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Self-Care Channels in Digital Transformation Era

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. Exponential growth in smartphone usage.
  2. Major self-care channels and its crucial role in enhancing customer experience.
  3. Traditional Channels and Next-gen channels.

In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:

  1. What is WiFi?
  2. What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

Overview

Telecom landscape is changing with exponential growth in smartphone usage. Operators are looking for smarter ways to use digital technologies to connect and engage with subscribers. It is time for telecom operators to widen their portfolio of self-care applications to enable automated interactions and provide a seamless customer experience.

In our previous blog – Why seamless self-care should be a top priority for telcos? – we highlighted the growing importance of self-care and analyzed why it should be the top priority for telcos. I

n this blog, we are focusing on major self-care channels and its crucial role in enhancing customer experience. The self-care channels are broadly categorized into traditional & next-generation channels.

What are Traditional Channels?

The traditional self-service channels consist of E-mail, Customer Call Centre and Operator Store. As we have already covered the scope and impact of traditional channels in detail, let us focus on the next-generation self-service channels that digital transformation has forced operators to adopt.

Next-generation Channels

SMS Self-care: Telcos have realized that customers can get their basic queries (account balance and service activation/deactivation) answered by sending a short code or long code to the assigned number and retrieving information automatically without human intervention. It is a proven way to reduce costs and improve customer experience.

Instant Messaging (IM): Customers consider self-care options convenient to them and Instant Messaging in one such channel which gives the customers flexibility to get their queries resolved at the place and time convenient to them without waiting in operator store or over the phone. Users can chat with a live agent to get their queries resolved.

Chatbots: Chatbots allow the users can chat with a virtual agent. Chatbots are the extension of instant messenger.  It simulates a human conversation to resolve first level support queries related to billing, plan discrepancies, payment issues etc.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR): It allows customers to interact with telco systems by keying in specific codes to access services through the IVR dialogue. IVR is a pre-recorded message that dynamically generates audio based on the user input and directs them on how to proceed further. It helps telcos to handle high call volumes and enable customers to get their basic queries resolved

Call Back: This option is offered to customers who do not wish to wait in the queue while calling the contact center. First, the customer dials in the number and the customer service agent contact the customer at his/her preferred date and time.

FAQ Page: This self-service option is not a channel in itself, but, telcos have realized the benefits that it offers. Before buying any telco product/services, every customer does an extensive research. All the answers of the customers could be addressed through a well-drafted FAQ web page. It saves time and resources for the operator and gives a great satisfaction to customers.

Telco e-commerce Website: This is not a proper self-service channel; however, if designed properly, it can resolve all customer queries at the time of purchase. If information related to telco products and services, terms and condition of usage, device specification, FAQs, client testimonial and feedback are presented clearly, it will give more clarity to the customers in their decision-making process.

Customer Web Portal: Unless telcos have deep pockets to appoint customer service agents to help their customers round the clock; the customers are more likely to face problems with their queries during non-business hours. This is when a self-care portal comes in handy, as the majority of customers prefer an online support tool rather than calling the customer service agent.

Mobile App: Mobile has become an indispensable companion for the majority of the people. With the increase in the proportion of customers getting connected, people expect better quality service. A user-friendly Mobile Self-care App enables the customer to manage their personal profile, subscriptions and data usage anywhere and anytime, ensuring customer satisfaction and reducing OPEX for operators. It also offers integration with third-party Payment Gateways that enables subscribers to make payments using their credit card, debit cards or net banking.

Kiosk: Kiosks can be placed in an operator store or at public places (Malls, Theatre, Colleges etc.) from where the customers can search for a product or service, recharge their account, make payment and check current without the help of any customer care executive.

Social Media: Social media has revolutionized the way we connect and interact with people. Almost all Telcos have their social media websites. Customers can view the features, know the latest offers, invite friends and initiate a conversation about the product. However, using social media as a self-care tool is yet to gain significant traction in the market. Once telcos view it as a self-care tool they can use it to accept and manage customer complaints, deliver information on service outages and create a feedback page which the new users can refer to.

What is the Way Forward?

With customers becoming more demanding, self-care is definitely one of the promising mediums that will revolutionize user experience and provide them complete control over their account usage. Only when the customer feels that they have total control over their mobile bill they increase their service usage, which in turn help operators increase revenue and reduce customer churn.

Sterlite Tech’s Digital Commerce and Customer Management (DCCM) platform seamlessly digitize each interaction and every engagement of operators, its customers and partners. The customer-centric platform is tailored specifically for operators with complete selling, marketing, monetization, revenue management, billing and self-care capabilities, and it also enables them to monetize their services via every touch point, channel and device.

FAQs

What is WiFi?

Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

An optical fibre cable is a cable type that has a few to hundreds of optical fibres bundled together within a protective plastic coating. They help carry digital data in the form of light pulses across large distances at faster speeds. For this, they need to be installed or deployed either underground or aerially. Standalone fibres cannot be buried or hanged so fibres are bunched together as cables for the transmission of data.

This is done to protect the fibre from stress, moisture, temperature changes and other externalities. There are three main components of a optical fibre cable, core (It carries the light and is made of pure silicon dioxide (SiO2) with dopants such as germania, phosphorous pentoxide, or alumina to raise the refractive index; Typical glass cores range from as small as 3.7um up to 200um), Cladding (Cladding surrounds the core and has a lower refractive index than the core, it is also made from the same material as the core; 1% refractive index difference is maintained between the core and cladding; Two commonly used diameters are 125µm and 140µm) and Coating (Protective layer that absorbs shocks, physical damage and moisture; The outside diameter of the coating is typically either 250µm or 500µm; Commonly used material for coatings are acrylate,Silicone, carbon, and polyimide).

An optical fibre cable is made up of the following components: Optical fibres – ranging from one to many. Buffer tubes (with different settings), for protection and cushioning of the fibre. Water protection in the tubes – wet or dry. A central strength member (CSM) is the backbone of all cables. Armoured tapes for stranding to bunch the buffer tubes and strength members together. Sheathing or final covering to provide further protection.

The five main reasons that make this technology innovation disruptive are fast communication speed, infinite bandwidth & capacity, low interference, high tensile strength and secure communication. The major usescases of optical fibre cables include intenet connectivity, computer networking, surgery & dentistry, automotive industry, telephony, lighting & decorations, mechanical inspections, cable television, military applications and space.

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