The telecommunications sector, one of the largest industries globally, is at a crossroads. No longer just telephone or cable providers, these industry giants are submerged in wireless technology, the internet, connected devices, and big data. Like many industries, telecoms was forced to accelerate their use and deployment of these technologies internally by the pandemic.
With the internet of things (IoT) market expected to top $1.3 trillion by 2026, and IoT device-generated data predicted to reach 73.1 ZB by 2025, the telecoms industry is poised to continue its global dominance, but only if it transforms itself. Boston Consulting Group advises, “[o]nly the telcos that harness the full potential of AI tools will thrive.”
One of these tools is voice AI, which can dramatically alter the way telcos do business and solve pain points and friction within the industry, such as customer service and customer churn. Let’s look at some ways that AI can transform customer service for telecommunications companies.
Eliminate hold times for account and billing management
AI can transform how telecoms handle account and billing management for customers. With AT&T and Verizon having two of the largest call centers in the U.S., employing 47,152 and 40,614 employees respectively, call volume is high in this industry. Human agents can’t get to all those calls quickly, which is a significant point of frustration for callers. A third of customers “are most frustrated by having to wait on hold.” Additionally, 90% of customers state an immediate response, which is defined as 10 minutes or less, ranks as “important” or “very important” for customer service questions.
Customer frustration doesn’t subside after hold times are resolved. Telecoms must consider average handle time (AHT) as well. Telecoms customers experience average handle times (AHTs) of 528 seconds. When it takes over eight minutes to do something as simple as updating credit card information, no wonder customer frustration is high.
Implementing voice AI into the customer experience radically reduces hold times and frustration. With voice AI, telecoms can turn straightforward and transactional customer issues into efficient and automated resolutions.
For telecoms contact centers, providing an automated self-service journey would significantly reduce the amount of calls handled by agents while increasing first call resolution rates. Voice AI reduces the burden of these repetitive calls on live agents by easily handling account and billing management, such as accepting payments or adding services.
If callers need the assistance of a human agent, voice AI can transfer the call. By providing agents with a summary of the call, voice AI reduces the amount of time agents spend getting up to speed and ensures customers never repeat themselves — ultimately improving average handle times.
Proactively keep customers up-to-date on outages and service issues
Not known for stellar customer service, the telecoms industry’s customer experience is fraught with friction, disjunction, and frustration — on both sides of the phone. During outages or service issues, customer frustrations can escalate, leading to customer churn.
In the telecoms industry, customer churn is high because numerous telco companies go after the same customers with their commoditized services. According to Accenture, 77% of consumers “admitted they now retract their loyalty [to brands or companies] more quickly than they did three years ago.” This loyalty is reflected in the high annual churn rates for telcos, which average 10% to 67%.
This churn, or reduction of customers, has never been so present as in the cable television sector. Because of cord-cutting, cable providers are losing 14,000 customers daily. Wireless carriers have been impacted as well. Approximately “75 percent of the 17 to 20 million subscribers signing up with a new wireless carrier every year are coming from another wireless provider and hence are already churners.”
To reverse these trends, the telecoms industry must focus on improved communication, especially during outages or service issues. With voice AI, telecoms providers can deliver high-quality, personalized service to customers quickly and when needed, increasing customer satisfaction.
For example, voice AI can process customer information in seconds, understand the customer’s history, and anticipate what the customer might ask 24/7/365. No more “starting over” with the outage or service issue when the customer is transferred from department to department. Today, customer service equals customer loyalty. Telco companies must put significant effort into improving their customers’ journeys or continue racking up high customer turnover rates.
Streamline installation and service appointment scheduling
Finally, voice AI can increase operational efficiencies of the telco itself by reshaping installation and service appointment scheduling. With voice AI, customers can easily book, reschedule, or cancel installation and service appointments at their convenience. Further, voice AI can send appointment reminders or contact the customer for updates on scheduled services.
Voice AI can save live agents hours of manually looking up customer account information, creating tickets, and logging call notes. By integrating with the organization’s CRM, voice AI can authenticate callers, update records, and complete post-call work.
See how telecoms companies are using Replicant Voice to quickly and efficiently resolve Tier-1 customer issues, keep customers up-to-date on outage and service issues, and reshape how appointments are scheduled.