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Finding the connection in customer conversations key to success for Egyptian telcos

Finding the connection in customer conversations key to success for Egyptian telcos

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The wave of Digital Transformation sweeping across Egypt is rapidly advancing the maturity and competitiveness of the businesses in the country. At the epicentre of this evolution has been the country’s telecom operators, serving as custodians of this change by providing the infrastructure that makes possible the delivery of mobile and internet services to millions of consumers. However, with Internet penetration in the Arab world’s most populous state at just 57.3%, there is still plenty to be done. Ravi Saraogi, Co-founder and President, Uniphore APAC, outlines that finding the connection in customer conversations is key to success for Egyptian telcos.

Ravi Saraogi, Co-founder and President, Uniphore APAC.

The wave of Digital Transformation sweeping across Egypt is rapidly advancing the maturity and competitiveness of the businesses in the country. At the epicentre of this evolution has been the country’s telecom operators, serving as custodians of this change by providing the infrastructure that makes possible the delivery of mobile and internet services to millions of consumers.

However, with Internet penetration in the Arab world’s most populous state at just 57.3%, there is still plenty to be done. This pressure is only set to mount as the country progresses towards life alongside COVID-19 – fewer opportunities for physical interactions will push more people to turn to spending time online. Telcos will also have to rise to the address the ambitions of the government. At the International Co-operation Forum, held in Cairo late last year, the country’s Communications and Information Technology Minister, Amr Talaat, expressed the government’s intent to improve Internet connectivity for 60 million Egyptians living in about 4,500 villages by upgrading broadband infrastructure – an initiative that will no doubt require significant support from the telcos operating in the country.

While opportunity is rife, the telecom industry continues to grapple with mediocre levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Since the start of the pandemic, customers have been plagued with uncertainties that have led them to turn towards customer service platforms as a way to help navigate their anomalous set of challenges and concerns. As call volumes hit an all-time high, this resulted in lengthy and exhaustive wait times for assistance at the peak of the pandemic, which further aggravated pre-existing customer experience (CX) issues.

Though it seemed like an opportune moment for businesses to build stronger relationships with their customers, such times of calamity did not bode well for its hard-earned reputations. That leaves us with the question: Given the track records of customer dissatisfaction and churn, how can telecom providers convert high demand into a sustainable advantage?

To break it down, whether it be through voice or digital interactions, conversations will always matter when it comes to the business of customer service. If solutions lack the ability to understand end-to-end conversations, businesses may find much difficulty in bringing about the type of contact centre transformation that telecoms need for the sake of improving customer satisfaction and loyalty by leaps and bounds.

That is where the need for a conversation-centric, platform-based approach comes in. With the integration of the latest advances in conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, analytics, and other emerging technologies, this allows the opportunity for telecoms to truly understand the conversations between customers and businesses. A conversation-centric AI platform can constructively enhance the customer and agent experience through four key approaches to deliver business value.

Balancing customer satisfaction with intelligent self-service

Self-service channels are often where customers kickstart their initial interactions with businesses. However, the reality is such that many current self-service options can be frustrating to deal with as they fail to address customers’ needs effectively. This can be mitigated through the help of a conversation-centric AI platform.

Equipped with insights that help provide a better understanding of customer intent and sentiments, an AI platform can help businesses increase self-service and automation rates. This effectively resolves transactional interactions such as paying bills, basic service inquiries and tracking usage among others to increase agent efficiency within contact centres and reduce response times when dealing with customers.

Intelligent virtual assistants (IVA) can lend a hand to enhance an organisation’s self-service operations. These Machine Learning systems can process customer questions and deliver appropriate next steps to complete a customer’s self-service experience. Utilising IVA alongside an AI platform can help cultivate an optimised, seamless CX.

Reducing friction in the customer and agent experience

Enabling agents to be more productive through conversational AI tools is another fundamental approach to improving CX. By utilising AI to guide agents on their next best actions while automating tedious tasks using robotic process automation, contacts centres can make every agent their best agent without weeks and months of classroom training and on-boarding. Not only are they able to quickly scale up their agents, but also eliminate costly human-errors that occur from overburdened agents to deliver great customer experiences.

Additionally, Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities can track customer and agent-centric patterns across voice, email, text, or chat, offering vital insights to highlight critical points to be addresses in the customer journey.

Enhancing experiences through automating after-call work

So, what happens next after the conversation ends with the customer? What takes place post-call is just as important to business outcomes for the telecom industry as what happens during the call itself.

Some of these after-call work (ACW) includes summarising the call, updating systems, and fulfilling promises made during the conversation. Having a conversational-AI platform enables automation of repetitive tasks and end-to-end business processes. For example, the platform can listen and transcribe conversations in real-time, automatically creating a call summary for the agent to analyse once the call ends. This improves agent performance and efficiency, increasing their capacity to handle more convoluted customer inquiries.

Managing promises

The final approach addresses promise management – a strategic component in any customer conversation. It directly impacts call handling times, wait times, and customer satisfaction and loyalty as measured by the net promoter score (NPS). Missed promises result in a significant negative impact on NPS typically.

Using robotic process automation (RPA), promises and commitments made by agents are logged in real-time during each conversation whereby follow-up actions and insights that align with customer expectations are automatically provided immediately after the call.

As Egypt takes a step forward into a highly connected era, telecoms need to take bigger, bolder steps than ever before to improve customer and agent experiences. The telecom industry has become fundamental to how societies operate and progress forward. Conversational AI will serve as the cornerstone for augmenting every conversation, from transforming the customer and agent experience to driving customer satisfaction while generating greater loyalty and revenue. Understanding how to keep CX conversation-centric to connect with customers better is imperative for the telecom industry as it will ultimately enable a business to deliver a positive, seamless experience for customers and agents alike.

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