Self-Service in Telecoms

Introduction

Self-Service Preferences

Telecom self-service solutions lets customers use digital solutions to make purchases and manage their services without having to visit a store or talk with another person.

Many of us already use self-service technologies in our every day lives, whether it’s shopping online, using a self-checkout cashier, or printing a boarding pass at an airport kiosk before a flight.

Self-service options are already preferred by many customers. According to research by TSIA 71% of shoppers prefer self-service, including 60% of Baby Boomers, 72% of Gen X, and 77% of millennials and Gen Z respondents.

TSIA also found a strong appetite for self-service across every global region, including EMEA (67%), APAC (71%), Central/South America (87%), and North America (69%).

Despite their global popularity, self-service experiences are not as mature in telecoms as they are in other industries. This gap became very obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pandemic’s Self-Service Era

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital shopping options exploded in popularity. In the face of gathering restrictions and stay at home orders, popping down to the store was no longer a viable option for many.

Because of this, many people got a taste for digital channels for the first time, and their preference hasn’t faded as stores reopened.

According to MarTech Series, 59% of consumers say the pandemic changed the way they interact with companies for the long-term.

And Gartner predicted that 85% of all customer interactions would happen via self-service digital interfaces by the end of 2020.

For telcos, the pandemic revealed how painful the lack of robust self-service experience can be. Where other retailers were able to rely on well-established digital shopping channels, many telcos were left scrambling to serve customers in new ways.

In Canada, Rogers quickly spun up their Pro On-the-Go service in select urban markets, offering device delivery using a mobile van. This is just one example of great innovations that telcos unveiled during this moment of great pressure, but the need for such services simultaneously underlines the overall lack of autonomous shopping experiences in the industry.

It’s clear that we have entered the golden age of self-service. To stay relevant, telcos must invest in self-service digital solutions so they can provide these in-demand shopping options to their customers.

Self-Service Solutions

There are three main types of self-service solutions that can benefit the telco industry: self-care apps, kiosks and collection lockers.

Self-Care Apps

Self-care apps are already common in the telecoms industry. The most basic apps let customers manage their services and pay bills. More advanced options let customers purchase new devices, SIMs, and accessories, as well as place pre-orders or orders for un-stocked items.

Self-care apps provide the following benefits:

• Customers can handle many enquiries on their own, which reduces store traffic.

• With fewer customers in-store, staff are free to focus on high value transactions instead of simple transactions.

• Integrated support tools mean customers make fewer support calls, reducing call centre volumes.

• Together, all of these changes drive down expenses.

Kiosks

Self-service isn’t just about apps. Kiosks are becoming incredibly popular, and for good reason. The most basic kiosks let customers manage their services, make bill payments, and top up their account. The most advanced units are like their own automated retail store; an integrated vending compartment can be used to securely dispense phones, and accessories. This type of setup lets telcos deliver an automated retail experience from anywhere.

Kiosks provide the following benefits:

• Customers can handle many enquiries on their own, which reduces store traffic.

• With fewer customers in-store, staffing levels can be optimized.

• Kiosks can be installed anywhere, allowing telcos to expand their footprint at a low cost.

• New retail partnership opportunities can be pursued, such as installing kiosks within a grocery chain for maximum exposure.

Collection Lockers

The last piece of the puzzle is collection lockers. These give customers another option for collecting purchases instead of having to visit a store, or getting their purchase shipped to them.

Collection lockers also play a valuable role in reverse logistics for quad play providers. Imagine being able to return a defective TV receiver to a locker and pick up a replacement that same day without needing to visit a store!

Collection lockers provide the following benefits:

• Customers can collect and drop off items on their own, which reduces store traffic.

• With fewer customers in-store, staffing levels can be optimized.

• Lockers can be installed anywhere, allowing telcos to expand their footprint at a low cost.

• New retail partnership opportunities can be pursued, such as installing lockers within a grocery chain for maximum exposure.

Watch Self-Care In Action

The following videos show how self-care solutions can be used in conjunction with each other to create a seamless customer experience.

Making Purchases

Instead of waiting at a store, Sherry and Jose are able to quickly purchase their new devices using a self-care app and vending kiosk.

Placing Pre-Orders

With a few quick taps, Anjali is able to pre-order her new device using her self-care app and arrange to pick it up from a collection locker.

Managing Services

Before his flight, Terrence is able to add a roaming package, and Celia skips the telco store lineup and makes a bill payment at a kiosk.

Returning Equipment

When his TV receiver breaks, Ray is able to swap it for a replacement at a nearby collection locker, so he doesn’t miss a second of his favourite show.

Key Reading

We have compiled several resources that provide more information on self-service solutions.

Telco’s Self-Service Future: 4 solutions that cut costs, boost profits and delight customers

This whitepaper examines how COVID-19 has changed telco retail and consumer shopping habits, the four essential self-service solutions and their ROI, and how telcos can completely fund their self-service investment by optimizing their retail estate. Read More >

5 Companies Who Are Doing Self-Service Right

Self-service options are the retail experiences of the future. In this blog, we examine 5 great examples of self-service, and the lessons that telcos can take from them. Read More >

The Do’s and Don’ts of Telecom Self-Service Solutions

Self-service channels have become a huge opportunity for telecoms amid the pandemic! Here’s our list of do’s and don’ts for including these solutions in your channel strategy. Read More >

The Top 8 Benefits of Digital Platforms

The telco industry is rife with complex infrastructure and poor customer experiences. In his latest blog, Will Gibson explores the 8 benefits of digital platforms and how they solve telcos’ pain points. Read More >

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