Posted by: Renodis
There is a famous Rolling Stones song that contains the line “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” When looking at that line in the context of telecom customer service delivery, it seems to be the credo of most carriers these days – especially when you add the word “barely”. Yes, budgets are tight and staffing levels are low. Business customers can understand that, but that does not mean they have to accept poor customer service.
In today’s marketplace, there are more choices and options than ever before. Unfortunately, that does not seem to have fully registered with all the telecom providers. Many still operate in the mindset of “this is how it is” when it comes to servicing the customer. Rigid and tangled processes, some still driven from painful regulatory chokeholds, are used as an excuse to not change how they support their customers. The question is – what can we do about it?
Get What You Want From Telecom Customer Service: Avoid Sticker Shopping
Stop buying like we always have. Stop buying on up front price alone. What do we mean by “up front price”? Simply stated, it is the price listed at the bottom of your bill. We need to start looking at a bigger picture and applying that to our buying decisions, much like we do when we buy consumer goods. If you buy an automobile on sticker value alone, not taking into consideration things like consumer ratings, needed amenities, and use purpose, you will not be happy with your overall purchase and experience. If you buy taking all of these things into account, the “up front price” becomes a less determining factor. Don’t get me wrong, price is important. Negotiating a good deal is paramount to the end result, but should not be the single most validating bullet point when making your decision.
Get What You Want From Telecom Customer Service: Understand Your Top 3 Business Requirements
Business decision makers need to determine, and take into consideration, the top 3 things that are bottom line important to their business needs. To some, it may be reliability, security and diversity. Others may look at scalability of their overall network plan, service location availability, and disaster recovery options. Whatever those top 3 things are, they should be the determining factor in the direction you take when choosing a telecommunication provider. The top 3 should always be addressed first and foremost when discussing contract options, service and support levels, and yes, price. A decision framework will help evaluation from a quantitative and qualitative approach.
Get What You Want From Telecom Customer Service: Require On-going Sales and Service Delivery Accountability
Once you have shopped a couple of carriers/ providers based on needs vs. wants, and communicated clearly what your business requirements are, sit down with the potential teams and outline an expected service delivery plan. Detail out, in writing, what the expected response times will be for the following:
- Price quotes
- Contract review
- Move, Add, Change, Disconnect Orders (MACD)
- SLA monitoring
- Billing issues
Clarify which parts of the support arrangement are proactive vs. reactive. What specifically will they do for you? What won’t they do for you? Request deliverables. If anyone will not commit to this type of activity, it is pretty telling that they will most likely not commit to supporting you in the manner discussed before the contract was signed.
Get What You Want From Telecom Customer Service: The Results
As I said, there is enough competition out there for businesses to demand what they want, not just let carriers tell them they need. The key to making that happen is engaging in experienced, knowledgeable, up-front negotiation based on the factors above, not just the “up front price”. Signing (or re-signing) on the dotted line should always be the reward of a providers commitment to an on-going partnership of mutually agreed upon deliverables. That gets the results that are wanted, needed, and deserved.
Melanie Mortensen is a recognized expert in telecommunications thought leadership and Service Delivery Manager for Renodis Telecom Management.