The numbers are in, and customer loyalty to telco providers is down 22% from 2019 numbers.
So, let’s ask the billion-dollar question (because that’s at least how much it’s costing the industry each year): why is this happening?
One of the main reasons is dissatisfaction with service quality, cited by 59% of subscribers as the reason for their churn. But to make the catch-all answer of “dissatisfied customers” more actionable, let’s break it down and discuss the top three drivers for churn in telco and understand what CSPs can do to make a difference.
1. Unsatisfactory Customer Care
The connected home has never been more complex. Customer care teams are tasked with monitoring and managing a sophisticated home topology with a wide range of apps and devices. There are many things that can go wrong, all of which customer care teams are expected to solve, without much visibility in place. As a result, they tend to offer generic resolution recommendations, regularly those that a savvy subscriber may have tried already. Does “try turning the router on and off again” sound familiar?
There’s nothing that frustrates a subscriber more than having their time wasted. Optimizing customer care means:
• Supporting smarter omnichannel communication so that subscribers don’t need to repeat themselves.
• Reducing average handling time (AHT) to get problems fixed faster.
• Improving first call resolution (FCR) by offering a personalized, white-glove experience to those who need to pick up the phone.
2. Poor Network Quality
Strong performance from demanding apps such as streaming, gaming and conferencing are critical to subscriber experience, especially post-pandemic, where users are relying on home connectivity more than ever for entertainment and work. Subscriber demand for a reliable connection is growing, and yet most networks fail to deliver. CSPs need to up their game in understanding and solving service degradation.
However, this may be easier said than done. Problems can arise from a wide range of sources, including network congestion from the service providers’ network, home Wi-Fi network saturation or even faulty CPE. Currently, most CSPs have limited ways to look at the network as a whole, and may not be able to identify where their own network issues are causing bottlenecks, and where other issues originate.
3. Low Barrier To Switching Providers
It’s never been easier for subscribers to switch to your competition. Even when problems aren’t chronic, the market is highly competitive, and as CSPs constantly onboard new initiatives to attract users, it’s tempting to make the move! This feeds into the issue of silent churn, where users switch providers without ever making a complaint. In some cases, there may be nothing wrong at all.
This gives a whole new meaning to customer retention. Rather than just solve service degradation or up your game with customer experience with package upgrades, discounts or free gifts, CSPs need to be proactive about providing an experience that’s difficult to walk away from.
Three Strategies To Tackle Churn
Contextual intelligence is the route to personalization, visibility and proactive care. CSPs should be using context to truly understand the subscriber experience, and thereby tackle all three of the top drivers of churn in telco.
Augmented Customer Care With Data Analytics
According to McKinsey Research: “While operators may already collect many forms of data, much of it is underutilized or fragmented. What has been used has been largely focused on sales and retention, rather than holistic CX improvement.”
With advanced data analytics, CSPs can get an accurate metric that uncovers the contextual quality of experience of each home, taking into account the specific applications and devices in use. This score can serve as both a qualitative and quantitative metric of user experience, a complete view that hasn’t been available until now.
How granular can you get when accurately identifying specific apps, device series and specific models? Any risk of false identification can lead to the wrong mitigation approach, adding to frustration rather than relieving it. Consider going up a level with your data, so if you’re not certain that it’s HBO, provide advice based on a streaming app more generically, or if you can’t be sure it’s an iPhone 14 Pro, work on the basis that it’s an iPhone.
Added Visibility And Network Intelligence
Home network visibility has not been a priority until now for many CSPs, but today, poor network quality is one of the top reasons for churn. By gaining end-to-end network visibility of the specific home network and its connections, CSPs can identify bottlenecks at the earliest possible stages. Combining this with root-cause analysis and auto-resolution, efficiency can be increased exponentially when handling service degradation.
For this approach to be effective, AI and ML engines need to be up to date. It’s critical to continually follow up on any changes to the way applications are architected, keeping a view on the number of connections in use simultaneously, what type of connections they are and how they use the LAN and WAN networks.
Proactive Outreach And Care
You can’t reduce churn down to zero, but you can identify the homes that need a bit of TLC. The right contextual data analytics gives you an eye in the sky to recognize which homes are “in the red zone” and most likely to churn. Then, proactive outreach and care can help these subscribers move the needle on customer satisfaction, whether they are likely to pick up the phone or not.
It can take trial and error to get your thresholds and alerts where you need them to be. Take the time to decide how you define a home in the red zone—including what constitutes a poor experience, how continually or regularly a problem must occur and whether it will relate to service calls or complaints.