The AI Customer Experience Era in Telecommunications

Part 1: Connecting the world

The telecommunications industry touches all of us. It ties together a complex system of networks, computers, telephones and people. When we browse the internet, buy a new phone or call our loved ones, Telcos are someway or another in the loop. The average Telco serves tens of millions of customers and hundreds of thousands of businesses across a multitude of countries. It’s a big job. And a very important one.‍

Part 2: The 99 problems of Telcos

Despite our utter dependence on them (or perhaps because of it) Telcos are consistently rated one of the most disliked industries.

There are two main reasons for this.

1) Issues are painful: When your network is down, it hurts. Your House of Cards episode stops streaming, your GoogleMaps stops routing, your securities stop trading. Telcos are responsible for operating the world’s largest network. Faults are unavoidable. Unfortunately, they are also unforgivable.

2) Issues are frequent: Telcos are technology companies. To remain competitive, they innovate at the speed of technological progress. Telcos are constantly introducing new products and services across their thousands of offerings (phone, data, voice, TV, network, tablets, video, subscriptions), tens of regions and millions of customers. As with all companies, introducing new products is likely to result in some early hiccups. For an always-innovating Telco, hiccups become their status-quo.

Part 3: Our customer experience era

The above problems have always existed in the Telco industry. So has rock-bottom customer satisfaction.

However, times have changed. As demand and revenues shift from voice traffic to data, customer experience becomes key. On a voice-based system, calls were made out of necessity — quality wouldn’t impact your desire to make a call, and making one call would not likely encourage you to make another. Data is different. When data delivery is poor quality, people will reduce their consumption. When data quality is high, people stream higher-quality content and more frequently too.

Telcos today recognize the urgency of improving their customer experience. When revenue becomes directly tied to customer experience in a way it has never been before, rapid changes must be made.

Part 4: Helping Telcos help themselves

We work with a lot of Telcos, some of the largest in Europe. We’ve seen first-hand how great an impact AI powering their customer service has had.

Customer service is the cornerstone of positive customer experience. When a customer contacts her operator with a problem and gets immediate service that resolves her case, she will be happier.

She will become a stickier customer. On the two main issues for Telcos discussed above — 1) issues are painful and 2) issues are frequent — fast, efficient, high-quality customer service enables Telcos to identify issues sooner, solve them quickly and prevent cases from spreading.

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