There’s no question that the impact of COVID-19 on all industries is widespread. The telecommunications industry is no exception. With the increased prevalence of stay at home and work from home policies, consumer telecommunication usage is stronger than ever. Customers are using technology in new and different ways, and their expectations and demands have changed as a result. How can those in the industry survive this paradigm shift, and ideally come out stronger and more well positioned? Here are four Voice of the Customer research trends that those in telecommunication can’t afford to ignore:
- Customer needs are changing
When we think about Voice of the Customer, the systematic identification and understanding of your customers’ needs or jobs to be done, we typically say that needs don’t change at a rapid pace. The shelf life for Voice of the Customer needs identification research usually falls within the range of 3-5 years. The exception is when a major event occurs that substantially alters the way we live. COVID-19 is an example of this. In the telecom industry, customer needs are greatly changing due to more and more customers staying home. Some examples include:
- The need for streamlined, secure and functional video conferencing
- The need to accommodate even more devices on a single connection (work from home, remote learning, etc)
- Increased access to streaming services, even for the release of straight to television movies
If needs are changing, we must fully understand the depth and breadth of those changes in order to develop new and effective offerings, optimize the customer experience and speak to our customers in a way that resonates.
- Need priority is changing
In addition to a change in the type of needs our customers have, the priority or importance they place on those needs is changing. Needs that were previously “nice to have” are now critical purchase drivers for many segments. An example of this is the importance customers may place on bandwidth. While this was “nice to have” in the past, the new demands of remote learning and work from home have transformed this into a high priority need. Another example is the priority of streaming content. This has become even more important as more household members remain at home.
It is absolutely critical to understand the shift in importance of both new and emerging needs in order to innovate.
- Competition is increasing
Given the changing landscape, companies are already beginning to shift and innovate. Competition is increasing because many companies are recognizing the opportunity to enter the industry. They recognize the opportunity to delight customers with things like superior video conferencing and streaming. It’s important to remain diligent on new entrants and substitutes in the market, particularly as customer needs and occasions to use telecom services are changing.
- Customer experience matters
The customer experience your brand provides is what customers will remember for years to come. It’s no secret that customer satisfaction with companies in the telecommunication industry generally trends on the lower side as compared to other service industries. Now, more than ever, it’s important to treat customers well. Customers will remember how they were treated during this time of transition. Paying attention to experience now will maximize the opportunity to keep loyal customers and attract new ones as well.
The most successful companies understand the market’s critical unmet needs and use them to inform future product development. Voice of the Customer research allows you to do this and stay ahead of the curve. Consider conducting systematic and in-depth customer interviews to dig deep and understand customer needs and jobs to be done. These interviews can be done over the telephone or through the use of video conference. There is also a wealth of information online and in existing customer verbatims from call centers, chat bots and customer satisfaction surveys. This information can be compiled and mined using AI market research to uncover critical needs for innovation.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to listen to the changing needs of telecommunication customers. Learn how our professional training and coaching team can help you implement effective market research strategies.