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By Ala Shakhshir, partner growth manager at Infobip

Modern customers expect to have the same digitally driven experiences they encounter in other industries to be matched by their telecom providers as they seek to interact via digital self-service with telecom operators over the channels of their choice. However, for telecom companies, it’s not always about delivering customer service but also how they can upsell and cross-sell to the customers and use them for lead generation across the various stages of the customer journey.

For many operators, providing the expected Customer Experience (CX) continues to be a significant challenge as they still face a wide range of legacy issues that hold back the implementation of the omnichannel CX required for growth. This can directly impact metrics such as Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and net profit and shareholder values, including return on equity or return on investment.

Modern customers, overarchingly, want quick issue resolution, short waiting times and support on their preferred channels. Equally important is the ability of telecom companies to provide a customized and personalized CX across all touchpoints and stages of the customer journey. For example, prepaid mobile subscribers expect to receive messaging and offers different from those targeted at post-paid customers.

Simplification of Customer Service

Addressing the needs of modern customers for immediate support and seamless interactions requires building next-generation chatbots that bring support to the next level. By using Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven chatbots, telecom operators can significantly speed up the simplification of customer service, making manual tasks more efficient. Operators that have embraced a radical redesign of their service operations have been able to drive down costs while improving cycle times, improving accuracy and reducing call volumes by introducing call deflection to offload calls to digital channels.

While many companies still believe that chatbots are only used for complaint resolution or customer service, this technology can be deployed across the entire customer journey, including lead generation, upselling and cross-selling and, in some cases, porting customers from one operator to another.

For example, the next-generation chatbots can offer data bundles to customers running out of data; upsell the next best mobile package to a customer who habitually runs out of minutes; or target relevant offers to potential customers based on their past behavior and search history. On the other hand, AI-powered chatbots can also be used by telecom companies for quick and efficient automated onboarding of customers. 

AI helps telcos better understand their customer, allowing chatbots to use buying preferences to offer relevant products and manage the customer journey more efficiently. This ultimately adds to the bottom line by boosting customer satisfaction, reducing churn and increasing ARPU through cross-selling and upselling.

Seamless Transition

One of Infobip’s key strengths is that it offers digital channels, chatbots and cloud-based contact center solutions that facilitate a seamless transition to customer service agents, thus ensuring prompt customer assistance and satisfaction.

While many chatbot solutions are available in the market, telecom operators can improve their customer journey by providing the right human-like personalized conversations that use intents suited to CX-focused chatbots. When considering the benefits of deploying an AI-driven next-generation chatbot, operators should keep in mind that customers are happy to converse with chatbots at any stage of the customer journey if it means getting quick responses over their preferred channel.

There can be no doubt that customer behavior and expectations will continue to evolve, as will the telecom CX. By elevating the marketing, sales and service lifecycle; investing in digital channels and innovative technologies; and adopting cloud-based communication solutions, telcos can surpass the bar set by digital natives. With the right technologies deployed for cloud and virtual assistants running on AI engines, data and analytics, telecoms can continuously innovate and stay ahead of the curve.

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