Even with the devastating economic effects of the pandemic, brick-and-mortar stores accounted for 63% of telecom retail sales from January to June 2022, and more than two-thirds of telecom retailers are expecting to see increased revenues in the next three years. This is part of a significant growth trend that has seen the Canadian telecom retail revenues continuously increase from $37.3 billion (CDN) in 2019 to $50.5 billion in 2019.
Despite a rosy outlook, one of telecom’s most persistent stumbling blocks is the customer experience (CX), which has traditionally been inconsistent and frustrating. And customers don’t just recognize inconsistent CX when they see it; they act on it: around 80% of consumers say they would rather do business with a competitor after one bad experience.
The distributed nature of the industry helps explain the poor state of telecom CX. Businesses vary in size - from a single store to a 100+ location franchise - and often employ a large and transient staff, while integrating a mix of online and in-person touchpoints, various competing carriers, and a wide range of goods and services.
And with staff turnover widespread in telecom retail, inconsistent CX becomes even more prevalent. According to a LinkedIn study, telecoms has one of the highest turnover rates of any industry, which compels dealers to spend precious resources training new staff instead of delivering meaningful service.
Understandably, streamlining CX to be cohesive in such a complex and multiform environment is not easy; and yet it remains essential for success.
To offer a consistent CX, telecom retail operators need robust strategies and processes in place. Let’s look at some of the strategies retailers can use to streamline their CX and deliver exceptional service across multiple locations.
Let data flow freely
Knowing your customer’s needs, preferences, and history is the foundation of great CX. However, given the distributed nature of telecom retail, customer data is often siloed and difficult to access, leaving employees unequipped to provide a consistent and memorable CX that keeps customers coming back.
When a customer visits their telecom service provider or wireless store for a product or service upgrade, it’s frustrating to have staff run them through the same list of questions, every time, to discover who they are. This problem is even more glaring at a time when consumers have increasingly high expectations of convenient and seamless service, which is fast becoming the main differentiator between retailers.
Excellent customer experiences rely on the quick and easy accessibility of reliable customer data, and this is why retailers need to invest in digital tools that allow of data to flow freely across their organization, no matter how dispersed.
Technology that breaks data out of its silos can democratize its accessibility, so that any stakeholder can instantly have the right data at the right time. And when you know exactly who you’re dealing with at the push of a button, you can immediately leverage that data to enhance CX, rather than start from scratch with every interaction.
With the right digital tools, each customer experience becomes simplified and optimized, and it is this seamlessness and personalization that customers now expect - and that nurture loyalty.
Manage data logistics effectively
From dealers to carriers to sales reps, the telecom workforce is spread across different geographies and time zones. Not just this, but every customer interaction generates useful data at every physical and digital touchpoint.
With this wide dispersal of resources and data, many telecom retailers struggle to provide a customer experience that is both on-brand and consistent. Without the right tools and strategy, data and stakeholders will remain disconnected and undermine the development of a cohesive, dependable customer experience.
Meeting this complex challenge is a question of logistics, where managing enormous amounts of information require technological intervention to ensure all stakeholders are using reliable data to provide a similar on-brand experience at every touchpoint.
From CRM software to business text messaging solutions, there exists a wide range of digital platforms specifically designed to automate the collection and management of information, depending on your specific needs.
Automating processes like data collection and data organization lets you build a consistent CX that stays on brand across all locations, but one that can be personalized and tailored to critical purchasing steps, from scheduling follow-ups to contacting customers for up-sell opportunities.
Personalize customer communications
A great CX personalizes the purchasing journey, which customers have increasingly come to expect and demand: a 2020 Salesforce survey found that 43% of consumers have stopped doing business with companies that did a poor job personalizing the customer experience, up from 25% who said the same in 2019.
Despite the paradox, you can automate personalization at scale using certain digital tools. But for an industry that heavily relies on in-person interactions, telecom’s first step in improving customer communication lies in the direct training of retail staff.
To build authentic, personal relationships, employees at all locations and touchpoints must be coached on how to effectively communicate with customers at the various stages of their purchasing journey. With uniform training implemented across all locations and touchpoints, staff learn how to build positive and consistent relationships with customers, promoting not just brand loyalty but also store loyalty.
And once you’ve collected customer data, it can be strategically leveraged to reinforce this loyalty over time, allowing you to keep in contact with customers through personalized emails and texts. These aren't just effective sales techniques; they are also powerful tactics to improve CX by deepening and strengthening ongoing relationships.
Coherent, cohesive, consistent
Telecom retail’s unique structure and turnover rate present major challenges to delivering consistent customer experiences, but these are not insurmountable.
With the effective adoption of current digital technologies available in the marketplace, retailers can break data out of silos and make it easily accessible to all stakeholders, implement automated, technology-driven data collection processes across all stores, and help train sales representatives to build and maintain personalized customer relationships.
Digital platforms are the critical infrastructure behind the streamlined customer experience, one that is coherent, cohesive, and consistent – in a word, exceptional - across locations and touchpoints.
Learn more about how Statflo helps telecom and wireless companies deliver exceptional customer experiences.