Tips for internet service providers to improve customer experience
One day, approximately 15 years ago, we all turned in our pagers and flip phones for the ultimate all-in-one gadget – the smartphone.
With the power of the internet in the palm of our hands, soon our landline and cable tv bills faded away, and the focus was placed on wireless interactions.
However, regardless of how far the days of fixed anything may seem, our everyday internet service providers (ISPs) still offer these services. And customers still use them.
In fact, with the shift to work- and learn-from-home environments, the need for high-speed fixed connectivity has increased.
Still, internet service providers need to revisit their customer experience and retention tactics for their fixed service customers including those with cable TV, landlines, and home internet – considering 40% of consumers claim they interact with their telco provider the same way before and after the pandemic.
Here we highlight how an omnichannel approach can help ISPs digitize their customer journey to improve cross-sell and upsell efforts, increase customer satisfaction and lifetime value, as well as reduce costs.
The need for high-speed connectivity
There is a need for high-speed connectivity across continents as new technologies enter the market and underserved audiences continue to lose out.
The European Union’s goal is for Europe to be the most connected continent by 2030 – with every European household having access to high-speed internet coverage by 2025 and gigabit connectivity by 2030.
With 5G here and 6G on the horizon, telecom providers need to upgrade their networks to meet these long-term goals and avoid having underserved communities.
A good example of an underserved community is rural America. Although rural online transactions account for roughly $1.4 trillion per year, these communities are in many cases being served by underfinanced, heavily indebted operators who do not have the capacity to invest in delivering new services.
Threats to telecom fixed services
In addition to meeting underserved markets, telecom providers need to face the current and potential threats being brought on by other technologies, providers, and events that are out of their control, including:
The rise of on-demand streaming services and over-the-top (OTT) players such as Netflix, Disney+, and Spotify has led to an increase in customers opting out of cable TV and other fixed services. Other than live sports, there is no single tv show, movie, or song that customers can’t stream on these platforms.
In addition, since approximately 20% of Americans are smartphone-only internet users with no home broadband connection, 5G has the potential to increase the proportion of cord-cutters and “cord nevers”.
Digital customer experience
With the changes we’ve encountered to customer experience across industries over the last two years, customers expect no less from their fixed line providers. However, many internet service providers have yet to hop on the bandwagon.
We’ve heard many times before that the telecommunications industry is a sore spot for customer experience. And this applies to both its mobile and fixed customers.
Fixed line customers often experience:
- Lack of precise delivery time with a six-hour window for a home visit
- Billing errors that lead to 10% of base calling every month
- Complicated installation that leads to more than 50% of customers needing to call customer care for help when attempting to self-install
Recent global events have led to an unanticipated economic downturn. This means cable and telecom providers need to be agile in investing in the right areas that will create a competitive advantage as the market recovers.
First, identify which areas of your business will be most affected, then decide what you need to do to improve these areas so they can work now and in the future.
Strategies for a connected future
Here are a handful of ways ISPs can tackle these threats and prepare for unforeseen changes in the future:
Combining these channels with chatbot and marketing automation will help you provide 24/7 service, implement self-serve options, and set up personalized campaigns that boost loyalty. It will also ensure you stay connected with customers – providing them with the right information at the right time and in the right place.
In fact, internet service providers that transform their core operations can expect 2-5% top-line growth and up to 5% savings on operating expenses.
Expand services with partnerships
Changing consumer behaviors and new market entrants mean internet service providers need to expand their offerings.
One way is to introduce cloud services, security software, and productivity software.
However, serving a wider audience and meeting their expectations is challenging – and expensive. Therefore, it’s important to take a strategic approach to expansion. And the most economical solution is to engage in partnerships or acquisitions – working with leaders in these industries to create packages that fill current gaps.
Upgrade your offering with new technology
Although it may seem that customers’ focus has been put on digital channels and wireless connections – fixed services are not obsolete.
Investing in new technology such as fiber optics can still give you the competitive advantage you’re looking for. What’s important is that you can meet customer needs – and customers want fast connections. With fiber optics, you can offer high-speed, reliable home internet services.
You can also combine the power of on-site and online by becoming a leader in smart-home setup.
Train support staff and technicians to know how to set up smart home technology from leading tech giants including Amazon, Apple, and Google. Then implement these into your existing offers – or become a partner and enable customers to activate these services alongside your other packages.
Omnichannel examples for Internet Service Providers
Integrating digital channels into your overall customer experience strategy isn’t enough, however. To create a true competitive advantage, you need to make these channels work together – enabling conversations to continue from one to another.
Here are a few ways you can use digital channels as a part of a wider omnichannel strategy:
Field workforce management automation
Set up a chatbot on over-the-top (OTT) channels such as WhatsApp to enable onsite visit scheduling, reminders, and rescheduling.
Simply connect your OTT channel to an omnichannel customer engagement solution. Then, set up keywords for your technician to send when they arrive on-site, such as “the house was empty.”
Once a keyword is sent, the platform checks if the geo-location of the technician matches the address where they are supposed to be and informs them if there is a mismatch.
If the location is correct, you can send an automated message to the customer informing them that the technician is at the door and can wait up to 15 minutes.
However, if the customer does not respond or cannot make it at that time, they can reschedule the visit or be transferred to speak to an agent.
Implementing automation for onsite visits results in:
- Improved customer experience
- Less missed appointments
- Reduced costs related to engineer’s time, faster invoicing, reduced contact center calls
Video customer support
Bridge the gap between physical and digital customer service by implementing video as a customer support channel.
Enable customers to connect with your technicians and agents on WhatsApp, Live Chat, or other channels that support video calls to help them self-install or fix equipment.
Video calls make it easier for customers to explain their challenges and for technicians and customer care agents to show rather than tell customers how to resolve the issue.
Using video for customer support results in:
- Less home visits
- Increased efficiency
- Reduced costs
Lead gen for fiber optics
Set up a WhatsApp chatbot to improve fiber optics lead generation.
Since fiber optics offers are based on location, your chatbot can leverage location-sharing features on WhatsApp to share your most suitable fiber packages.
Implementing a lead generation chatbot results in:
- Proper campaign tracking
- Increased fiber optics leads
- Reduced costs
Faster resolution time with visuals
Using digital channels with rich media features makes it easy to resolve common queries quickly.
Similar to video calls, sending images on chat simplifies processes – making it easier for customers to explain themselves and for agents to provide the right answers on the first try.
Leveraging rich media features results in:
- Faster resolution time
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Reduced costs
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