Chief Strategist Teresa Cottam looks at how CSPs think they're performing in terms of the customer experience they provide to their customers.
Gyorgy Vastagh, Chatting
We're constantly being told that CSPs finally get it: they realise that providing a great customer experience is a critical differentiator in competitive markets. With a new wave of competitors entering the market (the so-called OTT players and MVNOs), CSPs need to differentiate their offering more than ever in order to retain customers and avoid dreaded bit pipe status.
Many millions of dollars, euros, pounds and yen have been spent on initiatives to improve the customer experience - both directly and indirectly 'improving the customer experience' has become a modern-day telecoms mantra. So how are CSPs doing? Well a quick qualitative review will tell you there's a mixed bag of results, and many of the millions spent have not resulted in more satisfied, loyal customers - not in the consumer sector and especially not in the enterprise sector.
Telesperience set out to measure the customer experience more quantitatively. Although some regulators collect statistics on how operators are doing (such as complaints data), and some CSPs publish data such as retention or CSAT scores, this data provides only part of the picture. Complainants can be bought off; retention does not mean loyalty; CSAT or net promoter scores are frequently wrongly collected or interpreted. And, of course, having an excellent "telecoms customer experience" does not mean it's excellent in comparison to what some other industries might provide (as an industry we're not at the cutting edge of customer experience).
So another way of benchmarking the customer experience we provide is to ask CSPs themselves how they think they're doing and plot the progress. We did this in 2010 and repeated the exercise in 2013 and the results show that despite all the emphasis placed upon providing a great customer experience, CSPs themselves are less confident they're doing so.
Very few regard themselves as providing an “excellent” customer experience in 2013 (5%). In fact, the proportion of CSPs that regard themselves as providing an “excellent” customer experience has dropped marginally since Telesperience’s 2010 study (when it was 8%).
Likewise the number of CSPs rating themselves as providing a “good” customer experience has fallen from 63% in 2010 to 54% in 2013. However, those rating themselves as providing an “average” experience has risen from 21% in 2010 to 39% in 2013. Fortunately, those now rating themselves as providing a “below average” experience has fallen from 8% to 2%.
This finding reflects the fact that the customer experience continually evolves and commoditises. There is thus strong pressure towards a customer experience “norm”, which means what was once an “excellent” or “good” customer experience will rapidly become an “average” experience as more companies are able to provide that type of experience. In order for a CSP to continue to provide an outstanding experience it’s therefore necessary for them to continually innovate to remain ahead of their rivals and provide a truly exceptional and differentiating customer experience.
A geographical analysis reveals distinct regional patterns as to how CSPs think they’re performing with regards to the customer experience.
- Asian operators are most likely to be confident they are providing an excellent customer experience, but this is also the region with the most low-performing operators.
- European operators generally believe they provide either an average or good experience, but 8% believe they’re delivering an excellent experience. None think they provide a below average experience.
- North American operators believe they deliver either an average or good experience, but none rate themselves as providing an excellent experience or a below average experience.
If you would like to read the full findings of this study, please download the attached report. To get other free Telesperience reports or to be added to our mailing list to receive future reports, please email email@example.com.
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