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The Top Ways Customers Want to Engage with Service Providers


In our modern world, time is a precious commodity. It can’t be exchanged or bought back once spent. For this reason, customers are ever more time-conscious when interacting with brands and businesses. In fact, research has shown that when a customer contacts a business, 77% of customers rate speed to resolution as the best indicator of good service.

They want access to solutions and services quickly and simply, and it’s imperative that businesses incorporate these into their customer service, or risk losing customers to competitors who can provide what they’re looking for. 

Honing in on communication service providers, many businesses are still playing catch up when it comes to expanding and modernizing their communications strategies for customer engagement. Companies still fall back on the old tried-and-tested call center, requiring customers to go through the motions of talking to an agent to get an answer to their question or to access a service. 

We need a rapid overhaul of how we enable our customers to engage with our products and services. A businesses’ communication strategy should be built around its customers, not the other way round. 

The Challenge of Relying on Call Centers for Customer Engagement:

Having on or off-site assistance for customers is not a bad idea in theory, as it’s beneficial for businesses to have live assistance on hand should customers require it. However, relying on call centers as the primary point of contact between businesses and consumers is ill-advised and a bad long-term strategy for client retention. This is because:

  • Relying on call centers creates high call volumes, which result in longer waiting times and greater customer frustration.
  • Call centers are the most expensive and unpredictable channel, increasing support costs and generating publicity from acute customer service failures.
  • A negative front-end customer experience is more likely to result in customers disconnecting from services, canceling their accounts, and seeking alternative providers. 
  • There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to customer communication. Your customers are diverse and you simply cannot afford to roll out the same communication strategy for all of them and expect to see results. 

From the perspective of a customer, they want to feel prioritized and valued by the company with which they do business. Businesses need to place the customer at the center of their communication strategy to secure longevity. How can companies do this? 

The solution lies in allowing customers to choose their preferred communication channel to make contact, buy products and services, and find help.

What are the Top Ways Customers Prefer to Contact Service Providers?

Tailoring your customer engagement requires an understanding of what popular communication channels customers opt for. Some of the top channels customers prefer to use include:

What Does This Data Tell Us About Customer Engagement?

Customers want freedom of choice above all else when it comes to interaction with businesses. A multi-channel engagement strategy coupled with smooth transitions between platforms makes communication a more enjoyable and personalized experience for each customer, increasing their satisfaction and winning their long-term loyalty. 

As a company, you might be put off at the idea of the scope of overseeing these various communication channels, but multi-channel management doesn’t need to be overly complex or tiresome. The best solution is to harness the power of the cloud and utilize cloud-based software capable of integrating with a variety of digital communication platforms.

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What digital up-sell looks like

what upsell looks like 2

This wonderfully crazy (and real) analytics pattern shows what digital up-sell looks like.

It shows the number of Telco products and services purchased through digital channels by customers of a mid-sized service provider who is digitally enabled by AwareX. Up to 120,000 discrete products sold per month via digital channels, the value of this in ARPU is around 86 US cents for each subscriber each year or put another way $8.6M for every 10M subscribers.

You can see the tempo of new product introduction, 15 new products brought to market in 12 months generating incremental revenues, with close to zero cost of sale so impacting the P&L bottom line and balance sheet cash disproportionately positively.

You can also see the life of a new product is fairly consistent at around 2 to 4 months after which it needs to be killed as opposed to the old CSP practice of leaving it in the product catalog until it enjoys a pension! This clearly shows a more dynamic, more energized rollover of fast product implementations and value realization.

It’s crazy that pretty much all CSP’s have 10,000 plus products in their product catalogs when in this digital age a product life cycle might be 4 months at the most instead of years. Radical simplification of the product portfolio seems to be a logical step, with a maximum (as you can see above) of 5 products being offered at any one time to avoid customer confusion whilst maintaining adequate choice to suite individual customer requirements.

Customer choice is extremely relevant and is being achieved through micro-segmentation. This means enabling the matching of customers to products, services and offers. Understanding your customers through real time analytics, micro segmentation, context awareness, A/B testing, push messaging and geofencing combine to offer a truly valuable experience. We regularly see click through rates on promotions and banners to be up to 100X higher than standard advertising industry rates of 0.5% creating a real up-sell business model for the digital service provider.

A killer app that we have delivered for a number of our customers during the current Covid-19 crisis is the ability to digitally pay for someone else’s bill, this has seen huge adoption with growth rates up to 360% week on week, a fast new offering that drives cash flow for the service providers all monitored in real time, and as you see above its fun to monitor as well.

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Bad Digital...

top view of businessman hand working with modern technology and digital layer effect as business strategy concept

In my last Blog post I talked about a bad digital experience with my energy supplier. Simply delivering a digital customer experience does not make for a better business or a more satisfied (or lower cost) customer, it has to be the right digital customer experience, and there are plenty of examples of where companies simply do not get it…

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