Managing customer experience in Latin America is an interesting proposition-and not merely because each country differs vastly from the other in terms of culture and the law. As a side note to the unwary, this simply means that adopting a “one size fits all” approach won’t help you achieve anything.
Focus on Customer Experience
Let’s break it down further. This region has always been a bit of a paradox. The demand for mobile services is on the rise. Nevertheless, the journey towards focusing on and prioritizing customer experience management (CEM) has been markedly more relaxed than the rest of the world. To illustrate-according to a KPMG report, customer satisfaction has enjoyed the spotlight for quite a while in Brazil. However, some time ago, poor customer service and an increasing number of complaints compelled Anatel (Brazil’s telecom watchdog) to order three incumbent mobile operators to stop selling new service plans in some states until they improved their services.
Customer Experience Management, Now
Of course, that was then. Today, CEM is slowly but surely emerging as a priority in that extremely volatile telecom market. This is because regulators have been increasing prodding and pushing operators to provide nothing short of excellent services to customers. In fact, stretching the argument a bit, the deployment of 4G in the region is expected to have the same result-increased pressure on service requirements. It’s quite simple, really-4G, or LTE, is data intensive and will lead to higher-value customers accessing more media on their mobile devices. This will result in the need for increased support for various issues ranging from the technical side of things to billing.
Customer Experience Management- A Vital Component
But, wait. What ails Latin American operators? Why isn’t it obvious that CEM is a vital component of any operator’s war kit? Well, according to industry analysts, the response to that question is two-fold and gives a fair hearing to customers and operators alike. First, customer expectations have changed dramatically over the past five years. Today’s technology-savvy audience wants, no, demands, reliable and easy-to-use products and services. This includes an easy interaction with the company in question, quick problem resolution and (perhaps most importantly) a pleasant experience overall.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Wait, there’s a catch. According to DirecTV Panamerica, on their part, operators in Latin America are concentrating more on providing functional or basic services, with negligible emotional connection with the client. This simply means that the emphasis is on the brand and product and less on the relationship with clients. What worsens the situation is the “silo mentality” prevalent amongst operators in this region.
Now, operators, pay attention-your clients are willing to increase their business with you in exchange for better customer experiences. Opportunity knocks! Make the most of it by breaking through existing information silos and realizing the importance of deploying a multi-channel CEM strategy!
Let’s cut to the chase-a unified customer experience makes all the difference in ensuring and improving customer loyalty and minimising churn. The world has turned digital and to differentiate your brand from the clutter, it is imperative that operators cater to the customer’s entire lifecycle, while walking the tightrope of the silos of customer care, finance, sales and marketing and IT departments.
Multi-Channel CEM Strategy
Meanwhile, what does deploying a multi-channel CEM strategy mean? Well, customers today have several communication channels to choose from. The bottom-line is the same though-a streamlined conversation with the operator of their choice across the various channels I just mentioned. Operators, content isn’t enough, the game is to seamlessly and flawlessly flow between these channels. The result-a unique experience for the customer!
On this note, allow me to quote Telecoms IQ on the top four customer-centric actions that are a must for telecom operators-focus on an omni channel experience, use data to obtain a holistic picture of the entire customer relationship, invest in first contact resolution and identify high-risk-and-value customers.
Sounds good? Now, how does one go about achieving this? Quite frankly, my money would be on big data and data analytics. Here’s why-the Cisco® Visual Networking Index™ (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2014 to 2019 states that global mobile data traffic will reach an annual run rate of 292 exabytes by 2019, up from 30 exabytes in 2014. On an interesting side note, Latin America will witness a 59 per cent CAGR and a 10.1-fold growth. With these data volumes, doesn’t it make good business sense to chalk out analytics-centric plans to gain insight?
Easier said than done, so, to quote Telecoms IQ once again, a few common themes to ensure value is derived from big data and data analytics include selling customer data to third parties (for example geo-spatial data to retailers), working with third parties such as software developers to crunch the data in new ways, gleaning new insights and selling the same, or simply using the data to better target and personalise marketing campaigns to customers. From the perspective of CEM, a few vital questions that ought to enter one’s mind are: can the new information available to us help us to improve our customer experience? The bottom-line is: mine the right data, learn from the insights and implement the right changes to improve customer experience and service. Who knows, it might do wonders to your bottom-line!
In a nutshell, the business mantra for every operator today is putting the customer first. Today’s customers are informed, they know what they want and they have a voice. Isn’t this reason enough to sharpen your CEM tools? Latin American operators, are you listening?