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Telcos have a long way to go with customer experience, but are they as bad as they appear?

By August 9, 2017 No Comments

Everybody needs to cut telcos a bit of slack when it comes to customer experience. Every month you see a different report or piece of analysis saying the telecommunications industry is at the bottom of the CEX list. There is no doubt about it; telco’s have been pretty poor at CEM for many years. Most operators have been focused on delivering a better experience to their customers amid ongoing threats from OTT’s.

However, there has been something really bugging me about customer experience benchmark lists. You see certain companies/industries continuously performing well with every study or piece of research. In most cases, it’s justified as they are performing an excellent service e.g. Amazon and Waitrose. My issue is when you are comparing Waitrose with a mobile operator, as this should not be done. Think about the number of times on average you use your phone and for how many minutes/hours a day you may spend on it. I’ve seen many studies stating that people can use their phone on average 85 times per day. Then think about a number of times you may go into your local supermarket. You might go perhaps once a day, or perhaps 3 times a week. You might pop in for some milk, or you might get your weeks load of shopping in one go.

So let’s take the example of going in for some milk. You go to the dairy section of the store; you might want low-fat milk. You realise your favourite brand is out of stock. Do you complain or do you just pick up an alternative brand or option. You then pay for the product and leave. Are you going to complain about your experience? Or will you vote with your feet and switch to another store or brand immediately?

Compare this to using your phone. You are on your way to work on the bus and stuck in traffic. You want to watch the new episode of your favourite Netflix show. You start watching, and maybe the stream quality isn’t great, but you put up with it. Eventually, it picks up as you enter a better 4G area. Then you are in the city centre, network congestion is rampant, and as you are coming to a crunch part of your show, the streaming stops. You then reach your destination and are now irate that you have to wait until later to find out what happens at the end of the show. Are you going to complain or give negative feedback? Of course, you are. Or will you walk into a competing operator’s store and switch? Perhaps, you will.

Customer experience analysts need to take the data they are getting with a pinch of salt. Don’t be so quick to call out telecommunications as the worst performing industries. If you normalise the data based on the number of interactions that a person has with a product or service, you will see that telecommunications might not be as low as it currently is compared to other industries.

I’m not saying for a second that telco’s should now take their foot off the gas. Far from it, there is still a lot of work for telco’s to improve their customer experience from improving their network, their packages/pricing and their customer service offering. But they should also be looking at these other industries to see what they are doing so well and try to incorporate into their businesses. Pretty much nothing touches more our lives on a daily basis than telecommunications!