The surge in digitization means that it’s a rocky road going forward for the telecom industry. The sector is predicted to combat a massive digital disruption as its core voice and messaging businesses continue to shrink, thanks to the overpowering advent of social media communication channels.
Within the US alone, voice calls from mobiles and landlines make up for less than a third of the total access.
That said, threats can become threats if one perceives them as such. Digitization also brings with it opportunities to innovate and be one with the times for the lagging telecom industry.
Digitization could enable telecom operators to improve their profits by as much as 35%, yet the average improvement achieved is just 9%.*
Challenges for the Telecom Industry:
Continual Emergence of New Technologies and Competitors
The advent of new technologies has upped the quality of communication services. Consumers are also spoiled for choice as they can pick from a bouquet of services offered by over the top (OTT) platforms such as WhatsApp or FaceTime. We’re living in an age where there’s barely any difference left between telecommunication and internet channels. To keep up with the competition, telcos have to pipe down their profit margins to avoid being pushed out of business.
Meeting Customer Expectations and Offering Customization
Customized service is the name of the game today. However, the rigid functioning of telecom companies has prevented them from latching on to this trend. The world today is buzzing with custom communication bundles, packaged neatly to serve the most complex needs. As a result, the operational complexities such as service configuration, order fulfillment, customer support, and billing have increased, thereby increasing the financial overheads as well – aspects are fully avoidable if businesses choose to optimize and digitize their processes.
Upgrading Infrastructure While Safeguarding Consumer Interests
The IT and connectivity infrastructure of the telecom sector is in dire need of an upgrade. Network security in the telecom sector is another area of concern, arising as a threat from newer, unknown technologies. Therefore, the challenge is to engineer an operational and technical overhaul to help companies provide the best, most secure service to their users.
How a User-centric Approach can Boost the Telecom Sector
Successful telecom companies with a UX-driven mindset –
- Make optimal use of digital technologies to use to improve the customer journey
- Make their product portfolio more customer-centric with product bundling
- Craft the right infrastructure in place to enable digital upgrades and secure services
Further, this user experience-driven approach can contribute to development in the following areas.
The omnichannel system makes a business seamlessly available to its consumers, 24/7. For instance, a prospect might visit your website via a Facebook post. Check what’s trending regarding his query on Twitter. Then, communicate with your company using the contact email available on the website to solicit more information regarding your products after checking online reviews. An omnichannel system is based on advanced analytics, wherein various distribution channels are seamlessly integrated to provide a unified experience to customers. Telecom UX can help companies extract the best out of user data to develop a solid, unique omnichannel experience for prospective customers.
Providing Personalized Perks to Consumers
By ignoring user experience principles, companies fail to capitalize on contemporary opportunities like personalization at scale for new use cases. An experienced UX design team can lay a strong technical foundation on which digitization and customer engagement can foster.
A memorable digital customer experience is the result of a radical design sprint which involves the application of design-thinking methodologies. Here, the preliminary goal is to take a step back and consider the entire user journey instead of picking on spot inefficiencies to fix. User data is a goldmine of opportunities for companies, and analyzing this can help in developing an experience that is truly personalized and effective. From creating bundled service offerings to resolving consumer conflicts, a user-centric approach is crucial towards establishing customer loyalty.
Consider the virtual private network (VPN) service as an example here. VPN access used to be sold as a standalone service by telcos. With the shift in usage trends, providers have analyzed user needs to repackage VPN services. They are now offered in the form of long-term or short-term bundles, or pay-as-you-use plans where clients are charged as per the bandwidth used.
Offering Simple Solutions for Complex Workplaces
For context, let’s consider the customer service department of a telecom company. New-age interfaces have to be designed to accommodate the varying responsibilities of customer service agents. A highly complex service environment such as this has to ensure that there is adequate attention given to design details supporting scenarios such as context switching, complaint/query escalation, and speeding up query resolution. On the whole, a well-designed and focused user interface holds the key to successful operations, regardless of the complexity. A mature and robust sales support system can be designed to handle rote tasks, leaving the employee to only deal with complex and unique client cases. An intelligent system such as this provides contextually relevant information and is a breeze to navigate for the more complicated troubleshooting issues. An in-depth, yet consumable compilation of the customer’s interactions and behavior will help create a valuable data bank and be an asset within this complex ecosystem.
Design principles have evolved to cope with user needs and have therefore become a standard adaptation across industries. Telecom companies have suffered by implementing technological trends without basing them to suit user needs, and have failed in their endeavors as a result. Therefore, the way forward for telcos from this point onwards is to leverage the power of telecom UX design to become game-changers.