What Covid-19 has Taught Telecoms about Customer Experience Management

Wednesday, Nov 2nd 2022
woman wearing a mask showing thumbs up in office

If they weren’t before, Covid-19 has made broadband services a vital lifeline for many people. 

Throughout the pandemic a broadband connection has been the only way for many of us to socialize, check on our loved ones, work and learn. 

As a result, there are certain customer experience requirements that have come to the fore and if telecom service providers are lax in meeting them in any way, they face certain business risks. 

This was the conclusion reached in a June 2020, Quadient-commissioned survey of 2,000 telecom customers across the UK titled, “Is Telecoms Customer Experience Fit for Purpose in the Time of Covid-19?”

Here are the key findings the survey revealed and what telecom providers should keep in mind when it comes to managing their customer experience during the Covid-19 situation.


Customers are just as willing to switch providers during Covid-19

In normal times customers are quite comfortable switching telecom providers if they feel the customer experience they are receiving does not meet their expectations. 

With all of the turmoil surrounding Covid-19 you might conclude that consumers would shy away from adding further uncertainty to their lives by switching providers. 

This would be a wrong assumption. 

Do customers think switching Telecom providers is easy? 

switching telecom providers

According to the survey, more than 31% of home broadband customers, and 32% of mobile data customers, have either switched their provider in the past year or are planning to. On top of this, more than 81% of consumers are confident they could either switch providers if they wanted to, or have already done so and found the process simple.

The bottom line it doesn’t matter if we are in a pandemic or not. If consumers feel disappointed by the customer experience they are receiving from their telecom provider, they will think nothing of jumping ship to a competitor.


The demand for rapid communications has increased during Covid-19

Just as Covid-19 accelerated modernization that was already underway – from encouraging remote working, to making greater use of technology in healthcare – so it has increased the demand for rapid communications. 

In today’s omni-channel age, CX managers at telecom providers must be able to give consumers the support and customer experience they want, when they want. 

With so many people and students working from home during the pandemic, traditional telecom call centres and other channels have been overwhelmed with customer inquires. This has increased wait times and, in some cases, shut down systems.

To prevent this negative customer experience scenario from repeating itself, telecom companies must transform their customer communications by embracing new technologies and channels. 

Despite what customer experience managers might first think, the pandemic is the perfect time to do this.

Most customers accept that call centres are under-staffed and over-stretched due to Covid-19. Therefore they are more open than ever to trying new technologies such as automated self-service options and chatbots to self-manage through relatively minor concerns. In fact, according to the survey, 67% of home broadband customers, and 70% of mobile data customers, are willing to use self-service options during the pandemic to resolve issues.


Keep it simple; remember Covid-19 has put a lot on peoples’ plates

In their zest to avoid churn by addressing service issues as quickly as possible and keeping customers informed, telecom providers must be careful that any new self-service applications they introduce provide as simple, streamlined and stress-free a customer experience as possible.

The pandemic has made customers’ lives complicated enough. 

That’s why it’s imperative that any new technologies or channels telecoms bring on board are uncomplicated for customers to manage. The goal should be for these applications to be as easy for a customer to use as it would be if they called the call centre.

And telecoms shouldn’t be afraid to implement those new technologies or channels. 

Our survey revealed that only 25% of broadband customers, and 28% of mobile data customers, said that their telecom providers use all of the channels they would expect to contact them and resolve problems or issues. 

One last point: if company resources are maxed out, telecoms should consider collaborating with external partners in order to implement and manage additional technologies or channels in a timely and efficient fashion. 


Due to Covid-19, reliability has become the top priority

With any type of product or service reliability is always a priority for consumers but since the arrival of Covid-19, reliability has skyrocketed to the top of the list.

In the UK, during the pandemic so far, 33% of consumers (8.5 million households) have suffered from a bad internet connection during lockdown. The effect of these outages has been significant, from disrupting work, home schooling or planned entertainment, to cutting off people who are isolated from their friends and family.

Is it any wonder that when our survey asked telecom customers to rank how essential broadband was in comparison to other household utility services, they ranked it third behind only electricity and water.  Even the gas that heats more than 80% of UK homes was ranked lower.

"Shifting the customer promise from speed to reliability, can shape new value propositions."
- Source: EY 

Cost is no longer the number one attribute telecom consumers are looking for from their broadband provider.

Service reliability is. 

Not far behind is responsiveness. 

Our survey concluded that when a service disruption does arise, a third of broadband customers said that their telecom service provider’s ability to fix the problem with their connection quickly was one of the most important qualities a provider could have.

With 61% of consumers depending on online services more during the pandemic than they were previously, delivering consistently on reliability and responsiveness is a sure-fire way for a telecom provider to bolster their company’s customer experience and peace of mind with customers.

Go deeper on this topic by downloading the white paper, "Is Telecoms Customer Experience Fit for Purpose in the Time of COVID-19?".