EE builds a brain as it looks to get back on track with customer experience


The evidence continues to show that the telecoms industry has a customer experience problem.

A study unveiled this week by the Institute of Customer Service in the UK found that telecoms and media is still the lowest ranked sector for customer service.

giffgaff and Tesco Mobile were the only two telcos to make it into the top 50 of UK companies, which was led by Amazon.

As Sameet Gupte, CEO at Servion Global Solutions, tells European Communications, operators are “a little late to the game” in terms of customer experience, but it is becoming an increasing threat to their bottom lines.

Aside from the two MVNOs, one telco that may take some heart from the report is EE, which was responsible for the biggest growth in customer satisfaction in the industry.

The BT-owned operator has in the past performed poorly in consumer surveys.

A survey by consumer watchdog Which? in 2016 found one in 10 EE users rated its service as poor or very poor.

EE had an overall score of 49 percent for customer service, ease of contact, value for money and incentives.

In July 2015, it was slapped with a £1 million fine by Ofcom after it failed to comply with rules on customer complaints.

Earlier this month, the regulator handed out another £2.7 million fine for overcharging tens of thousands of customers.

Alongside the Institute of Customer Service’s report, EE’s improvement is reflected across other data.

According to Ofcom’s most recent quarterly report on telecoms sector complaints published in December for the three months to September 2016, since Q3 2014, EE has moved from being the most complained about mobile provider in the report to the fifth most complained about.

EE dropped from 14 complaints per 100,000 in Q3 2014 to five per 100,000 in Q3 2016.

The company has been overhauling its customer service in a range of ways.

For example, every call to a customer service number is now handled within the UK and Ireland.

It has also undertaken a project with customer experience company Clickfox, as EE’s Head of Reporting & Analysis, Martin Duffield, told the Customer Experience Management in Telecoms Global Summit in London this week.

Using the Clickfox platform, EE built a “brain” that pools data from a range of customer interaction media, including call centre and web chat. It also includes churn data.

From this, EE has tried to build a new model for its customer interactions where it stays ahead of the game.

“Predictive analytics gives us the ability to intervene in a customer journey proactively,” said Duffield, describing this as a “fabulous edge” on competitors.

“If we know a customer is going down a path that will lead to a negative customer experience we can predict that using the technology,” he said.

One such project aims to work out the likelihood of a customer complaining based on patterns of behaviour such as the number of calls.

The EE project shows the need to redesign the way that operators look at transactions with customers.

Instead of assessing the impact of a single interaction, operators need to group the different interactions together to form an overall picture of what a customer’s experience is.

EE still has a way to go, but it has shown that with a bit of determination, telcos can change perceptions amongst customers for the better.

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