A Telecommunications Case Study
A leading telecommunications company with operations around the world had committed to placing the customer at the heart of everything it does, and it partnered with North Highland to make this vision a reality.
The telecom provider also wanted to achieve market-leading customer satisfaction levels and reduce attrition. To do so, it needed a customer experience that was both differentiated from and superior to its competitors’ offerings. The company needed to create a customer-focused design process, which would require new ways of working, a governance model, and training to transform the organization.
North Highland partnered with the telecom provider to conduct, map, and analyze 200 in-depth customer interviews and hundreds of online and text surveys. In just seven weeks, the team uncovered more than 100 insights about customer behavior, patterns, needs, pains, and delights, illustrating not only how they behaved, but also why.
The team then held four interactive cross-functional workshops to design new ways to fix existing problems and create new, differentiating experiences for customers. The 80 designs were then refined, prioritized, and consolidated into a roadmap with assigned owners. These ideas were transformed into end-to-end future journeys and storyboards, which brought them to life and provided a visual context that could be challenged, improved, and refined.
The resulting changes were far-reaching, touching each aspect of the customer experience. Among them was a commitment by the organization to be proactive and open: in the telecom industry, outages are rarely announced, but the team’s research uncovered that the outage almost always seemed worse to customers when they weren’t told it was happening. The organization began trialing proactive customer notifications in advance of a planned outage. In doing so, the company began taking a forthright approach that was unheard of in the industry, and one that was designed to reduce frustration levels among its customers.
Among the initiatives implemented were desktop and mobile app functionality that allowed customers to choose how to be updated about a problem or issue and how often to be kept in the loop. It also gave the customers the ability to disagree with the update they received, reducing frustration levels and flagging the issue for the telecom company’s customer service representatives.
Once the customer experience work was underway, the next step was to teach the telecom company’s teams to design amazing customer experiences on their own. Much like it had with customers, the team began by conducting interviews throughout the organization to understand problems with current processes and feelings about the existing and desired customer experience.
By designing a program for change that was tailored to the organization’s unique wants, needs, and challenges, the work sparked a revolution across the business, encouraging each team member to start thinking about the customer in everything he or she did. Trainings were also conducted at every level of the organization to explain how to select and interview customers, administer and analyze surveys, and design future customer experiences. In total, more than 200 people were trained, including each member of the executive board, in 25 sessions, at three locations. Eighty-five percent of the people trained said they felt more confident about their ability to deliver great products and services to customers as a result.
Tangible results included a reduction in the average number of customer service contacts per customer by 2.7 for specific journeys, amounting to a cost savings of more than $12 per customer within a particular segment. The total estimated operational cost savings from the experience design work amounted to more than $3M in projected annual savings.
The work also fueled a true cultural transformation at the telecommunications company, inspiring its employees to change how they think about their customers. The telecom provider is now better equipped to identify key risks and improvements to the customer experience well in advance of the launch of new products, services, and enhancements, saving time and money, and creating an optimal customer experience — setting the company apart in its industry.