As most companies expand or develop new products, they fail to recognize the need to improve their customer care strategies at the same time.
Posted Dec 2, 2005
Wireless data customers are a telecom providers' most profitable customers, but most of these firms are failing to recognize this in providing or preparing customer care strategies, according to a study from telecom consulting firm Detecon. The study found that while 83 percent of users rate Web access as important or extremely important for customer care, only 29 percent are currently satisfied with using online help to resolve wireless data problems. Roughly one third found that the provider's Web site wasn't helpful in solving their problems. About another third of users are not even aware of that online help is available.
"The wireless data customers are more comfortable using the Web to answer their questions," says Andreas Lieber, senior consultant at Detecon. Yet the Web site may not have the answers needed to solve problems or may not be structured in a way that those answers can be found easily. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed considered online help important or extremely important. By monitoring site usage and inquiry topics, telecom providers should be able to improve their online help capabilities, according to Detecon. IVR users found similar problems. One in five of those surveyed said their providers' IVRs needed improvement. Detecon recommends that telecom providers conduct extensive review of IVR data flows, focusing on special requirements for data servers.
It's even worse if those customers are driven to use live support, a more costly channel for the telecom providers, according to Lieber. Additionally, as providers continue to grow with an increasing number of products and services, people on the help desk are less likely to be able to solve the data customer's problems. Better distribution of the provider's information knowledge base could help ease this problem; the development of the knowledge base should be centralized, according to Detecon. "Often, when [telecom providers] are developing new products or services or expanding [through mergers and acquisitions], customer care is left behind," Lieber says, adding that the telecom providers who do provide better customer care tend to be the stronger ones in the market. The superior customer care is a major reason for the success of these firms.
Therefore, Lieber recommends that telecom providers include customer care as part of any rollouts of new products and services. Additionally, analysis of the customer care impact of new offerings should be made early in the market planning process, well ahead of the actual launch of the new offering.
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