The Future of Communications B2B Services: How to Deliver a Frictionless Customer Experience

Woman using tablet computer.
The most successful CSPs are implementing customer-centric systems that enable an omni-channel approach to ensure every customer promise is fulfilled on their terms.

When doing an autopsy on the failed mega-merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, there’s no denying that customer service complaints from Comcast consumers helped sink the deal. Not only were there concerns on the retail side, but Comcast Business did not fare much better. Last year, JD power ranked Comcast among the lowest in customer satisfaction for large businesses. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has been very public about refocusing the company on improving the customer experience (and I applaud him for that).

Communications Service Providers like Comcast that are delivering business services need to focus putting the needs of the customer first. Pega discovered this key takeaway in a B2B buyer survey that we recently commissioned with Vanson Bourne, in which 280 ICT enterprise buyers were polled. The survey revealed three common symptoms contribute to a deficiency in providing customer service.

1. “Customer Service Roulette”

Customers need to be free from navigating various channels such as call center and website to perform different service actions. The survey revealed that 70% of buyers expressed issues with technical support from their current provider. There is nothing more frustrating than explaining a problem to a customer service agent, then discovering that you need to go to the website, or call your account representative to get your problem solved. Sales and customer service teams need to empower customers to connect however they prefer.

2. “Where’s my order?”

Customers need reassurance that their requests are being fulfilled. According to the survey, 93% of US respondents said it was important to have an end-to-end visibility into their order status. However CSPs are siloed organizations and have product offerings that span several of systems. Orders are frequently lost or blocked, and the customer is not notified. When the customer calls to get an update, customer service agents need to cherry pick order statuses from all the different systems to give a straight answer. Customer-centric CSPs track their order statuses proactively and manage them to SLAs to keep their commitments to their customers. As a result, customers have end-to-end visibility and are updated digitally based on their preferences.

3. “Why is my service not available yet?”

Customer expectations are higher than ever, thanks to digital natives like Amazon, who can deliver cloud services instantly. Customers are unwilling to accept delays of 60-90 days for a service because the building does not have fiber optic available. According to the survey, only one out of three buyers say that their recent service was delivered quickly. Customer-centric CSPs have the off-net partner agreements to deliver with speed and precision. These agreements are supported by a system integration that allows visibility into orders, product catalog and corresponding SLAs, so CSPs can deliver with confidence.

I’m sure the business schools will write many case studies on the failed merger of Comcast and Time Warner. The more noteworthy ones will point to the perils of poor customer service as a key contributing factor. Don’t risk the future of your business; delivering a frictionless customer experience is the first essential in making B2B simpler for telecoms and cable companies.


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