Couple of days back, a friend of mine asked me about proven customer experience initiatives for high value customers. This is a question which I get asked a lot of times not only from friends working in other telecom service providers but often from my managers every now and then. In-fact CX and Customer Lifecycle managers grapple with these issues on daily basis as the risk of high value customers deflecting to competition is too great to be ignored. In this blog post I will discuss top initiatives to tackle this issue from various angels.
Top 3 Fundamentals
- Re-define the criteria of high value
The first thing to start-off with is to review the high value criteria. A comprehensive criterion should take into consideration elements such as; tenure, profitability, and ARPU. Such a criterion is usually referred to as Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), more advanced versions of which also include the future expected profitability of the customer.
- Keep in touch but don’t spam
It is important to let high value customers know that they are valued. A season’s greeting call or a nice email with some free minutes/MBs on special occasions could go a long way in instilling loyalty. While staying in touch is important, it is even more important not to over contact high value customers. Sending an SMS about every new offer or service is definitely a bad idea.
- Priority on services
For service companies like telecom service providers it is easy to provide a good experience to high value customers by giving them priority on accessing help line and sales counters. Nothing is nicer than being able to instantly connect with someone knowledgeable and resourceful when faced with an urgent issue.
Top 3 Intentional Experiences
- Create an account view
The impeccable experience of a high value customer can very well go to waste if the customer’s spouse or another family member is having a lousy experience. Thus implementing the concept of account view is important to deliver consistent experience to all lines linked to each high value customer.
- One touch complaint handling
Today the real customer service challenge comes from first time resolution of customer complaints raised through any of the available channels. Reducing the overall customer effort to get serviced is the new killer customer service metric. To achieve this, companies need to transform internally in-order to align core customer service capabilities across channels. Key customer service channels include internet, social networks, mobile apps, sales outlets, help line, IVR, and USSD among others.
- Up-sell and cross-sell
Up-selling and cross-selling is not only good for the company but it also provides a good experience for high value customers. It gives an indication to customers that the company is interested in sharing relevant promotions, products, and services based on personal preferences and behaviors. It is very much like the ‘genius’ function on iTunes. Companies that are really ahead in the Up-sell Cross-sell game have implemented Next Best Action frameworks that look at the usage history of customers and suggest best fit offers in real time when the customer interacts with the company through any touch-point.
Top 3 Delighters
- Value and nurture the relationship
Cultivate loyalty among high value customers requires nurturing the relationship by knowing more about the customers as the relationship grows. Today customers reveal much more to Facebook on day 1 of joining it than what mobile service providers know about the customer even after 2 years into the relationship. Companies must overcome this challenge to connect with customers as real persons by knowing them better. So it would really make a difference if customer is sent a birthday cake from her favorite bakery with a bouquet of flowers having her favorite roses and tulips rather than an expensive smart phone which she doesn’t even like.
- Priority on new launches
When launching the new iPhone or the new LTE device, let the high value customers cut the queue and get it before anyone else can. It is as simple as that and doesn’t take much to deliver!
- Differentiated service quality management
Finally we come to the hardest part of creating a delightful experience, and ironically it is about providing the core offering/service, as advertised on TV. So when companies advertise high speed 3G internet speed reaching ‘upto’ 42Mbps on TV, high value customers expect to download a movie in 10 minutes. However in reality these customers are disappointed when more than usual the internet connection is not good enough to play YouTube videos without buffering. Network outages, call drops, and frequent internet disconnections are some of the other common causes of disappointing customer experiences. Implementing a differentiated QoS requires significant investment in deploying indoor solutions for high value customers and network probes to cover the network spread and back-end fault and traffic monitoring systems for pro-active and reactive response management. Once the QoS and SQM systems are in place, financial benefits will follow automatically.