Are Telecoms The World’s Worst At Customer Experience?

by Colin Shaw on March 9, 2017

We are fortunate enough to have two homes; one in England and one in the U.S. However, we are unfortunate enough to have two telecom providers; Virgin Media in England and Brighthouse, now Spectrum in Florida. Neither of them provides a Customer Experience worth mentioning—at least not in a positive light. Telecoms are bad at CX around the globe!

Back in 2012, we did some research involving over 40 telecoms. We asked the Customer Experience professionals there to name a Telecom they admired for the experience they provided. The silence was deafening. Five years later, it still is, apparently.

So, based on simple fault reports I have been dealing with in the last month, with these two providers I would give them a ‘0’ on the 0-10 Net promoter scale! I am a detractor and that is what has motivated me to write this blog. Rather than this be a rant let’s look at the key issues with Telecom’s Customer Experience?

  • Telecoms lack Customer Centricity. The customer must chase the organization. Customers endure a tortuous process of trying to suss out the problem by sending you over to a department where people treat you like an idiot by asking stupid questions before, then finally, you get to speak to somebody that can help, however there has not been a warm hand over. This is simply unacceptable. Quite frankly, a lack of Customer Centricity does not create a win-win situation or even a win-lose situation. It’s lose-lose.
  • Telecoms neglect to provide a consistent Customer Experience. One person doesn’t know what the other one is doing or has done. They operate as individuals, duplicating efforts or, in the most egregious cases, duplicating lack of effort. We have had four or five Virgin Media engineers to the house in England to solve the same problem. A few told us that the last guy didn’t record anything (they are not told to), so they have to go back to the beginning on each visit. Why? It isn’t clear, but it feels as if no customer call information ever gets recorded. Not surprisingly, the problem we were having isn’t solved either.
  • Telecoms lack follow through. In Florida, we are having problems with our service, so I called customer care. The Brighthouse/Spectrum customer service representative told me an engineer was scheduled to see me the next day. I was skeptical based on past experiences.  So, I phoned them the next day to see when the engineer might arrive. Customer service had no idea what I was talking about; the appointment was not scheduled. No one knew why it wasn’t or who I talked to or how to get someone to come today! We rescheduled, but I am not optimistic that anyone will turn up.

A Hopeless Case or An Area of Opportunity?

To make matters worse, consolidation of the telecom industry creates an unhealthy environment for Customer Experience progress. As telecoms grow larger and monopolize the market, they eliminate competition as well as the incentive to improve. After all, if you are the only game in town, who cares how you treat people? The result is that customers suffer poor customer service and a miserable Customer Experience while the telecom enjoys record gains in market share.

On the other hand, and a more optimistic hand to be sure, the opportunity is there. It’s ripe. It’s bursting with potential for a telecom to come in and get this right. If a telecom with a truly customer-centric culture emerge with a committed eye to improving the Customer Experience, they could dominate market share.

Changing for the Better Starts with This ONE Thing

I worked in Telecoms for 18 years before leaving to start my global Customer Experience Consultancy. I understand the challenges of this industry. However, even I find it astonishing, the lack of progress the industry has made toward providing an exemplary, or even adequate Customer Experience.

In my experience, Telecoms focus on cost-cutting, internal politics, and a relentless climb to higher profits, and enjoying a positive analyst briefing. I once attended a budget meeting in my former role at one of the largest telecoms in the world where not one initiative we undertook moved the ball forward on Customer Experience. Each and every one was a cost-cutting measure.

I don’t want to rant, but I do want to wallop this issue. Telecoms provide an awful Customer Experience. Moreover, it isn’t limited to just one area. Many details need improvement in the Telecom Customer Experience.

However, each of these details falls under one larger concept. Telecoms need to stop focusing on what’s right for their operations and focus on what’s right for the customer. Moreover, they need to do it with their actions and not their words. It’s all well and good to SAY you put the Customer first and draft an inspiring list of values that extol this sentiment for your organization. But delivering on these words is far more impressive.

What do you think? Are telecoms rotten at CX? Does anyone in telecoms provide an exceptional Customer Experience? If so, do they service England or Florida?

Make sure your Customer Experience exceeds your Customer’s expectations rather than being a disappointment or frustration. Learn how with Beyond Philosophy’s Customer Experience Essentials Certification Training.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy these additional resources:

How does the Customer Experience evolve inside an organization? How do you overcome the challenges associated with it? Download our whitepaper, The 7 Key Ingredients of a Successful Customer Experience Program in Telecoms, and find out!

Why Are Telecoms So Bad at Customer Experience?

Putting Lipstick on a Pig: Time Warner Merger Goes Ahead

Act Now to Turn Customer Pain Points into Pleasurable Profits

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawAre Telecoms The World’s Worst At Customer Experience?

Price Slashing Exposed! Low Prices Don’t Mean Better Value

by Colin Shaw on March 7, 2017

When we meet new clients at our customer experience consultancy, they often tell us they create value for their customers by offering low prices. They think “value” means “price,” and they believe that customers want to save money more than anything else.

There are two major problems with this kind of thinking.

First, it doesn’t take an economist with an Ivy League degree to see that cutting prices can only go so far. You reduce your price by 10 percent. Your competitor cuts theirs by 15, so now, to keep your customers, you must reduce your price another 10 percent. This is the classic “race to the bottom,” and eventually you will reach a point where you can no longer cut your prices without losing money. By then, you will have established an expectation of low prices AND you will still need to find other ways to add value and stay competitive. The problem is, your profit margin is now so low that it’s hard to find the money to improve other areas such as customer service.

The second problem with the price=value equation is that it’s simply not true. Research has consistently shown that price is only one factor that customers consider in determining value. And most of the time, it’s not the most important consideration.

Colin ShawPrice Slashing Exposed! Low Prices Don’t Mean Better Value

Why You Love Super Bowl Ads But Hate Shopping!

by Colin Shaw on March 2, 2017

Even if you didn’t watch the Super Bowl, you probably checked out this year’s commercials. I certainly did.

I laughed out loud at Melissa McCarthy pratfalling her way through environmental causes in an ad for Kia’s Niro hybrid. And no matter what you thought of the controversial 84 Lumber commercial, it was hard not to be touched by the hopeful face of the little girl setting off on a long journey. Even Skittles got a chuckle out of me.

The ad agencies that concoct these commercials know the power of emotions, whether it’s humor or a tug at the heartstrings. They know that by evoking emotions, they can create an overall impression that persuades us to like a product or a brand. And they know that potential customers will remember that ad long after they’ve forgotten an instant rebate special.

Colin ShawWhy You Love Super Bowl Ads But Hate Shopping!

How to Succeed at Your New Job

by Colin Shaw on March 1, 2017

On his first day on the job as U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson stood before a crowd of State Department employees and introduced himself. “Hi, I’m the new guy.”

The humble comment brought laughs because, until recently, Tillerson was CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the biggest companies in the world. But it also reflected something very true about Tillerson’s status: cabinet secretary or not, he was a brand new employee in unfamiliar territory. Like all new employees, he will have to learn people’s names, adjust to the way things get done, and figure out where the restrooms are.

Tillerson’s remark led me to think about new employees generally, and my experiences over the years, both as an employee and as as the CEO of our customer experience consultancy, Beyond Philosophy. Being new can be tough, and yet the first three months are a critical time when superiors and coworkers form their opinions about you. Here’s a list of my top ten Do’s and Don’ts for new workers:

Colin ShawHow to Succeed at Your New Job

To Get Loyal Customers, Start with Loyal Employees

by Colin Shaw on February 28, 2017

Hotel giant Hilton recently dropped the H from its rewards program, replacing the linguistically puzzling Hilton HHonors with an easier to pronounce version, Hilton Honors.

The change is more than cosmetic. The new rewards program will be the first in the industry to allow members to combine points and money for a hotel visit. Members can also combine points with friends or family members for free, or use points to buy things on And frequent travelers will be able to put their elite membership status on hold rather than lose it when they take a break from travel.

“These new perks revolutionize how all Hilton Honors members can use their Points, senior vice president and global head of customer engagement, loyalty and partnerships Mark Weinstein said in a press release. “Frequent travelers told us they want more flexibility while less frequent travelers want to be able to use their Points in more ways and more quickly.”

Colin ShawTo Get Loyal Customers, Start with Loyal Employees

We All Hate Losing – Here’s Why

by Colin Shaw on February 21, 2017

Tennis great Jimmy Connors famously said, “I hate to lose more than I love to win.”

His aversion to loss isn’t limited to elite athletes. Distaste for losing motivates politicians, gamblers, businesspeople and importantly, ordinary consumers. And unless you recognize its power, you may make critical mistakes with your customer experience.

Prospect theory explains why we hate losing more than we like winning. As described by Professor Daniel Kahneman of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School (and winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics), we have a tendency to evaluate things in terms of gains and losses. We don’t like losing – even more than we enjoy gaining a similar amount.

To illustrate this, Kahneman gives us the example of betting on a coin toss. If you told college students that they’d lose $10 if the coin came up tails and then asked them what they’d have to win on heads to make the bet worthwhile, they’d say $25. This means that for people to be willing to risk losing, they have to have a chance of making much greater gains if they win.

Colin ShawWe All Hate Losing – Here’s Why