The Evolution of Customer Experience Management: From scoring net promoters to customer effort

Next Generation Communications Blog

The Evolution of Customer Experience Management: From scoring net promoters to customer effort

By:  Greg Owens, Senior Director, Global Marketing, Motive CEM Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent

I just returned from a Customer Experience Management (CEM) event in London. After attending the same event in January 2014, I reported that I was struck by how pervasive customer experience had become within the world of telecoms. Well, a year has not changed that. In fact, I no longer feel compelled to extol the virtues of focusing on customer experience. There is no doubt: CSPs are intent on improving customer satisfaction and on making it a key focus of their businesses. Many of the CSP-led presentations showed examples of mission and vision statements that place the customer smack-dab in the crosshairs.

So what has changed in twelve months? Here are some highlights, for me, of some great presentations and scintillating conversations that took place over the course of three days in the shadow of Westminster.

For starters, I heard quite a few references to Customer Effort Score (CES); nearly as many as I did of net promoter score (NPS), at the 2014 edition of this event. First published by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) in 2010, “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers” was a ground-breaking article that claimed you can best win customer loyalty by solving a customer's problem. Plain and simple.

This leads perfectly into the second topic that I heard discussed quite often: self-service or self-care. Various CSPs -- including Comcast, AT&T and O2 (Telefonica UK) -- showed examples of applications that can be used to order new services, change billing information and troubleshoot issues remotely. This aligns perfectly to the notion of the Customer Effort Score because the original HBR article introduced a number of key ideas, including one very important one: making it easy.

CSPs highlighted the benefits of self-care to their organizations, ranging from removing pressure from call centres and saving money, to motivating satisfied customers to make additional purchases.

Proactive action and/or communications was also cited by a number of CSPs as growing in importance. Whether it’s notifying customers on the status of infrastructure projects, network upgrades or outages, being more transparent was an approach that seems to be gathering momentum.

One CSP talked about the importance of correlating customer calls with known network problems, then providing updates on how repairs were coming along. They created a web page where people could register an issue -- even if it wasn’t worth calling about – that resulted in a heat map for all customers to see.  In the case of a recent infrastructure upgrade, customer could see exactly what was being done, when/where it was being done and how long it would take.

Another CSP talked about the importance of monitoring network quality and fixing issues proactively, before most customers even notice that there is a problem. According to this speaker, 43% of their customer complaints are related to the quality of the service being delivered, with 17% of complaints being caused by the help desk, 10% by payment issues and the remaining 30% from five undisclosed areas combined.

By closely monitoring their networks, collecting analytics and sharing it with various departments (e.g., marketing, network planning, etc.), they can resolve issues that might affect thousands of people and/or reach out to customers proactively, when issues are known but cannot be fixed immediately.

The bottom line: consumers don’t care about how complex it is to deliver communications services in the 21st century. Instead, they want their service provider to proactively solve issues before they cause disruptions, provide them with the information and tools needed to be self-sufficient and, if they do call the Help Desk as a last resort, they expect the person at the other end of the line to be able to solve their issue quickly, efficiently and right the first time. Now, if only it was easy as it sounds.

Luckily, Motive CX solutions are designed to help our CSP customers provide better services to their customers; the modern consumer. We can make sure that you get that information to the right people at the right time. And the end result is great customer service. 

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