4 minute read 4 Feb 2021
Nothing evokes memory like music

Why a digitally integrated customer experience forms a blueprint for success

By Ioannis Melas

EY UK&I Customer & Growth Solutions Leader

Sales and Marketing Strategy professional. Passionate about digital enablement and the use of analytics. London School of Economics alumnus. Speaks English, Greek, German and Spanish.

4 minute read 4 Feb 2021
Related topics TMT Telecommunications

Improving customer experience is the main priority for telecoms operators, but with rising expectations, it remains an elusive goal.

This article is part of the EY NextWave Telecommunications Journal

In brief
  • Improving customer experience remains easier said than done.
  • Rising expectations, rapidly changing technologies and regular market disruption provided obstacles even before the challenge of a global pandemic.
  • A customer-first digital approach will help work through these challenges and ultimately meet overarching objectives.

Improving customer experience is the number-one strategic priority for telecoms operators. However, with rising expectations, rapidly changing technologies and regular market disruption — even when there’s not a global pandemic to contend with — it remains an elusive goal.

Many of EY’s telco clients undergo large transformation programs with the aim of achieving growth and better customer outcomes. Challenges associated with improving customer experience are the trickiest to tackle. To this day, many organizations make the big mistake of forgetting to involve customers when designing customer experiences. That’s why they need an end-to-end, high-impact delivery method to work through these challenges and ultimately meet their overarching objectives.

What is a digitally integrated customer experience?

A highly successful digital transformation program focuses on customer needs and growth transformation. Think of it as a carefully structured user journey that can be adapted to individual needs. When used properly, the digitally integrated customer experience will fuse together different disciplines — from user research and business model design, to analytics, rapid prototyping and technology architecture — to ensure all the required skills are covered.

Why digital? Because these days, as highlighted again by the pandemic, digital provides the glue bonding together experiences as they are delivered through all the touchpoints of the organization.

We at EY believe this fully integrated approach is the most effective way for organizations to respond rapidly and consistently in order to deliver frictionless, compelling experiences for their customers. In our opinion, it’s the best way to quickly identify areas for improvement and ensure we leave no stone unturned.

Driven by customer outcomes

Another mistake is to adopt agile delivery in everything but substance. Enterprises sometimes organize teams in squads and tribes and treat this as a success, without confirming that this way of working genuinely yields a better result for the customer or the business. But successful telcos establish customer outcomes as the key driver, right from the beginning.

When looking to improve customer experience, a common mistake organizations make is to start with the process and technology and not focus on actually understanding what it is that customers want. While this approach might eventually deliver some customer benefit, it takes too long and sets organizations down the path of large-scale technology investment, which could be avoidable or disconnected from the customer objectives.

Creating a blueprint for improved customer experience

As with any effective program of change, it’s vital to set the right tone from the start – which is why telcos should begin with a highly immersive digital innovation brainstorming session. The aim is to align on the intended outcomes, involve customers early, establish co-creation as a way of working, and adopt lean product and agile delivery principles where it makes sense.

The tangible output from this kind of session, such as one you would find at EY wavespace™, is the first prototype of one integrated customer experience, whether that be a channel interaction or a product use case. Most important at this step is to instill the belief that a rapid, customer-obsessed and inclusive way of working is possible.

Partnering with experience

Once that belief is established, telcos can either tackle the process of delivering the digitally integrated customer experience on their own or with the help of a knowledgeable third-party partner. In choosing a trusted advisor, telcos should consider the depth of knowledge this partner can offer and whether this advisor can bring together multidisciplinary teams that cover sales, marketing, customer service or any other function that needs to contribute in order to achieve the intended customer outcome. And of course, the telco and its advisor should continue to involve customers themselves, working their valuable input into the model from day one as opposed to halfway through the process.

In the end, the telcos, on their own or with expert guidance, should assess the end customers’ needs, work out the areas that should be prioritized, design and implement the experiences that remove friction, engage customers meaningfully, and enable growth. The digitally enabled customer experience is that way forward.

Summary

In a world where improving customer experience is a matter of survival for businesses, you can’t just guess what a desirable customer outcome would be. Leave nothing to chance with a digitally integrated customer experience.

About this article

By Ioannis Melas

EY UK&I Customer & Growth Solutions Leader

Sales and Marketing Strategy professional. Passionate about digital enablement and the use of analytics. London School of Economics alumnus. Speaks English, Greek, German and Spanish.

Related topics TMT Telecommunications