How to improve customer experience in telecom by using guided customer journeys
Purchasing a telecom service, or indeed any other product, is a journey that spans many touchpoints, digital and physical. This customer journey may be divided into pre-purchase and post-purchase, creating a loop of awareness–consideration–research–purchase–loyalty, with loyalty creating its own loop of enjoy–advocate–bond. But so many stages mean too many opportunities for a customer to abandon their purchase. To prevent this, organizations in telecom and other industries can use journey mapping to understand behavior and adjust processes.
One way of managing customer journeys is through motivation, providing a pathway that prompts the customer to complete the purchase. Comarch demonstrated this during the TM Forum Catalyst project Maximizing Engagement with Predictive Customer Journeys , creating a proof of concept focusing on the early stages of a purchase journey using digital channels to show that a guided shopping journey employing appropriate motivation (through personalized offers) helps keep customers engaged.
Another method of perfecting the customer journey is to shorten it by satisfying customers so they don’t start from scratch (potentially with a competitor) when their contract expires. They may also become brand advocates and shorten the journey for friends and relatives, for example via referral programs, in which case they must be motivated (with rewards, discounts, or loyalty points).
Both routes rely on improving touchpoints, the digital and physical channels through which the customer experiences the brand. Digital channels allow customers to abandon their journeys more easily, so require special attention, depending on the type of journey. Most service providers will design care journeys to limit customer contact with physical channels, while for commerce journeys some prefer customers to complete purchases online, while others believe in store-based completion. The physical store of the future may combine the best of both worlds, with the next generation point of sale (POS) integrating sales channels so the customer can collect goods ordered online or use self-service kiosks with humans on hand if required.
The right set of BSS and OSS solutions can support key telecom capabilities in terms of customer journey improvements. For example, omnichannel lets customers progress through commerce and care journeys seamlessly, simplifying the process of moving operations to digital channels and including social media integration for building more robust relationships. A feedback mechanism feeding into a recommendation engine allows telecom operators to present better targeted offers not only to customers in a given target group, but also to others like them, thus providing motivation. And customer journeys as a whole can be streamlined using, for example automated 24/7 chat bot assistance and transposing contact center tasks to digital channels to give customers clear guidance on their path.
This article is based on an extended Comarch white paper. Read it in full here.
 David C. Edelman, Marc Singer, “Competing on Customer Journeys”, Harvard Business Review, 2015/11