‘Self-service first’ is a winning mindset

‘Self-service first’ is a winning mindset

When I landed at Warsaw airport this summer, I bought myself a local SIM card from a Polish carrier store. But only after I bought it did the salesman tell me the network had been down since the morning. This really stressed me out. I was totally reliant on Waze and couldn’t start my drive to my destination without a data package.

Feeling very frustrated, I looked at my home service provider’s app to check the cost of an international data package. To my delight, there was an option to activate a data package from abroad right from the app! I subscribed, and within seconds was connected to the world again.

So self-service saved my summer vacation and showed how it has developed from a very basic tool into a true business enabler, making customers satisfied with their experience. This is the gist of the “self-service first” mindset, that can drive new digital service sales.

Until recently, the main motivation behind communications service providers’ investment in self-service channels was to cut down call center costs. The math was pretty convincing: even the simplest self-service tools, which quickly addressed customer common support needs such as viewing bill history and recent payments, significantly reduced field visits and call center calls. In 2016, for example, after launching self-service mobile apps, Telefonica Argentina showed 22% fewer field visits and 16% fewer support calls. Telstra improved its self-resolution rates by 50% and reduced field visits by 27%, and AT&T was able to reduce help desk calls by 75% (source: 451 research).

Encouraged by this promising ROI, service providers kept investing in an increasingly better self-serve product experience, which is now embedded in many service provider native apps. On their journey to transform into digital service providers, they are now gradually starting to examine every customer touchpoint and put deep thought into how to simplify, streamline, and edit the various customer flows to help customers explore their account history, upgrade their media and entertainment packages, purchase devices or accessories, or top up their data plans quickly and efficiently.

Recent research shows impressive results following the implementation of self-service channels. According to TM Forum, between 2017-2018, most service providers saw a steady increase in the Self Service native app usage by its customers. T-Mobile enjoyed an increase of 27% in mobile app visits, and MTN and Singtel almost doubled the number of mobile app downloads. In terms of cost reduction and revenue growth, Etisalat has seen a 15% reduction in customer care calls, Singtel reduced call center calls by 13%, and Optus grew its sales through its mobile app by 20%.

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What’s next?

As service providers move towards new consumer offerings, content, OTT applications, commerce and enterprise services, the need to sustain excellent communications channels that, in addition to self-service and support, will become the key vehicle to market these offerings, is critical. Websites and native mobile apps and the valuable data accumulated by them enable service providers to learn about customers and translate this data into highly targeted campaigns and loyalty programs offering personalized packages, products and services.

The equation is clear: the more service providers make it easy to buy from and do business with, the more people buy from them. It’s as simple as that.

Come see us at CEM for Telecom in Prague where we will demonstrate how Amdocs Optima, whose latest version becomes generally available this month, enables innovative service providers to offer digital services through great self-service, or contact us to learn more.