What criteria do you use when selecting your new broadband provider?
Although technical considerations do play a part, due to the reliance on Openreach infrastructure and the OfCom and ASA guidelines and rules regarding advertised speeds, there are no significant differences between broadband providers. Virgin Media and the few areas where FTTH services are available do offer faster speeds, but this advantage will progressively disappear with the rollout of fibre across the UK. Router performance and Wi-Fi coverage are important, but only to a minority of buyers.
So what about customer service and customer experience? Customers do not tend to see these as real differentiators when selecting their new Internet Service Provider (ISP). Broadband services are widely perceived as a utility and customers simply expect their Internet connection to work across all their devices, wherever they are in their home and whatever the time of day or year.
Customers still mostly select their ISP on price and ISPs mostly compete with their rivals on offers, driving up acquisition costs. This means that the challenge for ISPs becomes how to retain their hard-won customers.
This is where intelligence monitoring can help differentiate an ISP from its competitors. Most ISPs currently manage and analyse information in silos, with independent teams focusing on how to reduce churn or improve the network. There is still, however, a huge untapped potential in making better use of the vast amounts of data ISPs have access to.
Combine all information to get a complete view
Intelligence monitoring allows ISPs to combine data from numerous sources: their network, customers’ devices (the router or CPE, laptop, tablet, phone, connected appliances etc.), customers’ behaviour (propensity to call, churn risk, value), competitors’ offers, even their customers’ neighbours (e.g. line performance for improved diagnostics). They can also include data about external factors such as the weather and upcoming special events. Linking all these different elements together and using machine learning gives ISPs a complete and detailed knowledge of their customers and a powerful predictive platform to improve their service.
As an example, through the analysis of historical trends and weather forecasts, ISPs can anticipate where heavy rain or snow may affect specific locations. As a result, they can take measures to reduce the effects on their field force and call centres by re-deploying agents where most needed, by updating messages on the IVR to re-route calls to other channels and by informing specific customers - either those most affected or those most likely to call.
Managing major changes and improving individual services
Many use cases demonstrate where intelligence monitoring enables ISPs to better understand their customers and transform their approach to service improvement.
ISPs can dimension their network for special events – think of a new Game of Thrones season or major football games – using customers’ past and predicted behaviour in specific areas.
Operations teams can fix customers’ faults or degradations remotely to improve the quality of service at network or individual level, occasionally before customers even notice any issues.
Marketing and retention teams benefit from improved predictions of customers’ churn risk and can take action to prevent them switching providers, tracking their competitors’ offers and offering them a better deal.
Finally, they can reduce the volume of calls by removing the need for customers to talk to a call centre agent or effectively directing their customers to the most capable agent for their specific problem. Conversations will be easier and shorter, with agents having all the information they need as well as pre-made diagnostics to solve customers’ issues quickly and effectively.
Transforming the relationship with customers
Adopting intelligence monitoring allows ISPs to tailor their services to the needs of their users. Customer satisfaction will increase, as customers will feel personally cared for by their ISP through a mix of communications, background adjustments to services and bespoke offers. The result will be reduced churn and growing revenue.
Employee satisfaction will also increase, as call centre agents will be better equipped to handle calls and resolve issues more quickly. Improvements in First Time Resolution and Average Handling Time rates, alongside a reduction in call volumes, all lead to lower operational costs.
ISPs using intelligence monitoring to its full potential will transform their users’ overall Quality of Experience, building a much more positive relationship. Customers will no longer call to complain about issues but will instead receive regular updates on how their ISP has improved their service, because they care about them. And showing that you care for your customers is arguably the best long-term strategy to keep them happy, and to grow your business.
Pierre Soudier, Business Consulting Director
Fajar Raja, Business Consultant