Supporting the number and variety of mobile devices, unique product configurations, applications, and the volume of problems those create is overwhelming support staff. As complexity increases, so does the customer frustration factor, resulting in more calls to customer care. Continuous training and access to more data is no longer sufficient to enable front-line personnel to deliver the level of support that customers expect. Up until now, the answer to providing better support has been to give staff more data but we’ve reached a point where there’s too much data and too few answers.
As mobile service providers converge previously isolated services onto a common data network infrastructure, it becomes increasingly difficult to monitor and measure the performance and quality of service that a customer is actually experiencing. Monitoring infrastructure, devices, applications, and content is expensive. Training customer service representatives to solve any type of user problem is expensive. As a result, global mobile customer support costs are skyrocketing. The costs of delivering high-bandwidth data services combined with the costs to support those new servicesare, in many cases, exceeding increases in mobile service revenues.
Most service providers agree that the quality of customer experience is the key to differentiation and loyalty. Yet, even as mobile penetration exceeds 100% in many markets; traffic volume and support costs continue to rise. How do we create that excellent customer experience profitably? A good first step is to implement CRM systems that support customer care by providing answers, not data. Although most service providers implement a support portal of some type, care representatives must often manually search for and correlate the data they need to understand even the most basic status of a customer. The result is longer calls, more calls escalated to the next tier of support, and rapidly escalating costs.
The data required to answer customer questions is usually available – somewhere – but asking support personnel to manually locate, aggregate, correlate, and analyze all of that data in real time while a customer is complaining is asking too much. When a customer calls in, a snapshot of the customer, all of their services, and the status of each should be presented to the support representative. Likewise, the next tier of support should see an end-to-end view of status from the network layer to the customer configuration including the customer device and applications.
Service providers deliver heavily used, complex technical services. A large mobile operator with 90 million subscribers operates 2000 retail locations and 34 call centers staffed by thousands of workers. Each representative receives a minimum of two months training before serving customers and regular on-going training just to keep up. Yet communication service providers are consistently rated lower than other businesses in customer service. If delivering a quality customer experience is really the goal, it’s time to get these people some help.