Telecom 2023: Five trends shaping customer experience

Startek Editorial
Startek Editorial

Feb 28, 2023 | 6 min read

Telecom operators and service providers face an increasingly competitive market. As technology continues to evolve and customer demands become more complex, telecom companies are looking for ways to make their services stand out from the competition. It is important to note that telecommunications companies can find it more complex than other industries to understand their customer journeys. Large players operating for many years are often managing legacy systems and unconnected data. Despite a wealth of customer data in their business it is often inaccessible to front-line teams, making it difficult to provide consistent experiences for customers. As communications service providers (CSPs) face new competition, enhancing customer experience (CX) becomes a crucial differentiator. Technology has been evolving at a rapid pace and telecom companies are constantly looking for ways to improve their customer experience.

The future of telecom customer experience will be shaped by several key factors, including 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality (VR).

Five trends shaping telecom customer experience

1. Automation, AI and ML

The customer experience delivered by telecom operators is evolving rapidly, driven by increased demand for self-service solutions built on automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These cutting-edge technologies enable new features and services that improve CX, such as chatbots and virtual customer assistants. In addition, AI and ML make it possible to more effectively and efficiently analyze customer data to identify trends and patterns. This insight can be used to improve self-service options, proactively resolve issues and provide personalized recommendations.

Telecom providers that embrace these emerging technologies will be well-positioned to deliver an exceptional customer experience that meets the ever-changing needs of today’s consumers. The telecom industry is under pressure to keep up with the demands of digital-savvy customers. They are expecting faster speeds, more reliable connections and innovative features and services.

  • Automation: Automation can be used to provide instant access to customer service 24/7. For example, chatbots can be used to handle customer queries and manage support tickets. These chatbots can use natural language processing (NLP) to understand customer queries and provide relevant responses, deflecting customers from live channels and improve response times.
  • AI: AI can be used to provide personalized services to customers. By analyzing customer data, AI can identify customer preferences and recommend products and services that are most likely to meet their needs. This can help improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue. AI can also be used to detect and prevent fraud in telecom networks. By analyzing call records and other data, AI can identify patterns of fraudulent behavior and automatically block fraudulent calls.
  • Machine Learning: ML can be used to predict customer behavior and optimize marketing campaigns. By analyzing customer data, ML can identify customer preferences and recommend products and services that are most likely to meet their needs. This can help improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue.

2. Customer centricity

Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have changed the way people communicate. No longer are phone calls and text messages the only way to stay in touch with friends and family. Now, people can use social media, chat apps and video calls to stay connected. With so many different communications channels available, it can be hard for companies to keep up with customer preferences. This is where personalization and segmentation come in. Personalization is the process of tailoring content and experiences to meet the needs of individual customers. Segmentation is the process of dividing customers into groups based on shared characteristics.

Both personalization and segmentation are key factors that are shaping the future of telecom customer experience. As companies across sectors have adopted these strategies, customers have come to expect a more personalized experience.

  • Social media: Social media platforms give telecom companies a way to connect with customers on a more personal level. Today, social media is an essential part of the CX strategy. It enables brands to understand their customer’s preferences and priorities and to build 1:1 connection between customers and brands. By monitoring customer conversations, companies can learn about their needs and wants. This information can then be used to create targeted marketing campaigns that address specific pain points.
  • Chatbots: Chatbots are artificial intelligence (AI) powered software programs that mimic human conversation. They can be used to answer customer questions, provide support and even make recommendations. Telecom companies are using chatbots to provide 24/7 support to customers.
    In the past, telecom companies could rely on a one-size-fits-all approach to customer experience. However, that is no longer the case. Today's customers expect a highly personalized and segmented experience that is tailored to their specific needs and preferences.
  • Big data: To meet these expectations, telecom companies must invest in customer data management and analytics tools that will allow them to collect and analyze customer data. With this information, they can segment their customers and create targeted experiences that are personalized to everyone.
    For example, brands can use next-gen analytics in telecom and media to enhance CX reducing customer churn by analyzing customer transaction data, detecting patterns in customer needs and adjusting service plans accordingly.

The need for personalization and segmentation is only going to continue to grow in the telecom industry. Companies that invest in the right customer experience solutions will be able to gain a competitive edge over their competitors and ultimately drive better business results.

3. Omnichannel strategy

Digital innovation has created an ever-growing collection of channels for customer service, such as smartphones, smart kiosks, smart TVs, wearable tech and social media. Companies worldwide are taking advantage of this to improve customer experience; the telecom sector not least amongst them with significant investments in developing channel strategies. Nonetheless, to successfully engage customers it's essential that customer-centric solutions remain the focus - siloed channel strategies can often lead to dissatisfaction.

An omnichannel approach presents businesses with a challenge. Before establishing the right technology, organizations ought to contemplate who their audience is and how the users will interact throughout their journey. Telecoms providers should be focused on help customers securely arrive at their aim quickly and in the fewest possible steps. Digital strategists need to outline a short-term and long-term system architecture that allows them to deliver omnichannel services.

4. 5G networks

The next generation of wireless networks, 5G, is expected to have a profound impact on the telecom customer experience. This new network technology promises faster data speeds, lower latency and more reliable connections. 5G networks will deliver improved performance and reliability. Customers will no longer have to worry about dropped calls or slow data speeds. And with lower latency, they'll be able to enjoy near-instantaneous responses from their telecom provider. This improved performance and reliability will lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, but it will also lead to higher expectations as customers compare the CX their telecoms provider offers to the best service they receive across industries.

With these advances, telecom providers will be able to offer new and innovative services that improve the customer experience. One of the most anticipated applications of 5G is its ability to support virtual reality (VR). Through VR, customers can immerse themselves in realistic, three-dimensional environments while AR blends real and virtual worlds. This technology has the ability to revolutionize customer service, making it possible for agents to provide assistance in a Virtual Customer Service Center (VCSC). In a VCSC, customers would be able to get help with tasks such as troubleshooting their device or understanding their bill.

5G will also enable other new services that improve the customer experience. For example, augmented reality (AR) could be used to provide step-by-step instructions for completing tasks such as setting up a new device or ordering a product.

AR and VR technology is already increasingly being deployed in retail channels and, as customers become more familiar with the possibilities, they will begin to expect this level of support.

5. Agent experience

In the telecom industry, delivering a world-class customer experience relies on the foundation of a superior employee experience. Telecoms companies must focus on creating a workforce that is both knowledgeable and engaged to ensure they deliver consistent experiences to their customers across all channels.

With a scarcity of available talent and the proliferation or remote and hybrid working practices, it is more crucial than ever for telecoms businesses to provide an environment that engages and empowers their customer support teams. By transforming agent experience, for example by empowering agents with on-demand training and reducing the burden of repetitive tasks through automation, telecom companies can build the foundation for superior CX delivery. 

The future of customer experience in telecom is an exciting and ever-evolving landscape. As technology advances, customer expectations increase. Forward-thinking telecom companies are leveraging technology to differentiate themselves from the competition. By focusing on these five key factors shaping the customer experience in telecom today, you can ensure your organization stays ahead of the curve.

With more than 30 years’ experience supporting telecom companies to transform their CX delivery, Startek® is the partner you can rely on to optimize your customer engagement models for growth and resilience. 

Contact us today to learn how we can support your brand.

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