Summary >

There is a clear dissonance between what service organizations, such as telecommunications, are delivering and what customers expect. The telco industry is a highly competitive market, with organizations likely to invest, and compete, with each other for customer experience and acquisition. Understandably, telco customers hold high expectations for the service that they are paying for, yet the telco industry simply isn’t offering the expected experience to its customer base.

In light of the gap between customer expectation and reality, ClickSoftware conducted its 2017 Field Service Report. The study—across seven countries—indicated that the telco industry, alongside other service organizations, needs a better way to engage with customers and, thus, deliver an improved customer experience. The study also recognized that suppliers are heavily focused on the delivery of new technologies, whereas optimized, real-time communication and a transparency for service delivery are high on the customer agenda.

This evidence, supporting the lack of customer satisfaction within the telecommunication industry, can be verified by a simple internet search for 'bad customer service telco' and observing the sheer volume of articles written on the subject, from publications across the US, Europe and Australia. Forrester analyst, Dan Bieler, discusses in two of his blog articles, ‘Poor customer experiences remain the Achilles heel of telcos’ digital transformation efforts’ and ‘Make Omnichannel a Cornerstone of your Digital Transformation – The Telco Angle’, how rampant customer dissatisfaction seems to plague the telco industry globally.

What does this mean for the future of telcos?

The results of the survey, combined with numerous articles on the lack of great customer service in the industry, should provide an eye opener for telcos; they need to be more aware of customer expectations and meeting these in terms of the services and overall experience they provide. The vast amount of complaints and dissatisfaction emphasise how it is not just an odd problem here and there. Customers want improved communication and efficient services, not cancelled appointments or unacceptable wait times. In today’s fast-paced world, these expectations are nothing out of the ordinary. Telco service providers should embrace heightened expectation, as a result of ‘instant’ technology services, as a basic step towards achieving customer satisfaction.

The repercussions of bad customer experience include a negative economic impact, a damaged reputation, and a loss of customer retention rates. In the age of social media, customers have more public avenues than ever before to complain about poor service to their peers. If an individual receives bad service, they can easily and immediately share their bad experience with family members, friends, and even online strangers. The risk of bad reviews on social media continues to grow, with online users now frequently reading or sharing viral posts that highlight service mistakes. The fool-proof way to avoid social media backlash is undoubtedly to improve the service that is given to customers.

Telecommunications firms must understand their options when it comes to addressing the correlation between outstanding customer experience and increased revenue, customer retention rates and satisfaction. Only then will they take the steps necessary to improve their services to fulfil their customers’ expectations.

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