? How am I going to solve this problem? He would then have to pass this on to a support engineer.
Problem here is because of the exponential growth of the infrastructure, telecom infrastructure, the multiple systems that they have, this system engineer needs to be a real expert in multiple access technologies. And this is really hindering the customer care experience because what you have if you have multiple systems which are disconnected and no sort of backbone to connect them all.
And if we look at the way that we work today, technology is often brought in to help. So how does it help in this environment when it comes to technology, when it comes to customer service?
It needs to be the right investment in the right technology. Over the past few years, I think service providers have been focusing more on network centric technologies, whereas focus on the customer facing technologies have been neglected. And of course, when you look at it as a consumer, what's important here? It's important to have a service which is always running. If it's not running, then you need to be able to report that problem and you need that person on the other side to be able to solve that problem for you.
You said right at the beginning of the interview about being ahead of the game, that if they're calling you to say that something's gone wrong, it's too late. So now put that into the context of technology, in terms of it helping customer service providers being proactive. How does it do that?
What we do in Bulb Technologies is look at every infrastructure element. We look at network insights and we look at the home network. And through let's say, clever work flow optimizations, put this through a process and add some automatization to the whole process. So once we identify an issue, what are you going to do? You're going to have to be able to execute something on the insights that you've collected. So this would be some sort of proactive action.
We hear a lot about personalization these days. It seems to be like the big buzz word. So why is it so important to personalise customer service? And for that matter, how can you?
What we try to do is map our personalization journey to what's happening on the service side. For example, if the end user is experiencing some Wi-Fi problems, we will try to fix this automatically. If it's not able to be fixed, we will then perform as a manual action. Or we will ask a customer care representative to call you proactively and say, Alistair, you're having a problem. We understand you're having a problem. What we'll do for you is we'll send you a Wi-Fi extender, for example.
Let's say that I'm a head of customer service as an organisation and I've decided to upgrade my offering with you. Talk me through the process. What's it actually going to look like? How's it going to feel?
Imagine you're a customer experience officer, director. You've got millions of complaints coming in and the service is not working. You are sending out engineers on site again, this is partly because you don't know what's going on in the network, and partly because the customer agents don't have the knowledge.
What we do at Bulb Technologies, we have a customer experience management suite, called Cempresso, which sits on infrastructure elements, and collects information from the network, and we provide automated processing. We will create your work flow, which will automate the process of diagnostics and troubleshooting. What happens by implementing this approach, you are reducing the amount of calls that are coming in. You are reducing the amount of truck rolls. And you are increasing the level of customer satisfaction because you're solving a problem, in most cases, before it gets to the customer care agents.
And again, we know that this has its limitations. In certain cases, we are not able to fix a problem automatically. But what we do is we provide the right information to the customer care agent, or to the person who's in charge of making a decision in the organisation, about what's happened on the service side to be able to look and be able to either make a marketing call, or to be able to make necessary investment in infrastructure.
We know that everything's changing at an incredible pace at the moment and that includes the world of customer care. But are you expecting any major technological breakthroughs when it comes to customer service say, over the next 10 years?
I wouldn't say they're major, I think it's probably tweaks of what's already available today. So we're talking about analytics and intelligence. You're talking about AI or let's say, chat bots. So what we need to do is make the customer experience seamless. And to be able to do this, we really need to focus on the service levels and technology which automates as much as possible healing the networks before they become problems for the customer.
And that's really what it's all about. At the end of the day, if we can meet customer expectations, if we can meet the levels of service that they expect, then we're halfway there. And it's interesting to find out how technology is very much involved in that when it comes to the telecoms department and the way things are. So thank you very much indeed for explaining more. It's been great to hear it.
Thank you for having me.
Mauro Zullo from Bulb Technologies. Thank you very much indeed.
Thank you very much.