New Approaches to Digital B2C Sales in the Telecommunications Sector
Telcos in the 21st century already know that they need to adopt holistic, customer-centric business models to remain competitive. With more than five billion mobile users globally, pre and post-sales processes need equal attention in order to deliver high-level customer experience, and NSP (net promoter score) has become more important than ever.
One way in which operators are addressing the challenges of digitization in B2C operations is to embrace new business models, for example by bundling digital and telco services to simplify billing (“one invoice, one payment”). Other methods include deploying automation solutions to optimize business processes, and shifting away from under-performing siloed physical networks to cloud and microservice-based OSS/BSS.
Virtual assistants (chatbots) and robotic process automation (RPA) in particular are playing major roles in the development of B2C models for today’s telecoms
Artificial intelligence and machine learning with enhanced natural language capabilities are expected to further develop telcos’ ability to enhance customer service (and therefore customer satisfaction) through the use of chatbots. Some of the biggest players already have such virtual assistants in place – Orange’s Django, Deutsche Telekom’s Tinka (Austria) and Digital Service Assistant (Germany), Play’s Danny and Vodafone’s ToBi are all great examples. They all utilize knowledge bases and FAQs to a certain extent, but ToBi is already going a step further with impressive results.
According to Vodafone itself, ToBi is actively engaged in the sale of services and physical devices (handsets, at the moment). Bearing in mind that hardware sales are complicated by the various instalment plans available, it’s worth noting that ToBi sales deliver a 100% conversion rate compared to the traditional website. In addition, transactions via ToBi take half the time, and far fewer potential buyers abandon the process once they have begun a purchase. From the customer perspective, ToBi is extremely user-friendly, scoring 90 out of 100 in usability rankings and receiving an NPS of more than 65 (which is very close to contact center scores).
Results like this clearly show the benefits of chatbots in digital sales and customer satisfaction levels
They should also prompt telcos to go further down the business process automation line, with particular focus on robotic process automation.
RPA is well-suited to the telecommunications sector, as it streamlines the execution of repetitive, rule-based processes that might include aspects of digital sales and service such as processing and validating orders, responding to customer questions, price tracking, and more.
As in the field of chatbots, RPA take-up looks set to rise in the very near future. Grand View Research, for example, predicts continued growth until at least 2024, with the telecommunications sector leading the way.
(1) Econsultancy: Ben Davis, Vodafone’s chatbot is delivering double the conversion rate of its website, 2018
(2) Grand View Research, Robotic Process Automation Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Type (Software, Service), By Application (BFSI, Retail), By Organization, By Service, By Deployment, And Segment Forecasts, 2020