About 50% mobile operators globally offer online channels for customer service. However, only about 3% of customers use an online channel each month for service. While on average 6% of the total customer base of an operator calls the call center every month. According to a study by McKinsey, operators that excel at online customer support see customer satisfaction increase with 33% and decrease call center traffic with 25-30%. Their high-level advice: make targeted investments, continuously optimize the multichannel experience and support a detailed strategy.


Why online customer service channels fail 

Although the benefits of digitizing customer care are significant, it is often challenging for mobile operators to develop and implement profitable online customer service. By understanding the root causes of customer behaviour, operators can develop an effective plan to migrate them to online customer service channels. In their research, McKinsey identified the following four primary reasons why customers are not adopting e-care faster:

1.   Poor digital experience

70% of all remote customer care interactions in the telecom industry are digital. However, the experience in most online channels does not match high customer expectations. And when customers find their issues are not resolved through online channels, they pick up the phone to call the call center.

2.   Unclear migration strategies

Many operators aren’t successfully migrating their customers to online channels. Fewer than 20% have a migration strategy with sufficient detail, but almost 60% have little or no migration budget and apply very basic migration initiatives at most.

3.   Fear of losing revenue

Many operators see upsell or cross-sell rates that are almost nine times higher across the call center than across digital channels. Therefore, they fear that migrating customers to online channels will result in losing revenues. So to create sponsorship across the operators’ organisation, a selfservice customer journey should include driving traffic to revenue drivers such as VAS and operator-owned OTT services. 

4.    Poor organization and operations

Fewer than 30% of operators have a dedicated online customer service team with direct reporting lines to top management while only 40% have clear online targets. Fewer than 15% are capable of tracking customer journeys across online channels and their effectiveness in resolving customer issues. This is felt by the customer, for example in click paths that do not lead them to problem resolution in a logical order. 

Making selfservice work

The research identified three critical factors for making online customer service work:

1.   Make targeted investments.

Top-performing operators know which channels customers prefer for each specific issue. They also make an analysis about which calls lead to upsell opportunities and which ones don’t and could move to online channels. These insights make a more selective, targeted investment approach possible for each support channel based on specific use cases.

2.   Continuously optimize the multichannel experience.

Top performers invest in designing and delivering good multichannel customer experiences. They implement detailed metrics that allow them to monitor customers’ cross-channel journeys to identify pain points and opportunities. These operators develop processes to make quick decisions and provide an up-to-date knowledge base to the front line so it can react rapidly to strengthen the overall experience.

3.   Support a detailed strategy.

Successful customer migrations to online channels start with clear top-management support and specific actions. Winning operators often put in place a single, cross-functional team with responsibility and authority for managing all aspects of the program, from marketing communications to internal process redesign to IT roadmap development.

Read full report here