When I consider how far internet technology has come in the last 16 years, one thing rings true. I no longer wait on hold for hours to find out what’s wrong with my internet service. However, when it comes to how I manage my account and activities, the single easiest way for me to ensure something gets changed – whether it be adding credit or a new service, replacing or activating a device, is to call in.
That means getting the speakerphone ready and cozying up in my Zen chair to ensure I don’t lose it on the agent, who has no idea why I’m calling. Average hold times for telcos have gotten better, but do their agents have any better tools for managing my requests?
When I don’t have access to on-demand service changes, instant readouts of my usage and easy ways to make my own modifications, I start to wonder if I am going back to the early 2000s when my modem didn’t have a green light and it was time to pick up the phone for a 2-hour hold session only to be advised to reboot my device.
Nonetheless, there are some clear ways to stand out as a Digital Service Provider, ways that grant customers the flexibility and autonomy they demand. Here are a few things that should be standard practice for true digital service providers:
1. Let Me Buy Now
Allow me to order a service without having to fill out a form or waiting for somebody to call me back. Customers should be able to just point, click, review and check out.
Hint: This only works when you have a clear view of what makes up your entire portfolio. By presenting only feasible options in a guided selling fashion, you can offer your customer faster access to what they can immediately consume.
2. Enable Single-Touch Resolution
Twitter is a good way to get quick answers, however if you really want to make it work, silos have to be broken. Silos get created around customer touch points. Solve my problem the first time and show me that you care.
Hint: In order to do this, you must have full visibility into the services and that means having access to fully defined product data.
3. Facilitate Multi-Channel Self-Service
Give me access to everything I need to manage my account without having to log in to multiple systems. Again, the silo limits the amount of product information available and in essence kills the ability to self-serve across channels, be it web, mobile, in-store, partners or B2B.
4. Allow Me to Personalize
What if don’t want all of the features in your package? What if I’m not happy with your SLA and want to create my own? What if I want to unbundle and just go with add-ons? This requires a deep knowledge of what can and cannot be customized. Only with robust product lifecycle management can you begin to look at a personalized offer. With a dynamic pricing scheme, you then get to show how much you really care by applying discounts and incentives for me to be a happy customer.
The best place to start is by looking at where your product data is mastered. If you have multiple silos of information that require a great deal of coding to get data in and out of your systems, it’s time to revisit your models for creating, selling and delivering products to your customers.