Leading Telecoms Billing and Provisioning Software Provider Union Street Technologies on How to Crack CX
By Simon Wright
The race to the bottom has been well and truly run – ready for a race to the top?
Surely there must be more to differentiating yourself in a crowded market than just how much you charge?
In today’s omni-channel ‘work-from-anywhere’ world, communication has never been easier, or smarter.
So – given that the customer is always king – opportunities now abound for organisations of every size and vertical to swap price for service as their strategic priority.
And that means good news for end users and their Managed Service Providers looking for the latest way to stand out in the crowd.
“Good customer experience creates repeat business. When you exceed expectations and delight them, they become your marketeers – and who doesn’t want free marketing?” says Chris Aylott, Head of Product at leading UK telecoms billing and provisioning software provider Union Street, whose powerful solutions score big.
“This is particularly relevant in the telecoms sector as it has one of the highest customer churn rates which hasn’t been helped by organisations trying to win business via cheaper prices.
“They need to understand what the customer demands are and they need to adopt a customer-centric approach. Today’s modern, always-on customers expect convenience and round the clock support. And they expect slick and seamless delivery.”
It’s an art, but Aylott puts it in scientific terms too.
“Customer experience is a measure of the friction that exists between the customer and their goal,” he says.
“There are three types: physical; cognitive; and emotional. Physical – when the customer is being physically prevented from doing something they want to do, such as the existence of a barrier to accessing a service or some information.
“Cognitive – where too much mental effort is needed by the customer to achieve their goal, like information not being clear enough.
“And emotional – the most complex and difficult to measure but often the one that has the most impact, such as how a customer feels about their interaction with a brand.”
There are some stats too.
According to recent surveys, 75 per cent of all business consumers consider CX to be a major factor when choosing a supplier; 80 per cent consider it to be as important as the product itself; and 96 per cent says poor service would drive them elsewhere.
Helpfully, Aylott has five tips for resellers on how to optimise their billing to deliver the best CX possible.
Tip #1 – Best-Practice Billing Processes
Import CDRs daily; reconcile on a daily basis; compare data with previous billing periods; spot discrepancies in good time; identify and resolve issues quickly.
“The more you stay on top of your data, the more fluid your billing processes,” says Aylott.
“Billing on the same day each month also helps customer cash flow and avoids panic and mis-billing. It also means you’re not in a rush at the point of billing, when human error can occur.
“One of the tools on our platforms lists the top 10 variants between billing periods, so you can see any odd differences. That’s a great way of spotting issues before they hit.”
Tip #2 – Clear Billing
Ensure the customer can clearly see what they are being charged for; reduce the number of tariffs and options where possible; avoid too many random credit or discount schemes; and ensure description of goods and services are consistent from the point of ordering to the bill.
“Lack of clarity heightens the cognitive friction,” says Aylott. “Simplify product codes where possible, provide supporting documentation that might further explain a bill, and consolidate multiple bills into one.
“Also, consider accessibility. Offer large print or braille alternatives.”
Tip #3 – Self Service
Recent surveys reveal that 40 per cent of customers prefer human-less service and 75 per cent expect a website to feature a self-service function or end user portal.
“These are no longer a ‘nice to have’, they are essential,” says Aylott.
“Customers expect their B2B service to be a slick as their B2C service. They want to be able to help themselves browse and download invoices, integrate products and solutions, change usage alerts, maintain costs centres, view outstanding balances and make payments.”
Tip #4 – Communication and proactive service
Do things for customers before they’ve asked for it; spot a looming issue; and remove the burden on the customer to find the best channel via which to resolve it.
“Utilise the dynamic areas of your bill to upload content such as adverts, information banners and text,” says Aylott.
“Keep it fresh and changing and use it to actually communicate with the customer as well as just billing them. It’s easy to leverage your customer portal in the same way too.
“Also, make use of automated communication triggered by things like legislative changes to prices, contract terms and best deals.”
Tip #5 – Automate and integrate
Reduce manual processes and consolidate multiple systems.
“This enhances the customer experience and reduces costs,” says Aylott.
“Automated billing prevents manual error and is good for setting bill limits. Also, there is often a disconnect between suppliers’ provisioning portals and billing platforms.
“Our ‘Mosaix’ platform allows you to quote, order, provision and bill in one place.”
It’s all great advice for driving loyalty – but there’s an added benefit to providing a brilliant customer experience too.
“It also boosts your employee morale, which sometimes gets overlooked,” says Aylott.
“When employees see the effort you are going to for your customers, they are more likely to buy into the culture you are trying to create.”
Article originally published on UC Today. Read the original here.