87% of shoppers begin their search for a product online. Digital channels play a big role in telecommunications product discovery and information-gathering. With the customer journey mostly occurring online, the potential for sales via digital outreach channels and purchase points is immense. The question is, how can telecom companies capture the potential of online customers to increase online conversion?
Digital assistance holds the clue
77% of telecom customers demand more human interactions online. Real-time assistance is an important factor when it comes to choosing a network provider online.
Buying telecom products and bundles is not straightforward. Consumers need to know exactly what they’re paying for. This complexity requires greater brand-to-consumer interactions that facilitate a clear understanding of products and offers.
The opportunity here lies in providing the information consumers seek in making an informed purchase decision. The challenge is to deliver an efficient assisted sales experience online, one that does not place undue demands on sales or call center agents.
Are automated bots the answer?
Not really. Complex offerings call for discussions and Q&As with company representatives who know more than what potential customers already do. The conversations need to provide consumers value; although sales is the ultimate goal, online dialogue can promote a better understanding of the company and its unique selling proposition, and this familiarity can contribute to greater brand trust.
Automated bots are able to answer generic, frequently posed questions. They cannot conduct seamless conversations supporting a frictionless buyer journey. Simple automated bots are not particularly conversational or engaging.
Poor sales conversations often involve vague back-and-forth about product offerings between consumer and company rather than a talk about specific products. When disconnected from product offerings, these conversations seldom lead to conversions, while increasing the cost of doing business. Quality digital assistance does not always promise a sale, but it makes the most of the opportunity to gain insights from customers.
Why Conversational Sales works
The online buying journey for the average telco consumer can be smoother if the company can go beyond simple question and answer interactions. Conversational sales increase the capacity for interaction by providing comprehensive consumer support. Here are some ways in which a conversational sales platform enriches the buyer journey and supports sales goals:
The consumer has a question about telecom terminology they cannot figure out in a broadband plan. The answer required is a definition of that term and an example of its usage through a hypothetical example. A conversational agent can immediately make a PDF containing the definition available to the consumer or ask if they would like to speak to a sales agent. In the absence of real-time assistance, the customer would either need to conduct a separate Google search or try to locate the answer in the company’s FAQ page. Assisted sales saves time, removes confusions quickly and empowers the consumer with the information they need to decide whether or not a particular product suits their needs. That’s not all; if the product is found to be ill-suited to the consumer’s needs, they will feel encouraged to continue researching offerings from the same brand to see if there is something else they can try.
The consumer has done their research on third-party review sites and the company website. There is a growing trend of telco consumers looking to take care of business themselves. Situations where existing customers want to upgrade or change their mobile data plan, or switch providers may need only minimal sales assistance. A conversational agent that is programmed with rich, tailored information can lead the consumer in a targeted manner. By delivering a higher quality of interaction, Conversational Sales can give consumers or existing customers confidence to make good on their decision. In the absence of clarity, they may hesitate to take swift action or put it off to another day. Depending on the situation, it could mean losing out on a sale or attracting a negative
Sometimes, consumers want to get a salesperson on the line and have a more traditional product conversation. For a telecom company, this means getting in touch with a call center agent. And though that effort is small, it originates at the consumer. In the face of increasing demand for easier brand interactions, telco companies can deliver better service by simply being the first to begin the conversation with the customer. This gesture goes a long way in creating the right perceptions about the brand being customer-oriented and caring. By entrenching positive sentiments, telecom companies have to do less work in convincing consumers to consider their offerings or convincing them to try their products in upcoming, competitive spaces such as 5G connectivity.
Conversational assistance online will be appreciated by digital-first consumers who prefer VoIP calls to learn about a product. Maybe they would first like to view a real-time video about the offering and then switch to a call with the sales agent to finalize the purchase. Assisted sales presents these options seamlessly, just as a trained human sales agent would. By ensuring that consumers with purchase intent view the right demos and connect to the most appropriate company representative, an assisted sales platform can boost chances of converting quality prospects into paying customers.
As telco companies create converging online and offline channels for dynamic, accessible and continuous decision-making, assisted sales will boost the sales efficiency of physical outlets.
Does conversational assistance = thin margins?
For telcos, a conversational sales platform can not only boost revenue – justifying the investment in the system – but also make the purchase journey across physical and digital, as well as brand conversations streamlined and seamless, optimizing opportunity cost – the ratio of what the company is sacrificing versus what it is gaining, such as time and user satisfaction.
Assisted sales is the way forward in the competitive telecom industry seeking to digitize and improve the customer journey. A conversational sales platform will enable telecom companies to convey a customer-oriented image and serve as a revenue booster, strengthening competitive advantage and brand confidence.