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Telecom Companies Relying on Online Platforms to Increase Service within Call Center Operations
By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributor
Telecom companies are expected to increasingly rely on online platforms to deliver customer service in an attempt to fight back against spiraling costs of call center operations and a more competitive market, according to the findings from a recently published report from Ovum (News - Alert).
Call center operations are sometimes outsourced to reduce the costs associated with customer service. However, more companies are seeing that even with call center operations being outsourcing to developing countries, prices are continuing to rise.
The new report, entitled “Customer Service: Where are Telcos Investing?” notes that online portals will see some of the greatest growth in investment as telcos seek to improve call center operations and increase satisfaction levels of their customers, as well as better manage rising costs.
“To secure customer loyalty in the face of disruptive competitors, such as Apple and Amazon, telcos need to be accessible, responsive, consistent, and effective,” said Clare McCarthy, practice leader at Ovum, and co-author of the report.
McCarthy said that web-based customer service delivers enhanced accessibility and consistency and has the added benefit of diverting costs away from more expensive alternatives such as from the call center operation.
“In addition, it has the ability to scale without adding massively to costs, so it’s easy to see why telcos are increasingly viewing it as a high investment priority,” McCarthy said.
The huge growth in the smartphone market is driving the online customer service push. Also, the subsequent rise in mobile broadband traffic is placing an unsustainable burden on existing telco customer service infrastructure, as per the findings of the report.
Queries regarding smartphones can take 10 times longer to resolve than those for high-end mobile devices that were available five years ago. This is driving investment in online portals that enable customers to self-serve their smartphone problems.
McCarthy commented that allowing the customer to solve their own problems, such as resetting passwords and checking account balances online is a lesson the telcos can take from other verticals.
“If portals are easy to navigate, and customers can see that their issue has been resolved satisfactorily, they are more likely to be happier with their telco supplier,” McCarthy said, adding that however, this is not the whole story, as not all customers want to use online customer service.
McCarthy said that Telcos know they must follow the customer journey on the customer’s terms and it is for this reason that even telcos continue to improve their service offers in retail store and through call center operations.
Furthermore, Ovum also predicted that cost optimization, customer service, smart devices, and mobile app ecosystems will be the top trends to watch in 2012.
Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jamie Epstein