Turning help desk frustration into fresh savings

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Help desk frustration. Is there anything more universal in this tech-driven world? For many of us, the help desk means suffering through a grueling call, only to emerge with a less than satisfactory experience. Ask anyone. You won’t have to go far.

While we all might commiserate about the help desk as consumers, there is no denying the impact of these poor customer experiences on operators’ bottom lines. In our research, we have discovered that 89 per cent of customer churn is due to a poor customer experience (Source: Harris Interactive, 2011). The real truth of the matter is that fast and reliable networks can’t compete successfully without delivering outstanding customer experiences.

Operators are seeing this correlation and I am having more and more conversations with my customers about customer experience management. In the past few years I’ve seen the shift away from customer experience management as a buzzword to a real investment trend that positively impacts operators’ bottom line. In fact, many communications service providers are committed to spending money on customer experience initiatives, and assigning more senior executives to implement them. And interestingly enough, what often starts as a conversation around cost optimization, evolves into a conversation about improving customer satisfaction – while realizing cost savings at the same time.

This came out loud and clear last April during an Alcatel-Lucent event where operators from around the world came together to share best practices, experiences and ideas in the area of customer experience.

Sharing initiatives they had underway, self-service was a theme that echoed throughout the event. Started by younger consumers — who, much like myself, would rather do almost anything than call the help desk — self-service is a growing trend where users can quickly find a solution and implement it on their own. Many operators are taking advantage of this trend by designing and deploying intuitive and powerful self-service applications that put consumers in control. And it’s easy to see why.

One leading European operator shared the results of its PC-based troubleshooting application. What it found was that 88 per cent of the customers that used the application did not need to call the help desk. Instead, they resolved the issues themselves, when it was convenient for them.

What’s fantastic about this approach is it creates a win-win situation. For consumers, satisfaction with their operator improves because they can troubleshoot and resolve their own issues quickly with little or no interaction with help desks. Service providers see tangible bottom line results; in the case of this leading European operator, their yearly savings are in the millions of Euros.

Imagine, operators actually creating cost savings by eliminating a constant source of frustration for their customers —giving them a good reason not to make a call to the help desk.

Source : this blog post was initially featured on the official Broadband World Forum blog.

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