By Igor Sarenac, VP of financial services and international business at Convergys

With new devices and applications introduced daily, customers are becoming far more familiar and attached to them than to their service providers.

However, customers are also overwhelmed by choice and device complexity. They want all the advantages advertised by the device manufacturers, and expect to be able to use over-the-top (OTT) solutions and applications seamlessly across all their devices, regardless of the largely incompatible operating systems.

Yet operators still bear the brunt of customer service issues. When customers face an issue with their device or an OTT application, it is not the device manufacturers they call, but their service providers.

Operators are central to so many of the customer interactions between device manufacturers and OTT services, it’s vital that they do more to leverage this as an opportunity for customer engagement, and not as a customer support burden.

To do this, operators need to establish new operating models around this “user-centric experience”. This means moving away from traditional ways of providing care to ensure intelligent, personalised interactions.

Using tools and techniques such as customer segmentation and personalisation, operators can analyse vast amounts of customer data to manage users as individuals, leading to clear opportunities to offer bundled services, and cross and up-sell.

Forming a consolidated profile of each customer can have a powerful effect on the quality of support delivered from an operator’s call centre operations, for example. 

When customers have a query that needs resolving, operators need as much background on that customer as possible to drive speedy resolution. 

New cost effective technologies exist that can deliver a precise “snapshot” of each customer to the operator service agent. These systems optimise segmentation by consolidating key customer data in a single screen shot, pulling key information from multiple database sources in real-time.

Providing such a consolidated view can enable the agent to see the number of recent interactions a customer has had with the company, the channel most often selected, the rate and types of product adoption, the status of a new order, billing history, offer history, past experience with customer service, and use of social media — and whether or not the customer has acted favorably to the company in the past. 

Creating effective customer profiles, meanwhile, means understanding the device and application preferences of each user.

Gaining this intelligence is vital to ensuring network arrangements are put in place to resolve all queries in the fastest, most efficient and effective way. This means operators must align the most appropriate and relevant customer support expertise on particular devices and complex supporting operating systems to resolve specific issues as quickly as possible.

Another key consideration is ensuring that operators deliver support across a variety of different channels. Customers expect the experience to be seamless and consistent from one channel to the next so operators must be geared up to accommodate this new breed of impulsiveness.

New systems exist that can centralise the process of managing data and ensure that messages to customers are accurate and identical across each channel. This includes self-help and web chat channels, which continue to grow in importance.  

Operators must prepare now to move to this new phase of personalisation and direct user-level engagement. They have to become more proactive when it comes to delivering customer care and retain their position as the point of call.

This could potentially culminate in more operator-led customer care applications and chat tools being enabled for smartphones.

Only by having the tools in place to determine what user has what device and OS, as well as the user history, will they be able to obtain a detailed profile for a more considered and personal approach.

Once they have earned customer trust, operators will be better placed to take advantage of cross sell and upsell opportunities as they present themselves.

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