By: Sanjay Kumar
The Intimate Customer-Provider Relationship
Today’s service model has shifted. It has shifted from an infrastructure or network-based service model to a personalized and customer-centric service experience that incorporates a combination of services, devices, and applications. As a result, customers’ expectations now incorporate much more than the connectivity itself. Customers expect a positive experience, consistent quality of service, and a similar service experience across mixed network, to multiple devices, for a multitude of service and application combinations.
Today’s customers are also depending on their services for work, education, financial, entertainment, family, and social endeavors. Customers are now, more than ever, counting on their service providers to deliver services accurately and consistently and, there is a growing expectation that service providers are responsible for removing the technical obstacles and procedural annoyances that can tarnish the customer experience.
This evolution of services has led to a transformation in the traditional customer relationship. The operator is no longer a utility, but a literal provider of services, devices, and applications. In many cases, a single service provider can provide all the entertainment, communications, and mobile services for a single individual, family, or business. This unique customer-provider relationship puts the service provider in a remarkable and very unique position; a position that may significantly distinguish them from their competition.
Service providers are in the unique position to understand and know their customer on a level more intimate than even some of the customer’s closest friends and family. At any given time, service providers have access to an incredible amount of customer information such as the customer’s entertainment choices, service preferences, location, downloads, interests, lifestyle choices, customer profile, and billing information. This close, customer-provider relationship can give the service provider unique visibility into their customers which they can use to customize their services and proactively manage potentially negative issues that may impact customers’ service experience. What service providers do, or don’t do, with this information and can make or break their relationship with the customer, distinguish them from over-the-top (OTT) providers, and even go so far as to perpetuate a positive (or negative) brand perception if ignored altogether. However, if this information and perspective are properly and proactively managed, it can create a very positive customer experience and form a special bond between provider and customer.
Improving the Customer Experience
All relationships tend to flourish when properly nourished and disintegrate if neglected. The customer-provider relationship is no different. The ability to efficiently manage the wealth of customer information to create and automate positive customer touch-points may make all the difference in the world. If nothing else, simply avoiding the pitfalls that lead to customer churn can be easily attained by a proactive customer experience strategy.