It’s widely accepted that telecom companies have poor consumer perception, and an uphill climb to rebuild it. But a new report suggests there is a crucial time to build in brand loyalty, and it's at the one-year mark.
Evaluating the experiences of more than 11,000 telecom consumers, customer experience company InMoment found satisfaction drops off significantly after the first year of service, particularly when it comes to perceptions of knowledge, ability and efficiency (as well as friendliness and helpfulness).
“The one-year mark should be top-of-mind for telecoms, as consumer satisfaction and users’ likelihood to recommend decreases universally for all services,” Andrew Park, director of customer experience strategy at InMoment, tells Marketing Daily. “Furthermore, many promotional offers expire at the one-year mark and bills become more difficult to pay. Telecoms can counter the drop-off by proactively engaging consumers leading up to this fragile time.”
The report also finds that customers who have switched providers are harder to satisfy than those who remain with their providers. Switchers come into the relationship with a fair amount of “baggage,” which must be acknowledged and addressed fairly early on.
“To rebuild their reputations, telecoms must better monitor and improve relationships with consumers,” Park says. “They must dissect trends in dissatisfaction and dive deep into their respective catalysts. This starts with recommitting to their customer experience strategies and better understanding the influence time, emotion and interaction on the provider-customer relationship and simply paying more attention.”
Thus, Park recommends a few steps for telecoms to take with regard to customer experience. First, they should be proactive when customers approach the one-year mark, offering to answer any questions, particularly about billing, as they approach that crucial stage. Telecoms should also be transparent about any issues or pricing changes a customer may encounter. Finally, they should work to educate consumers about exactly what is within the company’s control and what is out of it.
“Unfortunately, telecoms stand at a disadvantage,” Park says. “They lack complete control over factors of its success, such as weather, jurisdiction, and the permutations of modern touchpoints — something most modern businesses can conquer. There’s no doubt that telecoms haven’t risen to the occasion when it comes to customer experience. However, it’s difficult to dig oneself out of a hole when you’re the unsympathetic target everyone loves to hate.”