Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) have excelled at differentiating from the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) market – offering competitive prices, and tailoring services based on demographics, interests and location. But customer service expectations are rising, and price alone is no longer enough to stand out.
Now, MVNOs must focus on delivering a competitive customer experience, as well as being affordable. Customers are looking for a seamless, frictionless experience – they want to be able to access services on whichever channel they’re using, with round-the-clock assistance. And 84% say customer service is a key factor when deciding whether to buy.
Meet the customer where they are
To enhance customer service, it’s important to be able to follow customers as they move through multiple channels and touchpoints – which is a trend that’s getting more complex. 66% of consumers use, on average, three different channels – such as email, WhatsApp, or SMS – to contact customer service. And, according to Infobip research, 52% of people don’t have a clear ‘channel preference’. Infobip research also shows that younger generations are pushing for digital-first engagement, with 49% of Millennials using WhatsApp and other chat apps to communicate with brands.
Keeping up might not be easy, but a number of tech trends look set to guide the way, shaping the future of digital customer service. Many of them focus on automation, which is a double win for businesses – it enables them to simplify operations by making humans solve fewer problems at the same time as being there for customers 24/7.
For MVNOs, additional resources mean being able to do more with less. Greater efficiency will assist in cultivating a better, more personalized approach for customers by agents. And it also leaves scope for seeking out and better aligning with niche markets – bundling streaming services into offers for younger audiences, for example, or refining English language customer service capabilities for expatriates.
Here’s our take on five of the growing, most influential MVNO customer service tech trends.
1. Seamless social media service is key
Nine out of ten consumers want a frictionless omnichannel service – they expect to reach businesses for any inquiry on any digital channel, including social media, without being redirected with a “Please email us at…” message. And, since the beginning of the pandemic, there’s been a 35% increase in younger audiences – 18-24s – choosing social media for business communications.
To create the impression that you are there to support your customers wherever and at whatever time, support teams must be able to move between channels without logging in and out. That includes channels like Facebook and Twitter, where an estimated 67% of consumers go for customer service inquiries. Forrester has recently predicted that digital customer service interactions will increase by 40% in 2021 so, with that in mind, a single platform for all incoming inquiries will become increasingly critical, to centralize communication and enable teams to work with greater efficiency.
2. Video chat is the new phone call
In the last year, video chat has felt increasingly natural. And, as a customer service tool, support for it is on the up. Instead of being left frustrated on the end of the phone, especially when on hold, speaking face to face feels more personal. The statistics support it, too – video chat has been reported to result in satisfaction levels of 73% – people are less likely to hang up, and they find it easier to talk through more technical problems. As one of the less investment-heavy solutions to implement, it’s a quick way to improve an MVNO’s credibility and ultimately reduce customer churn.
3. Chatbots are winning customers over
Chatbots don’t only fill the gap when support teams aren’t available – they also increase teams’ efficiency when they are there by automating tasks and managing simultaneous conversations. Enthusiasm for using them is high, especially in the context of the pandemic, with 80% of consumers reporting a positive bot experience. A lot of bots are fairly basic but, likewise, the questions people ask support agents are often simple – so, given that chatbots are reported to be able to answer up to 80% of standard questions (IBM), they’re incredibly effective at reducing the number of support requests. And, when more complex problems do crop up, the bots can identify them and transfer the customer to a human agent.
Plus, thanks to progress in natural language processing (NLP) technology, bots are set to advance even further. Soon, we’ll see bots offer tailored and valuable suggestions based on data from past behavior and current dialogue. The end goal is to use AI to drive conversational interactions that feel as natural as interacting with another human being.
4. The next level of CX is Intelligent Data Extraction
When it comes to CX, speed is crucial, with 73% of consumers claiming the most important thing a company can do is value their time. One trend that can buy this time for MVNOs is Intelligent Data Extraction, which can interpret unstructured content to speed up a customer’s experience. By using AI to interpret data from pictures of bank cards and photo IDs, MVNOs can give users the option to share a photo rather than manually filling out forms for tasks such as mobile number porting and SIM registration. As it becomes an easier, more accurate, and more sophisticated function to put in place, expect Intelligent Data Extraction to really come into its own.
5. Brands are getting hyper-personal
Businesses already know the value of understanding the customer, but this is about more than addressing them by name. When done well, personalization shouldn’t feel invasive but instead relevant with a human touch. Increasingly, it’s something people are looking for – 72% say they want customer service to “know who they are, what they’ve purchased, and have insights into their previous engagements”. And, according to Infobip research, 31% of people said they were more likely to engage with businesses that understood their desires when it comes to goods and services, while a similar amount (32%) said receiving communications that chime with their personal interests and preferences is vital.
In contact centers, there’s potential to go a step further with hyper-personalization and start assisting customers before they even know they need you. With predictive analytics, teams can identify the channels a customer is most likely to engage with and when, and they can also spot opportunities for upselling, or preemptively solve problems. This is the point where customer care transforms from being reactive to a proactive, experience-focused service.
Better customer service means better communication
One fundamental motive lies behind these tech trends: improving communication. As communications service providers, MVNOs will already know how much people prioritize being able to reach each other. Their expectations of customer service are the same.
At Infobip, we’re passionate about helping businesses build better relationships through understanding customers, reacting to their behavior, and anticipating their needs. Accessed through a single platform, our solutions for automating customer engagement processes, optimizing customer support, and enhancing personalization mean you can lower operational costs while delivering a competitive service across an extensive digital communications channel portfolio.
Take a look at our 7 Steps to Transform MVNO Customer Service from Cost-centre to Growth-driver guide to discover how to enhance customer service and build a competitive advantage