The pandemic accelerated a precipitous decline of in-store retail visits, which now poses serious challenges to how businesses operate. Customer service expectations are shifting, and fewer customers today want face-to-face customer service. Instead, they expect seamless and remote digital customer service at a time and place of their choosing, all to be done as quickly as possible on channels they prefer.
This presents unique difficulties for telecommunication providers in particular. If telcos are to meet digital service expectations and operate remotely, even simple tasks such as onboarding clients and configuring devices become complex and impose a heavy financial burden for additional resources, tools, and labor to carry them out. Worse, this comes at a time when consumers are increasingly turning to non-traditional providers like streaming services or “over the top” (OTT) digital services like WeChat that are better equipped to meet digital expectations.
To keep customers happy and bottom-lines healthy, there is a pressing need for telcos to embrace digital solutions that can remotely streamline the services customers want, personalize packages to meet individual customers’ needs, lower prices, and deliver better customer service.
Business text messaging, for one, is poised to digitally revolutionize telcos, with 72% of consumers saying that real-time texting with a live agent would improve their overall customer service experience. And with SMS open and response rates as high as 98% and 45%, respectively – compared to 20% and 6% for email – telcos can massively expand their outreach, at cost, while meeting customers where they already are.
Migrating to digital spaces, telcos should be mindful that customers already prefer texting to access customer support because it delivers key business services in a way they expect – remote, quick and frictionless. This kind of exceptional customer experience nurtures brand loyalty while still proving an ROI that face-to-face operations can’t achieve. In this post, we’ll discuss how texting can overcome the challenges of performing in-person operational tasks remotely and facilitate a telco shift to digital.
Whether forcing customers to visit a store or navigate endless FAQs, the sign-up process for new telecom products and services is riddled with frustrations, becoming a churn touchpoint that needs a serious rethink in a remote-first world.
Text messaging can efficiently onboard new users at a time and place of their choosing, while also providing them with information to make better-informed purchasing decisions. As such, when these communications can be customized based on the needs of the consumer, they are inclined to be more engaged and committed.
As telcos are investing in a fully-remote end-to-end online onboarding process - where users can upload identity documents through the telco app and activate their account in minutes – texting can even streamline this future process by prompting users, sharing information and resolving common problems that may occur along the way.
Service and product walkthroughs
Product walkthroughs help users learn about their devices and are an easy way for telcos to offer a seamless, remote customer experience.Given its speed and versatility, text messaging can quickly deliver a wide range of useful, engaging information about products. For example, first-time smartphone owners can get a basic guide to learn about key service features, and beyond - training for more advanced functions such as roaming services, billing and payments can also be managed through auto replies that include embedded links.
Telcos are also known to partner with other services, e.g. Telus My Health which offers a personal health service that can be accessed digitally. Telcos can tailor text messages to a user’s specific needs, so that customers are informed about optimizing their chosen services and receive important updates.
Order fulfillment encompasses a broad range of operational tasks, including answering customer questions about orders, confirming orders placed online, and scheduling and updating deliveries and pickups – all of which can be done through text.
Text messaging can quickly answer fulfillment questions and share information about orders when customer service reps are busy, and a speedy resolution empowers customers in their decision-making and leads to increased satisfaction.
For customers who still want to shop in person, text messaging can confirm device availability and schedule appointments, removing some of the frustrations - such as long waits to speak with a rep or products being out stock - that come with in-person shopping.
Configuring new devices
Setting up a new phone is often as easy as enabling the Wi-Fi and running the startup procedure, but many customers still struggle with this process. Traditionally, they have sought in-store assistance but, as we’ve seen, this comes with its own set of problems.
Because texting is available as soon as the phone is active, telcos can immediately start helping customers configure their devices from the get-go, quickly communicating with users at each step of the process and prompting them to follow the next instructions. And if there are any hiccups, users can easily text customer service for help, assured to quickly receive the detailed information that resolves the issue.
Even while their costs increased, the average replacement lifecycle for smartphones has been dropping for years, which makes customers keen to know when they are eligible for any product, service or special offer that benefits them.
Business text messaging can be deployed for any number of cross- or upsell opportunities, whether informing users when their current device is eligible for an upgrade, if there are new/better data plans available, or when partnership offers – such as deals on cloud storage or streaming services - are available to them.
And this isn’t just limited to one-and-done options, as telcos can proactively text traveling users with information about service plans or packages that reduce roaming charges and keep costs low.
While it is unlikely that many customers still visit stores to make payments, the payment process can nonetheless be frustrating, whether from a lack of reminders or a failure to notify of changes to billing.
With compliant security measures incorporated into texting, telcos can streamline the payments process by offering quick and secure payment options. Leading business texting platforms like Statflo incorporate a sendable feature which allows telcos to create secure links to collect payments via text. This way, a customer can make a payment as soon as they receive the text by simply clicking on a secure link that leads them directly to the telco portal and into their accounts.
Complexity simplified with text messaging
Facing a range of unprecedented technological and service challenges, telcos can’t afford any missteps in the move towards digitization. Failing to adopt remote solutions that simplify operational tasks, will leave increasingly fickle customers little choice but to find a competitor that can meet their needs and provide a better overall experience.
By giving customers the information and support they want, in all the ways they now expect, text messaging is the leading edge of delivering exceptional experiences in a remote-first, digital world.
Statflo’s text messaging software remotely streamlines both simple and complex operational tasks, laying the groundwork for telcos to create a frictionless customer experience upon which loyalty is built and ROI blossoms.
To learn how Statflo can help telcos streamline their services for a better customer experience, book a demo today!