With the expansion of coronavirus across the globe, consumer demands are changing for all industries, and the telecommunication industry is no exception.
In times of crisis and uncertainty, clients expect self-service, omnichannel and instant communication more than ever. They also long for fast and seamless data connections and immediate resolutions to any network issues.
To meet consumer demands and stay on top of the situation, telcos are realigning their business strategies. Many had to quickly embark on journeys to become digital service providers. This, of course, implies a number of challenges in terms of operations, architecture, networks and customer service as well.
Let’s take a look at the kind of challenges that companies in the telecommunication industry are facing and learn how to overcome them.
5 Major Challenges in the telecom industry during the Covid-19 crisis
With many employees in quarantine and face-to-face assistance out of reach, many companies are struggling to meet customer needs, deliver immediate solutions and provide support remotely.
Related article: Chatbots in Telecom: Why Do Companies Need Them?
Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 challenges in the telecommunication industry during the Covid-19 crisis:
1. The Need for Quick and Personalized Customer Service
Most telecom service providers receive millions of customer requests every day, now more than ever. With the ever-growing number of requests, the inability to go to physical stores, and many employees working from home, delivering quick and empathetic assistance becomes a problem.
During these times of crisis, immediacy, personalization, and omnichannel communication are more important than ever. Ignoring these needs can lead to long waiting times, annoying to-and-fro conversations with multiple executives to get the issue resolved, and unsatisfactory automated responses.
All of these can ruin a customer’s relation with your company. And an agitated customer is definitely not something you would want. Being empathetic and providing instant solutions is essential to maintaining a long-term relationship with your customers.
2. Complex Operational Processes
With millions of subscribers and a variety of products and customized solutions, operational tasks have become increasingly complex, since face-to-face assistance is not an option. Even simple tasks such as service configuration, invoicing, order fulfillment, and payments are now challenging.
Handling complex operations requires more resources and tools, which also increases the financial overhead of telecom companies.
Moreover, consumers want everything to be super quick. They aren’t ready to tolerate any delays in the operational processes, especially not while facing a pandemic and global quarantine. It’s time to be more resolutive as ever.
3. Remote Working
With Covid-19 quickly spreading across the world, keeping hundreds of employees inside a contact center is both a threat to their health and, in some countries, even illegal. Quarantines are being enforced and most companies are migrating to remote working.
The telco industry heavily relies on huge contact centers to assist their customers. In this context, it is a huge challenge to continue operating and providing support even with agents working from home. This is even more demanding if your team relies on complex and on-premise technology.
The only way out is relying on easy-to-use technology that can be managed from the cloud. And if they don’t already have it, they need this technology to also be easy-to-implement and able to launch as soon as possible.
4. Network Security
With the emergence of new technologies, ensuring network security has become another major challenge for telecom operators. New technologies bring in new threats to the security of networks and applications. This is especially true with teams working remotely and customers asking for assistance from home.
It requires a number of operational and technical upgrades to meet customer expectations of system security. For telcos specifically, it is necessary to implement measures such as reliable and secure authentication features.
5. Leverage over-the-top players
The smartphone revolution and the tremendous growth of messaging apps have led to the birth of a number of over-the-top (OTT) players such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. These apps have redefined customer experiences in both messaging and voice and video calling services.
However, the increase in the popularity of messaging apps is luring traffic away from what most telecommunication companies have to offer. For years, they have been badly hurting the call and messaging (SMS) revenues of telecom players. In fact, they forced telcos to terminate roaming charges.
Although this has been a major struggle for telcos up until last month, today the main challenge is implementing the industry’s best practices as fast as possible to continue delivering the best possible customer service. And including channels such as Facebook and WhatsApp in the customer service strategy is no longer a debate but a priority.
How to Overcome These Challenges to Grow Your Telecom Business
Companies need to take action and redefine their strategies to adapt to this new context, and they need to do it as soon as possible.
Truth is customers are at home dealing with multiple issues. Their internet access, service configuration or cell phone carrier should not add up to these concerns.
Related article: Coronavirus: What to do in Customer Service to face the crisis
Here are some ways to overcome these challenges in customer service and face the Covid-19 crisis.
1. Migrate to digital channels
To continue operating, it is essential to migrate phone and face-to-face assistance to digital channels, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter or webchat.
Instant messaging apps and social media will become more relevant than ever before. While support phone conversations are often slow and bureaucratic, these apps allow companies to develop digital, asynchronous, immediate and one-to-one communications between the customer and the agent.
2. Automate Your Customer Service
Once you have established new points of contact, you can easily automate simple customer conversations using AI-powered chatbots.
This will help you ensure that your customers don’t have to wait in line for someone to answer their questions. Also, your customer care executives won’t have to spend time-solving repetitive issues.
A great example of this is the telecommunication company, Movistar.
They partnered with Aivo to deliver instant solutions to their customers without having to talk to a human agent and go through long wait times.
With our conversational bot, Movistar reached a +80% customer retention rate, established more than 2.5 million conversations and achieved a 1:20’ average time on digital channels.
3. Use live chats to handle more complex issues
Once your team is not wasting time with repetitive and frequent questions, they will have more time to actually handle complex issues that a chatbot cannot solve.
They can easily do this through a live chat from home, without requiring to speak on the phone or send emails, eliminating waiting times and complicated internal processes.
4. Technology from the cloud
If your agents are going to be working from home, your team will need a software solution that can be easily used and managed from anywhere.
End-to-end solutions from the cloud provide this kind of technology, allowing agents to assist customers via live chat, see their chat history, and even connect to different channels such as WhatsApp and Facebook from their own house.
Moreover, these platforms also allow managers to check the chatbot’s performance, monitor conversations between agents and customers, and analyze metrics to constantly improve the service.
Ultimately, this kind of technology will help telcos define a work-from-home strategy to keep their employees safe and operating.
We’re here to help
To face the Covid-19 crisis, complementing technological advancements with an efficient strategy that puts the customer first will help telcos and all companies thrive in this critical environment.
If you want to stay on top of this global crisis, you should leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation. This can help you save time and deliver better customer experiences.
If you need additional information or if you need to take action as soon as possible, please fill out this contact form and one of our executives will get back to you.