By the end of 2017, 89% of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience, according to Gartner, and mobile operators are of course no different.
Their customers of the future will only sign up with operators that meet (and exceed) their expectations for customer experience, support and service. And their expectations are high, driven by positive customer experiences with ecosystem disrupters such as Amazon and Uber.
According to a new white paper from market analysts Ovum, to survive and thrive in this current unpredictable and disrupted market, telcos need to focus on delivering an orchestrated omnichannel customer experience. This means building an effective unified communications layer between the operator and the customer, driven by the unique customer data sets mobile operators have at their disposal, such as network, device and location.
The ability to support each customer through each interaction on non-linear journeys across digital channels, helping them quickly and happily achieve their desired outcomes, and using data to provide and fulfil contextually relevant information and offers, is central to transforming successfully from mobile operator to digital service provider.
Why else do telcos need to embrace omnichannel? Aside from customer experience now being seen as the key brand differentiator, there are other compelling reasons:
• Businesses which have strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, according to a study by Aberdeen Group Inc., compared to 33% for those which don’t.
• The same study also reveals that those businesses with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for businesses struggling to adopt omnichannel engagement.
Despite these clear benefits, many telcos are struggling to get their strategies off the ground. Ovum looked at the state of omnichannel digital transformation in eight countries and found that, for the majority of telcos, their plans were either in the “early stages” or “in progress” – but only a small minority had plans anywhere near completion. The UK is quite strong in this regard, with more than 40% at the “well advanced” or “complete” stage; but that still leaves nearly 60% of UK telcos languishing in the “early stages” or “not started” category.
So why – given the obvious importance of delivering an orchestrated omnichannel experience in line with customer expectations – is progress so painfully slow?
1. Lack of understanding and skills
It’s clear from the Ovum paper that the entire business must be invested in driving change, with a ‘digital provider and innovator’ culture fostered from the very top and support for training and upskilling (77% of businesses claim a lack of digital skills as the main obstacle to digital transformation, according to Capgemini).
2. Silos and legacy systems
According to a recent PointSource study, 84% of businesses are held back and slowed by disparate legacy systems across the business. Telcos must overcome a number of different technical – and organisational silos to drive their digital transformation strategy.
3. Lack of orchestration
The complex and fragmented back-end architecture typical of mobile operators fails at providing a single view of the customer – and one single way to orchestrate brand-customer interactions – across touchpoints. Given the rich customer data that telcos possess (not least location), there is great potential to provide an exceptional customer experience across channels – but this needs to be orchestrated via a unified customer communications layer. The question for most telcos is how to do this quickly, securely and without significant capital outlay.
Pre-register for Ovum’s new white paper
Mobile operators are undoubtedly in a unique position to become leaders in omnichannel customer interaction, and with customer experience and service being such a valued differentiator, this could be significant for both customer acquisition and retention. But first, they need to recognise and address their key capability gaps.
Ovum’s new white paper, “Orchestrating the omnichannel customer experience: What telcos must do to get it right and why”, will explore:
• What’s driving changes to customer behavior, and how that in turn is driving change in telco-customer interaction
• The key barriers holding back omnichannel digital transformation for mobile operators
• The capability gaps that need to be addressed before true omnichannel can be achieved
• The four core omnichannel capabilities that telcos need to adopt
• Why you need to align your organisation as a whole to be able to orchestrate the end-to-end customer experience
• What makes an effective omnichannel platform and how it will determine success or failure in the race to achieve digital transformation