Best-in-class brands are outshining operators in an age defined by digitization.
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By Teemu Salmi, Head of IT and Cloud, Ericsson, Region Middle East

Cairo Aug 10,2016

Emerging digital disruptors like Netflix and Amazon offer customers a hassle free online experience; one that is often intuitive and ubiquitous. While telecom operators have generally scored favorably when it comes to measuring customer satisfaction, new data suggests that the tides are turning as more consumers grow to expect what is known as the “one-click” customer experience—that is, the ideal of a frictionless customer journey in which buying online is simple and easy.

The digitization of the world is permeating even the most traditional aspects of our lives on an individual and a corporate level. This has led to increased competition, not only within industries, but across them, too, as consumer habits change and an increasing number of digital disruptors emerge. Today, the customer journey has become increasingly digitalized, meaning that new points of contact—or ‘touchpoints’—have been added. Because of this, companies have become more accessible to consumers, and activities that have traditionally been performed by phone or in stores are being reinvented digitally. This transition has led consumers to change the way they shop in favor of convenience.

A recent ConsumerLab report by Ericsson investigated the growing interest for a one-click experience. It found that consumers want an omnichannel experience: a majority of respondents agreed that offering better online tools would increase overall favorability towards a provider, and a seamless experience of channels was among the top five features of the ideal customer journey.

Around half of respondents reported that they do most or all of their interactions with operators online—and this number may grow with the ever-increasing presence of online access. Additionally, when respondents were asked to compare best-in-class brands in the creation of digital experiences (such as Amazon, Netflix, and Alipay) with operators, the brands outperformed operators in responses about whether they make life easier, provide an easy and hassle-free experience, and offer the best online experience.

The challenge for operators depends on their ability to improve the customer journey with a better digital experience. Ericsson reports that the one-click ideal, excellent customer service, and proactivity are among the top five drivers of brand satisfaction, but less than half of consumers associate their operator with these drivers.

However, with regard to overall customer satisfaction levels and expectations, operators appear to be performing well. The majority of consumers state that they are satisfied with their experience and their interactions with their operator. For example, in e-commerce transactions, 80 percent of consumers prefer to pay via their operator rather than use a credit card. This is due to the trusted billing relationship that customers have with their operators, one-click convenience (with no log-on required) and no dependency on an existing banking relationship.

But there is still room for significant improvement within the customer journey. In describing their expectations of an operator, how well the operator performs in relation to best-in-class brands, and how many associate their operator with top drivers of brand satisfaction, consumers have made it clear that the brands are still winning. The one-click ideal is representative of consumer demands and needs when it comes to digital interfaces as well as the consumer’s desire for their operator to take a more active role in synchronizing the entire customer journey. This challenge, although difficult to overcome, is becoming undoubtedly necessary to resolve in order for operators to keep pace with consumer expectations in an increasingly digitized world.

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