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Live from Mobile World Congress: How to Enhance the Customer Experience in the “First 90 Days”

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I’m coming to you live from Spain, at day two of Mobile World Congress 2013, where senior mobile professionals and partners from around the global convene to explore the innovative horizon. Though the future looks bright for mobile carriers everywhere, there are a few obstacles that continue to characterize the industry: high churn, high customer care costs, complex billing, and minimal differentiation.

We know that the first 90 days of a customer joining a new mobile service provider are a critical time and touch point. It’s make or break. Successful customer relationships start in these first three months, yet are also commonly the most costly from a care perspective. Why? This infographic will give you an idea of the care costs that mobile telecommunications providers face: 

Mobile Providers First 90 Days

The first three months of a new customer relationship is when mobile providers receive the greatest volume of contact center inquiries, usually related to the first month’s billing statement. This bill shock typically results in customer attrition – in fact, 10% to 20% of mobile customer’s churn annually. Additionally, the industry on average sees $5 to $8 of customer care costs per new subscriber support issue, and about 8 minutes or more per support call handle time. Whoa! I’m no mobile carrier, but I know this would drain my wallet. So what’s a mobile provider to do? 

Deliver differentiated experiences at multiple touch points that are informative, relevant and engaging to the customer. Not only will this aid in combating churn and reducing call inquiries, the likelihood of gaining the customer’s trust, and increasing brand engagement, lifetime loyalty and value, is heightened. I’m talking Mount Everest high.

But don’t take my word for it, take theirs: This year, 75% of the top US wireless providers are supporting their customer care strategies by delivering personalized experiences to their customers, in the form of smart videos. AT&T has already recognized the value opportunities that exist when customers receive differentiated digital experiences, such as personalized video bills, by 85% customer satisfaction and “a significant reduction in bill-related calls,” says the mobile giant’s senior EVP of technology and network operations, John Donovan.

So where do you start? Here are three ways mobile providers can deliver smarter, more engaging customer experiences to enhance their first 90 days’ initiatives.

Mobile Onboarding Rewards Program#1. Proactively onboard new mobile customers with welcome experiences

First impressions are everything. On job interviews, on the single’s dating scene, and especially in new customer relationships. When a customer purchases a new service plan or device, mobile providers can proactively onboard him or her by educating on key elements and any actions to take, personalized to the customer based on account details. Whether it is signing up for auto-payment or explaining the brand’s rewards and loyalty program (seeexample SmartVideo scene at right), delivering an engaging welcome experience results in a positive first customer experience. Satisfying customers at this first touch point increases a brand’s Net Promoter Score, and can ultimately foster deeper customer loyalty and lifetime value. And, well, in an industry where the average NPS is a rough 26, a bit of customer love can go a long way.

#2. Enhance the customer experience with first bill delivery

Extending a personalized experience to the delivery of a customer’s first billing statement can present easier-to-understand line items that ultimately reduce the number and duration of bill-related calls from new subscribers. In addition to combating bill confusion, smarter bill delivery can also boost customer engagement and brand loyalty. ‘Nuff said.

#3. Support retention initiatives by engaging at-risk customers

By analyzing the customer’s current mobile data usage and service patterns, providers can recommended tailored plans that best serve the subscriber’s needs. Paying less for a current plan or changing to a new mobile plan are instances in which the provider can proactively engage at-risk customers in support of retention initiatives that promote transparency, ensure an optimal brand experience, and boost average revenue per user.

Connecting with subscribers on a one-to-one, personal level will allow mobile brands to enhance their customer experiences, resulting in churn reduction, deeper customer loyalty and value, and increased competitiveness in the industry. Don’t believe me? I’m here all week.

Visit SundaySky all week at Mobile World Congress in the Cloud Pavilion, at Booth #8.1E41, and be sure to download our executive brief for telecommunications leaders: "The First 90 Days: Differentiated Experiences That Combat Churn and Reduce Care Costs."

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