Arka Dhar

Mar 22, 2019

Keeping Pace With Rising Customer Expectations

It’s a beautiful Friday morning – one of the first days of sun after months of cold – and you’re getting some remote work done in the backyard when the internet goes out. You go through the motions, disconnect and reconnect, unplug and replug, to no avail. You don’t have time to call a technician – you know you’ll likely be put on hold, and who knows if it’s the router or the wires outside that are at fault. So, to avoid dealing with it, you head to a coffee shop, temporarily ignoring that the problem will continue into the weekend.

High tech, higher expectations

As much as we tell ourselves that ‘these things happen’, the reality is that our expectations around the speed and quality of service have increased – and rightfully so. Today’s world is a busy one, and with more technology comes more things to keep track of. We don’t have the time to wait for things to get fixed, and when we have to, the opportunity costs are higher. As technologies get newer and smarter, we expect their timeliness, reliability, and visibility to increase as well.

Today’s buyer’s journey is a complex, multi-step process – so when things break, we notice. And when we’re comparing similar technologies, customer experience is fast overtaking price and product as the key differentiator. Companies that don’t invest in delivering meaningful customer service are much more likely to experience churn: according to a recent survey, 71% of customers reported that they especially valued timeliness as part of a service.

This is especially true for telecoms: increased competition has leveled out pricing across providers, causing us to pay even more attention to quality of service when a problem occurs. More often than not, we dread having to call someone to check on or replace that router and when all goes smoothly, we actually feel surprised.

Driving technician enablement with smarter tools

Imagine if every time you worked with a service rep, she arrived on time, was equipped with the right parts and tools, and finished the job completely the first time around. Think of the time you’d save if technicians always showed up prepared and equipped with a knowledge of your unique history as a customer. Further, with more intelligent scheduling within a smaller appointment window, you’d eliminate any need for follow-up calls or rescheduled visits. If you knew the issue would be resolved without any additional roadblocks, you wouldn’t put off making that call about your router. Today’s mobile apps are equipped to provide technicians with up-to-date information they need about their customers – on hand and on-site.

Thankfully, because of the monumental strides made by ML and AI to make our systems smarter, telecom companies are heading in a direction where there are no breakdowns or outages in the first place: today’s telecoms are looking for 99.95% asset uptime.

One driver of this movement is the push for predictive maintenance: this is when machines solve problems before they occur. As processes exist today, annualized site visits aren’t thorough or frequent enough to identify those problems or catch their early warning signs. Telecoms need to empower their tools with knowledge that helps them take predictive maintenance a step further. Using AI to look at historical data, or installing sensor-equipped devices to monitor real-time health of equipment and external factors (such as the temperature in a room) are just a few examples. More and more telecoms today are choosing to prioritize the delivery of an intelligent customer support experience, and your telecom company is likely already headed in that direction.

The push for predictive maintenance

Zinier’s intelligent automation platform can automatically trigger these preventative maintenance workflows, such as increasing fan speed to lower the temperature in a room, or proactively replacing a fuse based on historical data and technician availability. The translation of pen-and-paper processes into tech is no longer enough: back office processes to take preventative measures, even when digitized, still take time away from meaningful work that has more long-term impact.

As more telecoms empower their field force with smarter tools, you can expect to see a wave of streamlined operations and touchless field service, freeing you to spend more time enjoying your sunny Fridays outside and not checking your phone every few minutes to see just how much longer you have to wait for your internet to get fixed.

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