Telcos can leverage AI for intelligent operations and a better customer experience. Source: Shutterstock

Telcos can leverage AI for intelligent operations and a better customer experience. Source: Shutterstock

How telcos can leverage AI to improve their customer’s experience

CUSTOMERS expect better experiences in the digital age, even from utility providers such as telecommunication companies (telcos). Unfortunately, in most countries, that expectation isn’t met.

According to a recent report, the net promoter score (NPS) of telcos is low, ranking significantly lower than industries in other peer groups such as retail and manufacturing.

Whilst progress has undoubtedly been made, telcos still lag behind. It is no wonder then, that telcos ranked customer experience (CX) at the top of their strategic improvement list for 2020.

To stay abreast, telcos need to up their game and gain an understanding of their customer base.

The telco industry collects and stores vast amounts of data every day. Data is precious and can provide valuable information if the right tools are used. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one such tool.

With AI-driven analytics, data can lead to insights that will radically transform the industry.

To help nurture and maintain existing relationships with customers, AI in the form of chatbots and virtual assistants can be leveraged.

Existing customers will have high expectations of their telco services, where they expect sophisticated capabilities provided through simple value propositions and customer support. Without AI, this is an expectation that is nearly impossible to meet.

For example, telcos get a large number of support requests for services like set-ups, installations, troubleshooting, and maintenance, every day. AI in the form of virtual assistants can sort these requests and provide the required responses in a short period of time.

Not only can it cut through the frustrating wait period typical of traditional customer service helplines, but it can also dramatically cut costs and improve customer satisfaction significantly — boosting the NPS.

Aside from chatbots and virtual assistants, robotic process automation (RPA) can also be used for the automation of customer service platforms, and for managing administrative tasks that would otherwise have to be done manually.

One of the best ways to give customers what they want is to ensure that services run seamlessly. This can be done through predictive analytics, where data-driven insights help optimize network performance by anticipating equipment failure and proactively fixing it.

While the benefits of using AI to transform the experience provided by telcos is immediate, there are a  few things that telcos need to improve before they can use AI.

Most importantly, since AI is powered by data, the data that telcos collect need to be audited and simplified so that algorithms can make sense of them.

Next, steps must be taken to improve the real-time data capture processes, feeding the right data sets into the AI models as efficiently as possible.

Finally, the organization as a whole must be well equipped and ready to embrace this transformation. Employees must not be neglected on the journey to digital, as they are the backbone of the business.

At the end of the day, AI has significant potential when it comes to telcos — and although the journey may be a bit long — it holds the potential to transform the customer experience and boost the NPS across the industry.