The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on telecommunication utility providers. With more people working remotely than ever before, people have adapted and as a result, customer expectations have risen sharply.
Time spent working from home forced many people to reconsider their options. They now need faster internet speeds, more convenience, more data, a more reliable service and even increased landline or cellphone usage. Most importantly, however, is that customers now need to be engaged with their telecom utility providers. Unlike other utility sectors that face little-to-no competition, customer churn has become a huge focus for every telecom utility business.
In fact, issue resolution continues to play a significant role not only in wireless customer care satisfaction, but also loyalty, according to the J.D. Power 2021 Canada Wireless Customer Care Study. The study finds high loyalty among those who had a customer care interaction, with 85 percent indicating they probably or definitely will not switch carriers. When customers need support, the most common forms of initial contact are calling the carrier (36 percent); visiting the carrier website (32 percent); and using the carrier’s mobile app (19 percent).
“First contact resolution should always be a major focus as it has been proven to have a significant impact on satisfaction,” said Adrian Chung, Director of the Technology, Media & Telecom practice at J.D. Power Canada. “While there are more service channel options available today, enabling customers to achieve resolution in their initial contact channel will always leave them more satisfied.”
But let’s face it, for many years the telecoms industry has had a bad rap when it comes to customer service.
When it comes to improving the telecom customer service and enhancing the customer experience, a customer portal designed specifically for companies in the utility industry can help transform their current offering.
In this blog we take a look at what a customer portal is, and how it benefits both the customer service and the internal processes of telecom companies.
What is a Customer Portal for Telecom Utilities?
A utility customer portal, such as the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities, is a customer-facing software that’s designed to improve how telecom companies interact with and serve their customers, in addition to improving how customers help serve themselves.
Delivered through either a web browser or mobile application, a customer portal puts self-service at the forefront of customer service - allowing customers to take actions, such as paying their bills online, viewing and comparing usage data, receiving notifications and alerts directly from the utility provider and so much more.
A customer portal has multiple major benefits for telecoms utilities. They are able to seamlessly provide a world-class customer experience with a customer service platform that meets their customers’ expectations. Furthermore, encouraging self-service through a customer portal leads to internal benefits, such as improved efficiencies, a lower cost-to-serve and better customer service outcomes. Not only does the portal provide services, but it also acts as an education platform where customers can better understand their utility usage and behaviours to then reduce their usage and costs.
Let’s explore these benefits in a little more detail.
How a Customer Portal Helps Telecom Utilities Improve the Customer Experience
✔️ Improved customer engagement: A customer portal allows your telecoms utility to provide customers with personalized, proactive and informative communication with the use of push notifications and two-way communication tools.
Proactive alerts help the customer to remain within their budget as well as avoiding missed payments; while dialogue driven communication tools, such as chatbots, chatrooms, feedback features, etc., promotes a healthy and personalized customer relationship.This means you’ll be able to provide a superior customer experience that’s in line with modern customer expectations, driving up your customer satisfaction levels.
✔️ Personalized services: The use of a customer portal enables your business to collect important data and information on your customers that will be used to facilitate a personalized experience. Users are able to adjust account settings and establish thresholds that the business takes into consideration to provide alerts and information unique to that user and their goals. By collecting and analyzing customer data you’ll be able to gain insights that will help you improve your service and product roadmapping moving forward.
What About Internal Benefits?
✔️ Reduce strain on your customer support team: Customer service teams have enough on their plate. Answering simple queries only takes them away from the tasks they could be doing to drive real value to your customers and the business. A customer portal alleviates that workload by acting as an educational platform - providing customers with access to all the information about their telecom account that’ll help them make informed telecom decisions without the help of a CSR. This saves your customer service representatives a huge amount of time and allows them to focus on more prioritized, complex customer support tasks.
✔️ Lower cost to serve: By providing your customers with a digital platform that answers all of their questions proactively and allows them to take direct action to change account information, your telecom company is able to significantly reduce call volumes to its customer service department. Not only do processes become paperless, but they require little-to-no human interaction. As a result, you’ll access significant cost savings with a lower cost to serve.
Are you interested in learning more about how a utility customer portal can benefit your telecoms business? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with SilverBlaze today, our team of experts are ready to start a conversation and discuss how our award-winning customer portal software works.