Few sectors face the level of pressure on their customer service teams that telecoms businesses do. From helping new home owners get set up with super-fast internet, to keeping families connected across continents, customer experience is everything in telco.
Providing some of the most important services to keep the world connected, though, is a demanding responsibility to manage. Whether you’re working from home and trying to join an important meeting, or catching up with an old friend, when connections falter, frustrations rise quickly.
Getting, and keeping, people reconnected can be a challenge. There are over 53 million mobile phone users in the UK and almost 27 million broadband connections. Behind those end-users is a complex infrastructure of fibre optic cables, 5G masts, data centres, and much more. In short, pinpointing issues and overcoming them rapidly can be difficult.
So while it’s (thankfully) much simpler to set up an internet connection today than it was 20 years ago, the industry behind the technology is increasingly complex.
Yet customer service in telco isn't just about technology. It’s about people. Keeping the whole telecoms system running in the UK are over 220,000 employees across roles from engineering and security, to customer service and sales.
The ever-present challenge is keeping those teams joined up so that the technological complexity stays where it belongs — behind the scenes. When telcos get that right, they can deliver an exceptional experience to customers. However, to do that, businesses need not just supersonic connections, but better ways of working.
Using the digital HQ to better serve customers
In today’s work from anywhere world, having a central digital space for teams to connect is essential. The digital HQ of an organisation (a central place for work and social interactions, regardless of location) should be a place that’s connected, flexible, and inclusive for everyone, wherever they might be based. This is a digital space for every team in a telecoms business — from engineering to sales support.
The digital HQ is now more important than the physical HQ in several ways. This isn’t only because of the increasing number of hybrid workers in the UK who need to connect with coworkers from home. It’s also because a digital HQ enables teams to move faster and deliver a better customer experience.
And a great customer experience is transformative: Customers that have a great experience are more likely to recommend those companies to friends and family. On the other hand, 33% of consumers would consider switching companies immediately after poor customer service. What does that poor service look like? Long hold times, being bounced between different departments, and sluggish problem solving.
One way the digital HQ can overcome these challenges and deliver on the need for standout customer service is by moving teams and customers into channel based messaging platforms. Channels organise conversations into dedicated spaces, and can be created for any project, topic or team. Within a channel, all the right people and information is in one place. By working together in this shared space, teams can move with greater agility, and problem solve faster.
BT, one of the UK’s biggest telecommunications and network providers, moved their work into channels which meant ditching siloed emails, and plugging customer-facing issues right into where people are working.
Instead of taking-up their days with back-to-back meetings, the BT team has embraced asynchronous work. People will record an audio clip that others can catch up on when they choose, or hop into a Slack Huddle, a lightweight audio-first way to start live conversations,—which doesn't need to be scheduled—when they want to ask questions live. Those conversations are generally quick, saving everyone time they can put back into meaningful work.
Slack has improved BT’s ability to work asynchronously, and helped them to focus on the skilled development work that really matters to their team.
Breaking down telco’s silos
Every member of a telco organisation is ultimately in the business of serving customers. Traditionally, though, different teams have been dispersed across different offices. Customer service teams may be based in a call centre in one country, and engineers in another entirely. Connecting the dots between the two in this scenario is near impossible without the right tools. Today, hybrid work has added another layer of complexity, with coworkers needing to connect from almost limitless locations.
However, the digital HQ, built around the channel, can enable these complex teams to align on work wherever they are.
By breaking down those silos traditionally found in telecoms companies, customer service can be rapidly improved. If a customer support agent needs to connect with another expert, what was once a gap (usually filled with either a lengthy hold or worse, a promise of a callback) becomes seamless, as that expert can be identified and connected with in real-time. Likewise, if a customer agent needs to raise an incident with the tech team they don’t have to waste time searching for the right person, they can drop the issue straight into the relevant channel.
Even as the infrastructure and the workforce that underpins the telco industry advances and grows, the customer experience can be simplified and streamlined. By investing in the digital HQ, issues will be resolved faster. Agents will be able to serve clients seamlessly. Ultimately, customers will be left not only better connected, but more satisfied than ever before.