With the expansion of coronavirus worldwide, consumer demands are changing for all sectors, and the telecommunications sector is no exception.
In times of crisis and uncertainty, customers expect more than ever self-service, omnichannel and instant communication. They also want fast, seamless data connection and immediate resolutions to any network problem.
To meet consumer demands and keep pace, telecom companies are realigning their business strategies. Many have had to embark quickly on journeys to become digital service providers. Obviously, this implies a series of challenges in terms of operations, architecture, networks and customer service.
Let’s take a look at the kind of challenges telecom companies are facing and learn how to overcome them.
Top 5 challenges in the telecom industry during the Covid-19 crisis
With many employees in quarantine and on-site assistance out of reach, many companies are struggling to meet customer needs, offer 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 five telecom challenges during the Covid-19 crisis:
The need for fast and personalized service
Most telecom service providers receive millions of customer requests every day, now more than ever. With the increasing number of calls, the inability to go to the physical stores and many employees working from home, providing fast and empathetic assistance becomes a challenge.
During times of crisis, immediacy, personalization and omnichannel communication are more important than ever. Ignoring these needs can lead to long waiting times, annoying conversations with multiple agents to solve the problem, and unsatisfactory automated responses.
All this can ruin a customer’s relationship with your company. And an annoyed customer is definitely not something you would like. Being empathetic and providing instant solutions is essential to maintaining a long-term relationship with your customers.
Complex operational processes
With millions of subscribers and a variety of customized products and solutions, operational tasks have become increasingly complex as face-to-face assistance is not an option. Even simple demands, such as service configuration, billing, order fulfillment and payments, are now challenging.
Managing complex operations requires more resources and tools, which also increases the financial burden on telecom companies.
In addition, consumers want everything to be super-fast. They are not ready to tolerate delays in operational processes, especially when facing a global pandemic and quarantine. It’s time to be more resolute than ever.
With Covid-19 spreading rapidly around the world, keeping hundreds of employees in a contact center is a threat to health and, in some countries, even illegal. Quarantines are being enforced and most companies are migrating to remote work.
The telecommunications industry relies heavily on large contact centers to help its 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 to rely on easy-to-use technologies that can be managed from the cloud. And, if you don’t already have them, it also needs to be easy to deploy and be released as quickly as possible.
With the emergence of new technologies, ensuring network security has become another major challenge for telecom operators. New technologies bring new threats to network and application security. This is especially true with teams working remotely and customers requesting assistance at home.
Several operational and technical upgrades are required to meet customer expectations regarding system security. For telecommunications companies specifically, measures such as reliable and secure authentication capabilities must be implemented.
Enhance over-the-top initiatives
The smartphone revolution and the huge growth of messaging applications have led to the birth of several OTT players (Internet content distribution platforms) such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. These applications have redefined the customer experience in messaging and voice and video calling services.
However, the increasing popularity of messaging applications is attracting traffic away from what most telecom companies have to offer. For years, they have severely impacted the call and message (SMS) revenues of telecom players. In fact, they have forced telecom companies to close roaming charges, for example.
The beginning of the pandemic marked a major problem for telecom companies, today the main challenge is to implement industry best practices as soon as possible to continue offering the best possible customer service. And including channels like Facebook and WhatsApp in the customer service strategy is no longer a debate, but a priority.
How to overcome these challenges to expand your telecommunications business
Companies need to act and redefine their strategies to adapt to this new context and need to do so as soon as possible.
The truth is that customers are at home dealing with various problems. Internet access, service configuration or the mobile operator should not be another such concern.
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.
Migrate to digital channels
To continue to operate, it is essential to migrate phone and face-to-face service to digital channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter or webchat.
Instant messaging applications and social media have become more relevant than ever. While support phone conversations are often slow and bureaucratic, these applications allow businesses to develop digital, asynchronous, immediate and individual communications between client and agent.
Automate your customer service
After establishing new points of contact, you can easily automate simple conversations with customers using chatbots with AI.
This will help ensure that your customers don’t have to wait in line for someone to answer their questions. Plus, your customer service agents won’t have to spend time solving repetitive problems.
A great example of this is the telecommunications company Movistar.
They have partnered with Aivo to provide instant solutions to their customers without having to talk to a human agent and go through long waiting times.
With our conversational bot, Movistar achieved a customer retention rate of +80%, established more than 2.5 million conversations and an average time of 80 seconds on digital channels.
Use live chat to deal with more complex problems
When your team is not wasting time with repetitive and frequently asked questions, it will have more time to really deal with complex problems that a chatbot cannot solve.
This can be done easily through a live chat at home, without having to talk on the phone or send emails, eliminating waiting times and complicated internal processes.
Direct technology from the cloud
If your agents are working from home, your team will need a software solution that can be easily used and managed from anywhere.
The cloud’s end-to-end solutions provide this kind of technology, allowing agents to help customers via live chat, view their chat history and even connect to different channels like WhatsApp and Facebook from their own home.
In addition, these platforms also allow managers to check chatbot performance, monitor chat conversations between agents and customers, and analyze metrics to constantly improve the service.
Ultimately, this type of technology will help telecom companies define a home-based strategy to keep their employees safe and operational.