5 use cases for automation in the Telecom industry
Increased automation and digitalization were already growing trends over the past decade, and then the COVID pandemic came along.
The impact was huge and immediate.
Telecom shops, which have always been a reliable sales channel for the industry, saw a dramatic decrease in footfall overnight. Lockdowns and isolating agents hit attendance in call centers, which had a knock-on effect on both customer hold times and revenue generation. All this at a time when the world became reliant on their internet service to allow them to work from home.
It was a difficult time, that none of us will forget in a hurry.
Process automation in the telecom industry saves the day
The telecoms industry has always been quick to adopt new technologies and use automation to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs.
Now there was a huge opportunity to use it to increase customer satisfaction by introducing additional chatbot use cases that enabled them to quickly respond to customer queries, resolve issues, and improve the onboarding process.
They could also help speed up time to revenue and improve both the user and employee experience – especially when integrated into digital contact center solutions and incorporating new biometric authentication technology.
These advances mean that automation can be used through all stages of customer journey, even for steps that previously required a caller to be verified by a contact center agent.
A poor customer experience is one of the main causes of churn in the telecoms industry. Automation is key to keeping customers satisfied.
Why do customers switch telecom provider?
Onboarding and acquisition
Telecoms is a competitive market. The best way for businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors is by providing a brilliant and hassle-free customer experience. Using telecom automation to take the friction out of everyday processes can be the answer.
1. Mobile number porting
If a person wants to transfer to another mobile phone provider but keep the same phone number, then number porting is required.
Initially only available in some developed countries, number porting is now available almost everywhere. What has been observed is that as soon as it becomes available in a territory, there is a dramatic increase in telecoms customer churn as consumers take advantage of better deals with other operators and jump ship.
This provides progressive operators a huge opportunity to acquire new customers. By using automation to make the porting process as quick and painless as possible, they have a huge advantage over operators with a more traditional approach.
No-one wants to fill out lots of forms and visit a physical shop to complete the process, when they can do it in minutes from the safety and comfort of their homes using a conversational chatbot that is available 24/7.
Talk about a competitive advantage!
How does number porting by chatbot work?
While on the telecom’s website, customers can ask the chatbot any questions about products, prices, and tariffs, to help them make a decision. Once their intent to port their number has been identified by the chatbot, then the optimized porting workflow will kick in. The chatbot will start by asking them to take a photo of their ID, and then submit a selfie.
In the background the biometry solution will compare the photo from the ID with the selfie, and instantly verify the identity of the person requesting the service. It will also record the person’s first and last names, and date of birth from the ID. No tedious form filling required!
Finally, the chatbot will ask the user for their email, and that’s it. The request is created and submitted, with all required information gathered in just a couple of minutes.
Once the porting process has been finalized, an agent can contact the user to notify them, or this final step can also be automated with an email that includes the new contract.
Making such a complex process simple and enjoyable for the customer leads to quicker time to revenue and is a great way to both win new customers and secure the loyalty of existing ones.
2. SIM Registration
Over 70% of the world’s SIM cards are prepaid. In most countries it’s now mandatory to register a pre-paid SIM card to the actual person using it. This discourages fraud and the use of burner phones that help criminals remain anonymous.
While very worthwhile, SIM registration can be a complicated process that delays first usage and time to revenue. The traditional process is cumbersome and time consuming with the customer often having to visit a brick and mortar store to compete the registration in person.
The poor customer experience isn’t the only problem with this approach – it is costly for telecoms to maintain a large number of physical locations, and it is an unproductive use of their employees’ time.
Now that the world is slowly opening up again, there will also be an increasing number of tourists who want to buy SIM cards to use on holiday. Many of these potential customers may find it difficult to access physical stores, and may not speak the local language well enough to complete the process.
How can automation help with SIM registration?
When a customer purchases a new SIM card, they can be directed to visit the telecom’s website to start a chat, or better yet just scan a QR code on the packaging that initiates contact with a chatbot designed to register the SIM card.
The first thing they will do is pick the language that they want to communicate in.
The person will be prompted to take a photo of their ID card or passport, take a selfie to verify their identity, and that is literally it. All the information needed for successful registration is available on the ID card, and if there are any issues then the chatbot can always transfer to a human agent to sort them out.
This simple but elegant solution can save hours of effort for a customer and provide an exceptional experience.
These use cases are particularly important as they are revenue generators.
3. Top up
This use case is different to the first two that we have described as it won’t dramatically improve the customer experience or reduce the time it takes to top up, but what it does is ensure consistency and gives the customer the freedom to choose the top up option that suits them best.
Most telecoms already have channels that enable users to top up their accounts – in many cases the mobile app is the most used option.
Adding this capability in a chatbot will allow two things:
- The user can top up without switching channel when they are already talking with the chatbot.
- The chatbot can proactively offer top up when already talking to the customer on a related matter.
How does the top up use case work?
If a customer asks the chatbot a question such as “How much data do I have left this month?” the chatbot can provide an answer, and if the amount is below a set threshold, can go on to offer a top up. Once the customer has agreed, they are charged, and the additional data is added to their account.
For post paid users that are billed for their usage at the end of the month, they can ask the chatbot to upgrade their account at any time 24/7, with biometry used to verify them for a quick and seamless transaction.
Neither of these use cases require any action from a human agent.
4. Cross-selling additional services
AI chatbots enable a conversational experience that mimics human to human interaction. This enables them to gently offer additional services or equipment, where it is appropriate to do so.
This can have a significant impact on revenue generation when you consider the sheer volume of interactions that chatbots can handle during a typical business day. Offers can be tailored for individuals, and analytics can be used to optimize results by providing ‘next best offers’.
How can you cross-sell using chatbots?
The chatbot will firstly identify if the person is an existing customer or a prospect. Known customers can be offered additional services, for example music streaming, and prospects can be offered enticements to sign up to a plan.
Crucially, the chatbot can be designed to only initiate this kind of discussions during positive exchanges, for example when the user is asking about products or their account balance, rather than negative ones like service complaints.
Customer service and technical support
This is one of the most important areas where telecom automation can help reduce operating costs and increase customer satisfaction due to the chatbot’s ability to provide immediate service at scale.
5. Complaint resolution
Poor customer service and long waits on hold are the most quoted reasons for telecom customers moving to another provider. During peak times, for example when monthly bills are sent out, it is just not possible to maintain the same high levels of service using only human agents.
The use of customer support chatbots leads to an increase in agent efficiency, first-call resolution rate, and both employee and customer NPS scores. Chatbots can solve high volume, low value queries, leaving agents to work on more fulfilling tasks, and can significantly reduce wait times for customers.
How can you automate complaint resolution?
There can be many types of complaints, from billing and network coverage to technical issues. Well-designed chatbots can help in all these areas:
- Billing: Customers can request a chatbot to send them their bill, with the whole process automized, and biometric authentication used to verify the person where necessary. The chatbot can send a PDF of the bill in the chat, or to their registered email.
- Service not working: Customers can report service issues to the chatbot, which can automatically notify them of current service disruptions in their area, and when they are likely to be resolved. This will greatly reduce the workload of human agents during peak times.
- Technical issues: The ability to report and resolve technical issues quickly and efficiently is crucial for the customer experience, but troubleshooting can often take up a lot of valuable agent time. The chatbot can be a great help here, as most technical issues can be solved with simple automation.
After a user reports a technical issue, a chatbot can give them advice on what to do next, for example restarting their router, which will in many cases solve the issue. If not, the chatbot will request a photo of each side of the router before handing the case over to a human agent. The chatbot has handled the time-consuming router restart, and the photos will allow the agent to quickly see which lights are on, and if any cabling is incorrectly connected. This provides all the information that they require to diagnose the problem.
This significantly shortens resolution time, reducing costs for the business and increasing customer satisfaction – a real win-win scenario.
In this blog we have outlined just some of the telecoms use cases where chatbots can add value at all stages of the customer journey. Progressive telecom companies are exploring many more, leveraging automation and digitalization to provide exceptional CX, while opening new digital sales channels and reducing operational costs.
We have worked with dozens of telecom companies all over the world to build chatbots, some with over 70 million customers. Make sure you don’t get left behind – find out how you can use Answers to build chatbots that can help you win new customers and provide an exceptional service.