Happy customers are better customers. They spend more money with you, use more of your services, are less likely to complain to customer service, are less likely to churn and are more likely to recommend your services. This is obvious. But, sometimes knowing if customers are happy or not is less obvious.
How do you know if your customers are happy? Just because they haven’t called customer service and complained five times in the last month, or have churned doesn’t mean they’re happy. Maybe they view their telco as a commodity provider and see all the alternatives as equally dull. This uninspiring viewpoint means that they’re indifferent. They will probably stay with you, and reluctantly spend the minimum amount of money with you. On the other hand there’s a good chance they could churn at the first sight of a cheaper offer.
In order to measure if customers are happy, indifferent or ready to churn then you need to measure customer experience. One of the problems with measuring if customers are having a good experience with all aspects of your service is that the range of touch points is so vast – from shops to the edge of the network. Communication service providers need to able to collect all the relevant data (e.g. from network probes to marketing systems to web analytics and everything in between). Add to this the advent of digital services and the vociferous customer appetite for data means that the sheer volume of data needed to continuously measure customer experience is a big data problem. But it’s not just about big data. It’s also about fast data. Having the data quickly enough to trigger a contextually relevant response to any problems and / or identified opportunities that effect customer experience is also needed. Why? Because the quicker problems are identified and fixed then the happier the affected customer will be.
Happiness is not just a nice, touchy feely state, where everyone is smiling inanely. It’s also a hard business driver. Commenting on the increase in customer profitability following the implementation of a strategy to improve customer service, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary commented “If I’d only known that being nice to customers was going to be so good for my business I would have done it years ago”, (source Bloomberg, May 26th, 2015). According to a recent paper by Analysys Mason having happy customers pays dividends for communications service providers. Some of the stats from Analysys Mason included in the paper include:
· Revenue uplift: Happy customers have been shown to buy almost 2 services from a CSP, versus unhappy customers buying 1.5 services.
· Churn reduction: Unhappy customers are 2 to 2.5 times more likely to defect to alternative providers than happy customers.
· Increased usage: Happy customers consume about 20% more goods and services than customers who are reported as unhappy or detractors.
Coming back to the point about managing data so you can accurately measure customer experience and customer happiness. According to Analysys Mason one of the problems with big data projects is that historically data preparation typically takes 50-70% of a big data analytics project’s time and effort. With data volumes and complexity increasing it’s clear that CSPs will need to examine methods and systems to reduce the timescales and effort needed in data preparation. Specialisation in telecoms data is seen as key here. As telco data is unique having a deep understanding of telecom data and the business drivers specific to telecoms reduces the workload of data prep. This includes the cyclical effort of finding data, building models and refinement by supporting the more common business requirements and having knowledge of what different data sets to collect and how to collect them.
Having the data to tell you if customers are happy, indifferent or getting ready to leave is the first step. Continuously analysing and upgrading this data to drive automated action to improve customer experience will not just make your customers happier – the net result on the bottom line may just cause your shareholders to smile as well.
Download the Analysys Mason white paper – Harnessing big data to cost effectively create a customer centric enterprise