Communication service providers are preparing for an influx of new customers, with 37% of smartphone users ready to switch to 5G as soon as it becomes available. Now is primetime for telcos to set the stage to impress a fresh batch of consumers.
How can CSPs hook customers browsing for a new telecommunications provider? By offering an intuitive, interactive, and user-friendly digital account opening process. In fact, 70% of customers now expect companies to provide self-service applications.
Depending on the sector, account opening in telecommunications can involve one of two things: visiting a brick-and-mortar for a 30-90 minute sit down or an on-location appointment with a technician. These outdated account opening strategies are not only time-consuming, but for modern customers that value ‘convenience’ over anything, they’re incredibly inconvenient. Here’s why now is the time for your CSP to rethink your digital account opening processes.
Why the telecom industry needs to revisit their customer experiences
High churn rates are costly
Of five main industries ranked by a recent survey, telecommunications has the second-highest churn rate. The study was able to pinpoint the main reason: poor customer service. Hard-to-understand materials, sluggish application processes, and non-personalized offerings were just a handful of the reasons customers make the jump to a competitor. By fine-tuning your online account opening process, you can improve revenues by reducing customer churn.
User-friendly websites drive brand preference
Think the functionality and attractiveness of your website is a glossy afterthought? Think again: how easy your site is to navigate ranks as the second-highest driver of CSP brand preference among global customers. Telco websites and online applications that are complicated and arduous fail to attract the attention of a modern client base. In fact, of nine industries highlighted in the study, online interactions offered by network service providers ranked dead last in positive customer sentiment.
Explosion in 5G subscribers
Analysts predict that there will be 2.7 billion 5G mobile subscribers by the end of 2025. This will account for over one-quarter of total global subscriptions, making it one of the most in-demand technologies of the century. Digital account opening processes need to be fast and they need to be simple, so you can capture this explosive market.
Here’s how your telecommunications provider can exceed expectations and deliver a winning digital account opening experience.
How the telecommunications industry can create a winning digital account opening experience
Quality vs. quantity: only capture the essential customer data
Convenience now reigns as the primary draw when shopping between competing brands. A clunky application form with dozens of form fields looks anything but convenient.
Studies show that application abandonment steadily increases as you add more form fields. To ensure customers finish the entire application, you need to determine what information is a must-have and cut the deadweight.
Use visuals to indicate just how quick and snappy your process can be. Input fields should be about as long as the expected number of characters. For example, a first name will rarely exceed 20 letters, so there’s no need for the field to stretch across the page. You can also use progress bars or countdowns, so customers know exactly how long the process will take, making them more likely to stick it out until the end.
Personalize your service offerings
More is always better, right? Wrong. According to researcher Sheena Iyegnar in The Art of Choosing, the more options you present, the more likely you will send a customer hunting for the “cancel” button.
Too many options for data caps or speeds present a daunting prospect for customers. They need to spend significant time evaluating the pros and cons of each option, constantly gnawed by the fear of making the wrong choice. The prospect is so overwhelming that most customers decide to make no decision at all. To combat this ‘choice paralysis,’ savvy marketers pare down their long list of service offerings using innovative strategies like interactive quizzes and guides.
For instance, you can ask about a customer’s gaming habits or their smart home setup to recommend the right internet speed or data package for their precise needs.
Fast track customer identity checks
Depending on the region, regulatory bodies require various identity checks for broadband access or SIM cards. This can be a rocky step in your process: the longer it takes and the more information required, the less likely customers will finish the account opening application.
Make it as easy as possible for customers to submit identity check documents. To start, don’t bury these questions in a long-scrolling application. Make ID verification a standalone step that very quickly explains what information you’ll need from the customer. Next, leverage many of the user-friendly features that come stock in every smartphone:
- Snap a selfie: Identity check platforms can analyze a photo from a passport or driver’s license and compare it against a live video or selfie.
- Document scanner: Smartphones can also snap a photo or analyze a PDF upload. This is a great way to grab important information from proofs of address or government-issued IDs.
- Link up with third-party providers: Establish a lightning-fast linkup to credit reporting services to verify that an applicant is who they say they are.
- Leverage location-based functions: Verify a customer’s location against the physical triangulation of their device.
These cutting-edge identity check technologies make this step as frictionless as possible. When 97% of customers abandon applications that are too laborious, these automated tools are must-haves in your CSP account opening process.
Make it easy to ask questions
Customer service phone numbers spark visions of long waits and maze-like prompts for tech-savvy generations. In fact, one-quarter of millennials would rather go to the DMV than phone into your support line.
Make it easy for customers to ask questions within your account opening experience. They might want to know how likely they are to burn through data limits or how much juice they need to support frequent video conferencing. They’ll likely have questions about how much bandwidth they need to support their ever-growing ecosystem of IoT devices. Adding popular tools like live text chats allows customers to communicate on their terms without interrupting their application process.
Ask professionals how they rank their digital efforts, and 80% believe they deliver a “superior experience.” Consult with their customer base, and you hear an entirely different story: a staggering 92% of consumers grade their experiences as subpar. With IoT and 5G set to serve an explosive number of new customers, is your CSP ready with the digital experiences that will capture their attention?