Increasing Average Revenue per User (ARPU) and reducing churn, that’s what a service provider cares most about. What does it take to make that happen? Most would say it involves the following:
- Offering attractive products and services
- Having a good reputation
- Delivering quality services that subscriber’s value
- Maintaining a positive user experience over time
- Treating customers well
But what is underneath all of these points is creating trust with customers. Creating a positive relationship with a customer is essential to driving business performance and results.
The essence of good relationships is trust. Vulnerability and risk drive trust. What makes someone jump out of a perfectly working airplane on a parachute? Or more appropriate to a service provider, what makes a customer choose and stay with their products and services? What drives trust?
Dr. James Davis in his TEDXUSU talk from December 2014 discussed the “Three Reasons to Trust” in the context of a customer and a company:
- Ability – Can the business do what they say they can do?
- Benevolence – Do they care about me?
- Integrity – Do I agree with their values?
Consumers are becoming increasingly better informed on telecom services through the internet with the ability to easily comparison shop, read reviews and being subject to the viral reach of social media. Service providers may claim they offer the best service (“Can you hear me now?”), but they have to be able to prove it as Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and other surveys and service indicators will influence consumer perceptions.
Another way to influence customer perception is to show how subscribers are treated when there is a problem. Service providers can turn a bad situation into a positive by providing a notice when there is a service issue and an estimate of when the service issue will be fixed. To be able to deliver that level of customer care service providers need an early-warning system that continuously monitors the network, applications, services, and subscribers and provides instant notification (of the service issue), quantification (subscribers/devices impacted) and qualification (what part of the network involved) of service degradation and outages.
Dan Ariely in his TEDx East talk “The Value of Trust” from December 2016 discussed how to increase Trust through the creation of long-term relationships and reputation. When we are more confident with a company, the more likely we are to buy their products and services, spend more to increase the products and services we have with them. Having a good reputation is something that is earned and must be maintained. Assuring the delivery of high-quality services goes a long way to creating and maintaining that good reputation and upkeep of that subscriber relationship.
People have a tremendous capacity for trust. But if you abuse that trust you may face consequences. Revenge and punishment is how humans deal with a violation of trust. For a service provider that means churn. Dissatisfied subscribers will leave a service provider, and are willing to suffer financial penalties to inflict some measure of revenge on their service provider. And they won’t hesitate to turn to social media to share their story! Indeed, revenge is built into the human psyche; it is a powerful force to get companies to treat customers better.
As we continue our evolution to an electronic society this makes the problem of creating trust more difficult. Faceless transactions do not create a human connection. As Simon Sinek noted in his TEDx Talk (April 2011) also on trust, “technology is absolutely fantastic for the exchange of information and exchange of ideas…its wonderful at resourcing and finding people, but it is terrible at forming human connections, you cannot form trust through the internet.”
Service providers and their customer care departments must recognize that the personal touch still counts for a lot. And as more of the customer interactions are handled through the internet and digital interfaces as part of the evolution of digital transformation, customers may feel alienated from their impersonal interface with the business. Service assurance solutions like NETSCOUT provide both proactive network monitoring for service degradation as well as reactive troubleshooting for individual subscriber sessions. Service providers that leverage these early warning systems to notify customers of service issues (and estimated time to repair) help to mitigate the impersonal feelings of digital transformation.
Service providers offer wanted valuable services with their mobility, internet access, voice, video and data services as well as supporting over-the-top (OTT) applications. With the proper investment and focus on service assurance and business analytics they have the tools to create trust with their subscribers.
If a customer believes in a company, their products, services, reputation, and values then they are willing to take the risk, take the chance, and jump!
For more information on assuring your network services, go to www.netscout.com.