Industry context

As the COVID-19 recovery continues across the globe, telecoms companies have continued to thrive as key drivers underpinning the heightened need for digital services. Having provided the bedrock for rapid transformation for organizations in all industries, telecoms now faces the challenge of continuing to provide seamless connectivity to corporations and communities who are increasingly reliant on their devices.

Against a backdrop of war, rampant inflation, a global labor shortage and a significant cost-of-living crisis, pressure has mounted for telecoms companies to offer affordable services while meeting the evolving demands of the consumer. Reliance is certainly up, while patience and tolerance for issues is down.

Handheld devices continue to be consumers’ most essential possessions in many markets, and with increased dependency on these devices, pressure continues to mount for telecoms companies to up their capabilities. Consumers are increasingly watching high-definition, data-intensive content that they demand in real-time, while also upping the use of devices in the corporate world, as the virtual office continues to demand that consumer broadband networks perform like supercharged corporate networks to support virtual and on-the-go telecommuting needs, such as hotspots for virtual meetings and beyond.

The roll-out of 5G has been a huge part of telco industry’s response to this increased demand and pressure, which has ramped up in the past 12-18 months. But for the average customer, 5G doesn’t truly offer anything revolutionary compared to 4G – it’s just the technology.

Telecoms carriers must optimize the systems and operations behind 5G to ensure a seamless, digital-first customer experience that meets the need of a global public that is reliant on device connectivity. And with the metaverse, blockchain and AI set to further disrupt and digitize consumers’ lives, demand for hyperconnectivity can only go one way: up. 

Key trends

Cyber-security and data integrity continue to be primary demands of telco carriers, as customers are becoming increasingly data-savvy, and wary of how their information is being stored and used. Alongside this, customers demand transparency on ESG initiatives, choosing to place trust in telecom providers that care for their colleagues’ wellbeing and the wider environmental wellbeing of the planet. 

Downtime is not an option for today’s telco customers, who are using their handsets to connect to important work meetings as flexible work continues to trend. Technologies such as AI, machine learning and chatbots continue to disrupt the front-line customer service telcos provide and hold the power to allow telcos to anticipate and learn from any disruption. Yet, with many customers taking to social media to resolve grievances, it’s clear the human touch is still a necessity. 

Telco CEOs know that the quality and consistency of their network reigns supreme – offering quality, fidelity and coverage are what keeps customer devices running, which is integral to their lives. Telcos must have the infrastructure in place to uphold the expectations of customers, as we are seeing with some carriers partnering with other providers to ensure constant connectivity.

Time & Effort
Customers have come to expect telco providers to operate seamlessly in the background, with little or no time and effort expenditure on their part. When problems do arise, they need first-call resolution. While this is nothing new, it further proves that investing in infrastructure and digital-first resolution services are key to customer retention in a crowded market.

Many markets must revolutionize their digital self-serve offering to allow consumers to customize their carrier plans and create the flexible model that works for their lifestyle without friction.

Customers want to identify with a brand they can get behind – simple as that. That brand has to stand for something, much like carriers which have waived roaming charges in countries affected by war. And as we continue to face the ramifications of climate change and issues of diversity, equity and inclusion continue to hold corporations to account. Telco providers must have their house in order.

The Customer Experience Leaders

Joining the rankings for the first time this year in third place is low-cost Irish carrier GoMo, which promises customers low-cost services for life. Scoring high for Time & Effort, GoMo promises customers swift delivery of a plug-and-play style SIM card, and its digital-only service means customers can sign up and access services and support quickly and easily online.

GoMo’s popularity with consumers highlights how spending habits are being affected by the cost-of-living crisis. Indeed, Austria’s Hofer Telekom – HoT – tops the rankings of those surveyed in the sector, thanks to its quick, simple and cheap offering. Customers can simply purchase a SIM card (for 1.99!) and activate it online. It also offers enhanced self-service resolution via the Mein HoT app, within which customers can choose tariff packages, monitor monthly usage and customize settings “anytime, anywhere."

Though telco providers were a lifeline of connectivity through lengthy periods of pandemic lockdown and remote working, demand continues to increase, and loyalty must be earned.

Alex Holt
Telco Center of Excellence lead