Once upon a time, companies were differentiated by the products they made. For mobile service providers, that meant network coverage, reliability and speed. Modern network rollouts and a maturing industry has leveled the playing field. Competitive differentiation now lies in delivering the best customer experience across all customer touchpoints.
In the newly-defined digital world, direct interaction between customer and company has dramatically increased, and along with it, customer expectations. Former Gartner VP Tiffani Bova defined it best when she said, “Customer experience is the last source of sustainable differentiation and the new competitive battleground.”
Creating a digital experience is more than providing a visually pleasing user interface, a cool app, or unlimited music streaming. It’s a customer-needs driven strategy that impacts how mobile providers package, promote, market, sell and deliver services.
Chief Digital Officers – Brand Strategist not Technologist
How a customer feels about a brand, versus how they feel about their own personal experiences with that brand, have become nearly interchangeable. With on-demand engagement opportunities available through multiple channels, a bad experience, whether through a mobile app or online, will result in a lost customer who never returns.
What’s worse, your company may never know why they left. A recent study shows that while 95 percent of customers don’t complain, a full 91 percent simply leave when they are unhappy (Convince & Convert, April 2016).
Within the last three years, more than 25 percent of global mobile service providers have appointed a chief digital or strategy officer – and for good reason. Digital experiences that engage customers is the biggest game in town, and requires an officer who is not directly invested in either the Network or IT groups in order to oversee and direct strategy. Many of them are judged on their ability to increase Net Promoter Scores, since a happy customer will not only become a brand advocate, but will also spend more money.To be successful, The Chief Digital Officer (CDO) drives digital strategy without being encumbered by existing IT infrastructure or operations or hampered by the status quo.
The Building Blocks of the Digital Experience
Don Norman and Jakob Nielsen, of the Nielsen Norman Group, define user experience by saying, “the first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother.” There are three key points in delivering such an experience, which must be met:
- Personalization – An overused term these days for sure. And much harder to define for mobile providers than those selling taxi services or running shoes. To get this right across varying customer segments, you must be able to approach digital packaging as an iterative exercise – experiment, test, measure, and repeat. Quickly.
- Consistency – As the old saying goes, you are only as good as your last performance. To truly define a brand, the customer measures his or her experience across every interaction. Interactions should move seamlessly through channels, from the web and mobile devices through wearables, roaming plans and more. The immutable truth is that one hundred interactions can go well, but the one that goes wrong is the one that will be remembered. To truly build the experience customers expect, you need to be Always On. Always Agile. Always Precise.
- Evolution – Agility has become synonymous with digital transformation, but the fact remains that a company that stays the same risks it all. Full digital transformation projects take an average of three years, according to the GSMA. In that time, the market has moved on and the window of opportunity has been lost. A full digital transformation is a large undertaking, one that can’t be done in a day. Although rapid entry into the digital market is vital, so is getting the right infrastructure in place; this can be the first step in moving the company in the right direction and getting immediate results.
Digital Experience for Digital Service Providers
Service providers, in particular, can’t avoid digital transformation. Where connectivity used to be the key differentiator, consumers now place much higher value on the additional services and content afforded by connectivity.
CSPs, in their quest to transition to Digital Service Providers (DSPs), must offer a consistent, seamless, and personalized experience across all operator, cloud and OTT services. When interactions are simplified, transparent to the user, and coupled with a streamlined user experience that begins with onboarding and carries through each transaction, today’s service providers will evolve into digital experience powerhouses.