This article originally appeared in the Nov. 2012 issue of CUSTOMER
Customer churn is by no means unique to the telecommunications industry. But unlike other industries, success in the telecommunications business is nearly defined by it. In fact, the churn rate is the focal point for most quarterly reviews and reports. What is also particular to this industry is that a greater percentage of customers switch to other providers due to dissatisfaction with customer service – not price, packages or offerings.
It costs five times as much to win over a new client than it does to serve an existing one, according to a recent study by Gallup Global Management. When a customer leaves, the business is not only losing that recurring revenue, but also the money and resources spent to acquire that customer in the first place.
As more customers migrate online to engage with their providers, telecommunications businesses have a real opportunity to engage with existing customers and prospects on a more intelligent and personal level the moment they enter their site. Providers that deploy intelligent engagement tools on their websites not only enhance the overall brand experience for their customers, they also increase the possibility of acquisition while improving retention and loyalty.
As you might imagine, the way you interact with customers is highly dependent on where they are in their lifecycle. A new customer is going to need a very different type of interaction than an existing customer who’s in the authenticated space and wants to modify his or her account or payment plan.
Real-time monitoring of visitors enables you to segment and target visitors based on their specific site behavior, customer history, geo-location and more. Armed with the right data and using the best intelligence, you are equipped to design a comprehensive engagement strategy based on each visitor’s needs, the revenue potential of the engagement and the cost of the engagement.
Consider this scenario. A customer is logged into her online account and it looks like she’s having trouble. You proactively invite her to chat, and she immediately asks you a question. After a few minutes, you determine that this is a high-value customer and may benefit from a voice interaction. You send her a click-to-call invitation, she obliges, you walk her through the steps of a subscription plan upgrade – the customer is happy, and you’re happy.
Through a complete engagement platform, you’re able to tailor your service and sales strategy to provide the right level of interaction with different segments of your online customers to provide an optimal online experience, as well as drive a desired business outcome.
One of the top three telecommunications companies in Canada decided to implement a multi-channel strategy to improve both customer acquisition and retention. As a result, the company was able to identify which engagement channel would be the most effective for a customer based on the customer’s behavior, profile and stage in the lifecycle.
The company recognized that proactive chat was the ideal channel for customer acquisition. By using LivePerson's (News - Alert) visitor tracking technology and developing intelligent business rules, the company was able to convert visitors into buyers. The company realized a 300 percent lift in conversions. Further, it saw an 82 percent reduction in the cost of customer acquisition.
The company also decided to deploy an intelligent click-to-call solution to engage customers who would benefit from a higher touch channel – a personalized, real-time voice interaction. It used the voice solution to target customers who expressed a desire to cancel service, which was determined by where they were on the site, keywords entered, or click behavior. After the customer agreed to talk, the agent would call the customer immediately to discuss the specific issues in greater detail and provide personalized support. The voice deployment turned out to be a huge success; the company was able to retain nearly 70 percent of customers who expressed desire to cancel service.
With this strategic combination, not only did the company drive bottom line results, it was able dramatically increase customer loyalty.
As customer churn will likely remain a key challenge in the telecom industry, it will be imperative for companies, large and small, to support and engage their customers through a meaningful, real-time connection across multiple channels. With intelligent engagement solutions, telecom companies can truly put their customers first – helping to drive higher customer acquisition, satisfaction and retention in today’s competitive environment.
Lawrence Solis is global director of PFP at LivePerson (www.liveperson.com).
Edited by Brooke Neuman