Omnichannel in Telecommunication: is it the future of telco sales?
Telecommunication is one of the most exciting sectors when it comes to the importance and challenges of convergence, merging digital and physical channels. Being a sector that stands for continuous innovation, Telco companies cannot afford themselves to lag behind when it comes to becoming an omnichannel retailer.
Telco retail trends and the importance of convergence in sales
Telco is a product category where people use various channels before (and even during) making a purchase. Around half of customers have bought personal electronics in e-commerce in mature markets such as the United States.
But even if the purchase is not necessarily closed online, digital plays a huge role in Telecommunication product discovery and information gathering process. It is not that ‘clicks’ replace ‘bricks’, it should be seen as a complementary platform where customers turn to.
Nevertheless, many Telecommunication companies still manage their channels separately, which leads to a potential cannibalization between physical retail operations and online sales instead of a synergic cooperation. Customers not only may receive different offers or suggestions but they may also encounter a different kind of brand experience at different touch points.
This results in a bumpy, confusing shopping experience, which is very dangerous to business growth. Telco industry professionals claim that it is important to invest in improving the infrastructure and core products and services, but it is even more crucial to ensure that customers have a seamless omnichannel experience at all touch points.
In short, Telco companies need to redefine their relationship with customers, providing high-quality, reliable treatment. Omnichannel in Telecommunication reflects an appropriate response to the new customer-centric model that accepts the notion of a dynamic, accessible and continuous decision-making. It takes advantage of the Telco provider’s extensive knowledge of each customer and applies it to each interaction with that individual.
Therefore, the convergence of online and offline channels is key to differentiate a Telco brand and leverage the business potential of omnichannel customer interactions.
Omnichannel in Telecommunication is more than stores plus online sales
As mentioned before, the two main frontlines of Telecommunication retail, namely the physical stores and e-commerce operations have been separated for a long time.
Let’s see what has to change, taking a look at the stores first:
As the relationship between the Telco operator and the customer is changing and becomes more complex and multi-faceted, multiple brands are affecting the customer’s perception and wireless experience. To ensure long-term customer loyalty, traditional brick-and-mortar stores have to change, too. Traditionally it was only the venue of closing the sell and occasional re-visits in case of technical issues.
This means that most of the time, stores have stayed deserted during low-traffic business hours, wasting rent and resources. How can Telco companies improve the productivity of these stores whilst offering a great customer experience?
We will reveal it in the next chapter, but at first, let’s see what about online commerce:
So far, Telco companies have been trying to push their online conversion rates up with product and plan discovery tools such as configurators and calculators or smart recommendations.
Rich, tailored information holds essential value for the customers, yet it is much more powerful when provided by a live knowledgeable Telecommunication expert. (Remember that between forty and fifty percent of customers claim that getting personal assistance by a person while shopping online is the most important feature a website can offer.)
Implementing better online systems for businesses and consumers to add and remove services or seek answers reduces the load on call centers or sales representatives. These latter then become able to dedicate full attention to each customer opportunity, including their upselling and cross-selling potential. Paired with tools that allow them to show products and offers via co-browsing or video, they enable higher quality customer interactions that lead to better customer engagement.
New solutions for omnichannel in Telecommunication
After reviewing the two sides of Telco retail, namely stores and online, let’s see a potential way how these two worlds can come together.
New solutions for omnichannel in Telecommunication connect digital in physical in new ways, for example by showcasing the actual devices from the stores or showrooms via live video. This is a win-win set-up: retail sales representatives get more productive as they can provide valuable assistance to remote customers in low-traffic hours, leveraging the advantages of being in a physical product environment.
On the other hand, e-commerce sales conversion is increased as it is easier to reassure online customers about the benefits of a model or service if they can see it with their own eyes - demonstrating features via live video or explaining plans with co-browsing.