Strengthen the customer experience through digital portals

Digital customer portals can dramatically improve user experience and overall satisfaction levels.

The pursuit of digital transformation has stretched across every industry and market, with more organizations than ever looking to leverage technology to drive innovation. One of the key goals in any digital transformation initiative is to improve the customer experience and overall engagement. The telecom industry is fertile ground for such initiatives as telcos can significantly achieve these goals through the development and use of digital customer portals.

Telcos look to boost satisfaction levels

Thanks to the emergence and evolution of cloud-based, on-demand services, customer expectations are rising for telecom network providers. Customers want cloud-like network service offerings and capabilities, and the pressure's on for telcos to provide those on-demand services and meet user expectations.

Telecoms cannot afford to ignore the opportunity to enhance the customer experience through easier cloud-based services, as current customer satisfaction levels remain woefully low across the entire industry. The American Customer Satisfaction Index's May 2017 analysis of the telecom space found that customer satisfaction was particularly low for internet service providers. In fact, ISPs represented one of the two lowest-ranking fields the ASCI reviewed. The organization attributed these below-average figures to "slow and unreliable service," among other concerns.

These dwindling numbers could translate into falling revenues if telcos don't take action today. Clearly, there's work to be done to increase satisfaction levels in the telecom industry, but how can digital transformation efforts help?

Digital transform can help telcos increase customer satisfaction.Digital transformation can help telcos increase customer satisfaction.

Opportunities abound with digital transformation

Digitizing various aspects of operations – especially user-facing ones – can result in some significant benefits for telecom companies, and help them find solid ground in an otherwise unstable industry. McKinsey & Company partners Paul-Louis Caylar and Alexandre Menard noted that decreasing interest in traditional land lines and voice services is just one of many developments that have shaken up the telco space.

By embracing digital transformation and digitizing every corner of the organization, however, telecom businesses can reposition themselves for success.

"[Digitization] also offers telecom companies an opportunity to rebuild their market positions, reimagine their business systems and create innovative offerings for customers," Caylar and Menard wrote.

Ultimately, McKinsey & Company predicted that implementing digital transformation initiatives could help telecoms increase their revenue as much as 35 percent.

"Telcos must meet customers on their own terms."

How digital touch points drive satisfaction

It's no secret that users today prefer digital interfaces over more traditional touch points. End users want to be able to engage businesses and brands on their terms, and that often involves some form of digital interaction.

In fact, McKinsey & Company discovered that telco users who embarked on a purely digital customer journey reported higher levels of satisfaction than those that used traditional channels or a mix of both.

As demand for digital portals and touch points increases, telcos must revamp their user-facing assets to meet customers on their own terms.

Digital portals can provide end-to-end engagement

To really excel, telcos should take a holistic view of the customer experience when building and launching digital portals. It cannot be contained to one stage of the user journey; it encompasses everything from pre-sales to support and reporting. How might this look in action? Let's review some potential ways in which digital portals can support different aspects of the customer journey:

  • Pre-sales: It may seem counter-intuitive to create a digital customer portal for those who aren't actually customers just yet, but an easy-to-use, streamlined interface can remove barriers to conversion. Customers, particularly in the B2B space, do more research than ever before making contact with an organization's sales team. Why not facilitate that search with a portal that offers self-pricing and quote management capabilities?
  • Post-sales: Once the deal's done, telcos can leverage digital portals to increase engagement during the critical onboarding process. Contract and service-level agreement management features provide customers with complete transparency and governance, giving them insight into every detail of their new relationship. Meanwhile, service provisioning offers the flexibility to add on new services as needed and at a moment's notice.
  • Customer service: A customer service portal can serve as a one-stop shop for any issue, question or concern a user may have. Invoices, help desk tickets and orders, among other items can be accessed and viewed via a single digital interface. This provides customers with a headache-free way to dig into any aspect of their account whenever they wish.

One of the common themes here is giving some degree of control to customers through self-service portals. Customers are increasingly expecting such options in the digital age, and telecom companies must keep up with those trends. By leveraging digital portals in this way, telcos can drastically enhance the customer experience and drive satisfaction levels upward. Meeting demand for such cloud-based services could prove to be a key differentiator for telcos and a major advantage over the competition.

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