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How did we help a global media and telecoms company tune in to its customers

EY is working with a global media and telecoms company to delight its connectivity and entertainment customers across Europe and drive organic growth in a highly competitive market.

EY - How did we help a global media and telecoms company tune in to its customers

Transforming the customer experience

The company is one of the world’s largest international TV and broadband company operating in a booming but fiercely competitive market for digital TV and data services. After a period of acquisitions, they now provide telecommunications and TV services to over 30m customers across 30 countries. The company’s strategy emphasises organic growth, exceptional customer experience and targeted M&A.

It’s an uplifting and positive vision of a sector often held back by complex products, confused customers, and widely varying service levels in everything from home download speeds to call centre support.

The challenge facing the company has been to take a large organisation with a multitude of subsidiary companies, each with their own legacy systems, data collection and design tools, and create a unified approach to customer experience management.

The challenge: a unified connection to ensure customer delight

After a period of acquisitions, the group is seeking to consolidate its leading position through organic growth and a strategy to enhance customer experience excellence, build consumer loyalty and ensure a growing number of users who are delighted to recommend their services. The company had faced declining customer satisfaction in some of its 14 European markets. It is a competitive market place and customers can be fickle. In particular, their Net Promoter Score, NPS (a measure of customer satisfaction that asks simply whether a customer would be prepared to recommend their services to another customer) had drifted into negative territory in some places and the Group’s senior management was committed to improving the brands’ reputation for exceptional service.

In 2015, to help ensure customer delight, the company engaged EY and EY-Seren (a UK-based digital consultancy acquired by EY in 2015 that specialises in international customer experience and digital design consultancy), as its exclusive CX Transformation partner. The brief was to devise and implement a multi-year programme aimed at unifying Customer Experience Design, to drive market share and share of wallet, improve operational cashflow and target an ambitious +15 point uplift in NPS by 2018.

EY - How did we help a global media and telecoms company tune in to its customers

Striking the right balance

Working cross-border and cross-discipline is challenging at the best of times – and this project called for sensitive stakeholder management from the outset. EY worked to ensure alignment across the organisation, and increase connections between the product and commercial teams. EY Partners Peter van Herrewegen, Vincent Douin and Ioannis Melas assembled a cross-disciplinary team spanning EY and EY-Seren and liaised with every function of the business. “We secured buy-in from the client’s Central Commercial Office, and from a series of project working groups that brought people and expertise together from across the disciplines and operating companies”, Ioannis Melas said.

To gain buy-in from the outset, the team led with the numbers and insights gleaned from an intensive research and analytics phase: “Our approach focused on facts, enabling the data to do the talking,” he added, “this helped take the emotion out of programme and design decisions.”

The EY and EY-Seren team sought to focus their efforts, prioritising markets with the biggest potential for NPS improvement over the shortest period. We chose the UK for the first wave of activity followed by continental markets – Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium.

Making Customer Experience Management a reality

EY took a multi-layered approach to help deliver the objectives of the Customer Experience Management programme and to address the complexity of the market. We put in place a series of work streams and recommendations with far-reaching implications for the company’s customer communications and technology development.

Work streams included:

  • Customer Experience Platform – a measurement platform that combined NPS, financial, operational and transactional data and enabled rich profiling of customers and deep understanding of relationships between customer and business outcomes
  • Customer Journey Design – research-led mapping of customer behaviours, attitudes and interactions with the company’s products and channels.
  • NPS measurement review – process and methodology review of how NPS is estimated across markets to achieve consistency and reliability
  • NPS Incentives – principles of how NPS would be linked to performance management and reward.

Building on a wide breadth of experience built up from similar customer engagement programmes implemented for other clients in the telecommunications, media & entertainment sectors, EY was able to bring together a group of consultants with deep expertise across all aspects that would be required for a successful completion of the programme. At its peak, there were 20 EY consultants working as a single team towards the goal of delivering the tools the company required.

After an initial diagnosis identified under-performing areas and established immediate priorities, EY led a full qualitative and quantitative research programme, bringing the power of Big Data and 1-to-1 in-home research together to profile and model the Group’s diverse customer base.

We created a suite of eight different customer personas for five top European markets, to describe key user types from across the company’s customer base, which enabled Ioannis and his team to ask the question – “what does the ideal customer and user experience look like?”

To streamline and improve user customer journeys, we then recruited real-life customers who matched the personas and charted their interactions with the company, all the way from ‘first use’ and ongoing engagement, through to deepening relationships. This in turn informed a raft of new CX design principles for implementation across the Group.

To Ioannis, the benefits were immediate: “This not only identified quick wins to lift NPS scores based on detailed qualitative and quantitative data, it helped bring greater consistency to customer personas, journeys and experience design across five different European markets”, he said. The programme team are implementing these design decisions that are having a tangible impact on how customers interact and transact with the company’s products and channels and can measure these improvements in customer and commercial terms.

Setting the gold standard in customer experience management

The project delivered innovation at every step. “We’re refining how we research, develop and construct customer personas”, says Ioannis, “in a very complex digital world, where user behaviour is shifting all the time, this is an area that is fast evolving.” There have been deep learnings, too, about the optimal way to combine lab-based and in-home user experience research, and how to marry the qualitative and quantitative to measure in far richer way.

The EY and client teams are now examining how to proactively ‘inject’ CX into the product development process, in order to design-out faults that might cause friction in customer interactions in the future and to drive even better Customer Experience.

These positive results will help build a unified approach to Experience Management – enhancing the company’s understanding of its customers and how they interact with its services, and strengthening its internal research, technology and CX design capabilities for years to come.

The client Programme Director confirms: “Our goal was simple, more happy customers. Over a yearlong engagement the EY team together with our team created a hugely powerful view of our customer base & their behaviours. This is used to drive a deeper level of customer focused insight & initiatives throughout the organisation. Most importantly we had great fun doing it”.