Why Are We Talking (Only) to Each Other About the Customer Experience?

The lines are beginning to blur between communications and other major service industries such as banking and healthcare, creating a seismic shift in our market which will have a profound impact on the growth of many Communications Service Providers (CSPs).  It is happening slowly, but this next wave of convergence will create new winners and, unfortunately, new losers.

Year after year we’ve watched as our industry receives poor marks in customer experience versus other service industry groups, yet CSPs continue to look primarily to each other for validation of customer experience strategies.  We go to the same conferences, we read the same publications, and we end up talking only to each other.  This myopic approach isn’t working.  It has created a narrow, dangerous perspective, and an environment where CSPs celebrate service that is ‘less bad’ than other CSPs.

CSPs must re-evaluate their approach to customer experience improvement.  Today’s consumers are increasingly more empowered and have heightened expectations of quality customer service.  Ask yourself – what customer is going to trust a CSP to manage a mobile wallet if they can’t even provide a consistent bill or properly configure email?

At Pega we see great examples of how service providers are tackling customer service challenges across a myriad of industries.  We work with several CSPs such as Vodafone, Orange, Time Warner Cable, and Deutsche Telekom. But we also work with leading companies in several other industries.  For example, today we’re helping TD Bank deliver superior cardholder service. We’re helping Heathrow airport streamline the customer journey, and we’re helping Ford create a customer-friendly warranty process. 

This broader, cross-industry perspective provides many insights, for example: despite a common communications industry theme, legacy technology DOES NOT hamper customer experience improvement.  Leaders in other industries (including the companies I mentioned above) face similar infrastructure challenges to those faced by CSPs: multiple acquired systems, disparate billing silos, hundreds of product catalogs.  Yet, they’ve found a way to improve customer experience.

It’s time for CSPs to measure the customer experience against the best in ANY industry, and it’s time for CSPs to look to other industries for customer experience innovation strategies.  Learning from customer experience leaders, regardless of what industry they are in, will ensure success as the next wave of convergence happens.  Future growth will depend on it.