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?
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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