Scale and Personalize Telco Experiences with AI

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3 minute read

Conversational AI-powered customer care can help providers differentiate in an increasingly competitive market.

Telcos play a critical role in uniting our global community and allowing us to function in our day-to-day lives through stable and strong connections for work and play. Ironically, given their undeniable importance in keeping us connected, telco customers don’t feel particularly connected themselves to their providers, as offerings become commoditized and increasingly similar. This is putting growing pressure on telcos to distinguish competitively, and maintain and grow a loyal customer base.

As with many industries today, customer loyalty in the telco sector is rapidly declining. People who have for years, even decades, relied on one provider are quick to look elsewhere if they are dissatisfied with their customer experiences. Telcos are also dealing with the depleting reliance on home-based telco services, as people are spending more time post-pandemic outside — working from offices in a full-time or hybrid capacity, returning to in-person learning, and going out more often for meals and entertainment.

Couple this behavioral shift with the ongoing rise in cost-of-living expenses and many consumers are prepared to scale back services to save money. According to EY, consumers today want to downsize their “digital world… more than half of households [are] concerned that their broadband provider (60%) and TV provider (55%) will increase monthly subscription rates.”

Our reliance on telco services is not changing, but these market forces indicate a pressing need for providers to stand out as customers grow increasingly selective with their telco choices. One key for telcos is to prioritize personalized customer experiences. A recent report from McKinsey points out that “individual customer experience” is now the main source of differentiation for today’s operators and makes the valid argument that “competing on price” for heavily commoditized services is no longer a sustainable solution for the industry.

Personalizing telco services is critical to create lasting customer relationships and entice new buyers. And the returns on this personalization are potentially immense. According to a separate report from McKinsey, excelling at personalized services generates “40 percent more revenue than average players” for companies in all industries. For the “saturated, highly competitive” telco industry in particular, the firm states that creating personalized user experiences at scale, in particular, will be key for future growth.

Personalization Cuts Complexity

Given the complexity of telco services, today's customers prefer speaking with human call center agents or speaking with in-store employees for clarity and resolutions. While this certainly allows for personalized care, as agents can search databases to offer up-to-date and individualized support during customer interactions, it’s not scalable or cost-efficient. In fact, relying entirely on human employees for customer service has led to increased wait times and frustrated customers across industries (exhibit number one: airlines). With telco customer behaviors and concerns being as they are today, providers simply need a better way forward.

To alleviate pressures on call centers and in-person customer service channels, many organizations have deployed solutions such as basic chatbots and IVRs. However, these offerings struggle to deliver personalized care due to their limited integration capabilities, and often deliver more headaches than resolutions.

Conversational AI-powered digital agents, on the other hand, integrate with enterprise back-end systems and databases to support customers with accurate and individualized care. Since digital agents like Amelia work around-the-clock and scale to match demand, deploying the technology enables telcos to provide every customer with immediate, personalized experiences.

For example, if a customer notices a discrepancy on their internet bill, instead of waiting 30 minutes or more in a phone queue, they would call (or text) Amelia directly for immediate service. Amelia can then tap into the customer’s profile, plan and bill history, as well as any service changes, to determine the cause of the discrepancy. After determining it was an error, Amelia could automatically update the bill for the customer and within the company’s back-end systems.

Months later, if that same customer wants to know about upgrading to the latest iPhone, they would be able to open a chat with Amelia via web or mobile app for guidance, instead of manually navigating a telco’s website. Based on the customer’s current plan and purchase installment progress, Amelia can provide exact details for how much an upgrade would affect their monthly bill. Not only would this experience be easier and more efficient than scouring a website for answers, customers would also receive support that feels perfectly tailored to their needs and circumstances. Amelia also recalls past interactions, so she could inquire whether the customer has experienced any additional billing discrepancies since their previous encounter, adding an extra layer of personalization.

The telco industry has arrived at a critical juncture — customer loyalty and demand are waning, and competition is increasing — so providers must take action now. By joining the growing roster of companies driving immense value with Conversational AI, telcos can stand out from the crowd with personalized customer experiences at AI speed and scale.

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The AI-Powered Telco

AI investments in the telco sector are predicted to reach $36.7 billion annually by 2025. How organizations apply these resources will dramatically alter the way their businesses operate, with immense changes in customer care, employee-facing services, sales and more.

In this white paper, we detail how telco providers are employing Intelligent Automation and Conversational AI solutions to improve operations and customer experiences. We also provide real-life examples of AI technologies making a difference for today’s leading telcos.

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