Good customer service is worth $4.6 billion

Written by on February 19, 2015 in Features with 1 Comment

Customer service is an emotional subject. As customers we all have our tales of woe. The BillingViews team is no exception, they are still humming the last ‘music on hold’ tune that they were forced to listen to for more than 30 minutes. And still grumbling about being transferred between three departments without getting a resolution. They have often asked how much it would benefit communications companies to provide a seamless and sensible customer support channel.

Untitled-3[2]The answer is $4.6 billion in opex savings. Annually. And that is just Western Europe.

AsiaInfo have teamed up with respected industry consultants Northstream to come to this conclusion. The key, according to the research is to implement an omni-channel, ‘single customer view’ platform. Apart from anything else, companies can reduce customer service opex by 20 percent by eliminating the duplication of effort by customer service teams. That is a significant saving.

As in any business case argument, the cost savings are the easiest to quantify, but the research suggests that the improvements in Net Promoter Score and the reduction in churn are significant too, being about 10 percent for the churn column. That will certainly catch the attention of the CEO. He will know, in his heart of hearts that his customer service is failing.

It is an interesting read and an important one as communications companies are now being forced to review their processes. Customers have changed, have become more sophisticated and now expect omni-channel support. If a customer starts a query from his phone, he expects that this can be taken up via Twitter or Facebook, and continued when he rings back. The BillingViews guys would certainly welcome this approach. Mind you, they would welcome someone picking up a telephone within five rings.

Getting there is not easy. The IT transformation is a big issue but the benefits are clear. As one business analyst said, “if you are the telco that can provide SCV and omni-channel support, you have an enormous advantage over others.” Northstream calculated that the savings in IT opex from the streamlining and automation could be as high as 30 percent.

Right now many operators are faced with both legacy systems and legacy culture. This is not a criticism, but for many years they have enjoyed big margins and a batch based, post paid world. This must now change. They must partner with Over the Top (OTT) players and others to remain competitive and to do this they must – must – become more agile. If the objective is to offer real-time, relevant products and services, the support of those products must be as agile. It is no longer good enough to be transferred three times in 30 minutes, and be asked security questions every time.

Now customer service must be what we would want as customers. Seamless, centralised and via whatever channel we would want to be served.

Thank you AsiaInfo and Northstream, it is refreshing to be able to put some statistics on what is actually common sense.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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  1. Avatar Sundaram Ramaswamy says:

    Very interesting. The key issue however is the human resource issue and the big ticket management ownership of customer service values.

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