Telecommunications, media and technology (TMT) are amongst the few fortunate industries that are likely to benefit from the impacts of the pandemic. With more and more people working, schooling and socialising from home, network service providers have experienced a strong uplift in volume and breadth of usage, with people spending more time online and doing a wider variety of activities. And if our mobile phones and tablets weren’t already our constant companions, they have become further embedded in our lives. Providing the emotional escape from the pressures of the pandemic, streaming media has grown as our ‘go-to' relief and entertainment.
But to capitalise on the opportunities ahead, Kantar’s CX+ 2020 TMT study has shown us that brands in these sectors need to first fix systemic customer experience weaknesses. We combined learnings from our CX+ 2020 research with an understanding of the rapidly changing COVID-19 customer landscape to create insights to inform our clients’ future CX strategies. The only sector-specific study to analyse customer-centricity holistically, CX+ identifies how to bridge the gap between customer experience and brand promise, by pinpointing where brands are underdelivering to customer expectations or underleveraging CX delivery and need to better communicate the position.
Kantar’s CX+ 2020 TMT webinar highlights which technology, media and telecommunications brands are leading in CX and why, and how those who aren’t can improve. The study evaluates brands across five CX success factors; brand promise, empowered employees, empowered customers, lasting memories and reinforcing brand choice. This article provides a flavour of the key themes.
What customers want and what network service providers deliver are diametrically opposed in key areas
The study highlights fundamental disconnects between consumer desires and the experiences that network service providers deliver to people. Telecoms loyalty has fallen in the past 15 years and despite rising to pandemic challenges in demand and throughput, customer-centricity ratings have fallen 14 percentage points since the beginning of the year, before the pandemic. So, although telecoms brands have provided customers with low-cost data allowances, free international calling, increased security offerings, free or discounted content, sentiment has still decreased. CX+ 2020 TMT determined that customers want to be rewarded for their loyalty and yet when we look at the experience people feel they receive from network service providers, ‘values me as a customer’ is at the bottom of the list. This disconnect suggests fundamental discrepancies in CX and a need for telecoms brands to better understand where they can efficiently and effectively deliver value in the areas that matter most to customers. CX+ shows that truly customer-centric telecoms experiences can double loyalty to 85% by getting these elements right.
Handheld device brand preference is increasingly driven by ‘soft’ CX factors
Handheld devices has historically been a functionality-driven category, but our findings demonstrate the increasing importance of ‘soft’ CX factors, such as a clear brand promise, a strong in-store branded experience and a compelling website experience, as drivers of brand preference. Research further suggests that these elements are even more important to younger customers, who are more apt to engage with brands across touchpoints and who are ultimately more profitable. Millennials and Centennials spend 1.8 times as much as older generations and are 1.4 times more willing to spend on additional products. Surprising CX insights include the fact that younger generations value prompt and helpful support from employees even more than older generations, and can be particularly put off by brands that don’t demonstrate reciprocity. With pandemic values accelerating trends around social responsibility and sustainability, we expect it will become increasingly important that device brands deliver experiences that reinforce these principles.
Even online-only streaming media brands need to ensure positive customer service
The pandemic has created volatility in shifting streaming media consumer bases, but overall, the sector has seen increased penetration and boosted subscription numbers. But while customer sentiment has been generally positive towards streaming media during the pandemic, CX+ 2020 analysis found that streaming media providers are underdelivering on customer-centricity and ‘ease of getting in touch’. With ‘helpfulness of customer service’ rated as the #1 driver of brand preference in streaming media, this should be a concern for many brands, as the streaming wars continue to heat up in some markets and shake out the losers in saturated markets. CX+ 2020 demonstrates the risk to brands that don’t deliver positive experiences, with 43% of customers who were irritated with their last experience committed to switching. Our modelling calculates that streaming media brands can reduce churn by up to 57% by being more customer centric.
Success in the emerging tech ecosystem demands greater CX
With tech convergence, diminishing net neutrality and emerging global media giants, the world will see vigorous competition for the eyes and ears of global consumers. As tech brands jockey for prime positions in a move towards owning the end-user relationship and delivering more OTT services, CX will become increasingly important. But that requires understanding the customer – and our data shows that what people crave and what they get are often diametrically opposed. Brands must start by investigating how needs are changing and use this knowledge to innovate in the expanding TMT consumer ecosystem. As one of the few sectors that experts believe can grow as a result of the pandemic, TMT must have the courage to embrace experiential service areas that have been historically underleveraged. Now is the time for TMT brands to build their CX brand promise and credentials to captivate the consumers of the future.
Discover more about these insights and much more in our webinar to accelerate your brand to the top of the CX list. Please get in touch to find out more about our learnings from CX+ and the detailed reports available for sale.
CX+ is the only sector-specific customer experience index backed by rigorous research, CX+ covers over 1,300 brands across 17 countries, and over 140,000 people’s experiences.
Our latest CX+ webinar discusses important global insights for technology, media and telecommunications brands and reveals who tops the CX leader boards. We fuse pre-pandemic insights from CX+ 2020 with an understanding of the rapidly changing COVID-19 customer landscape to inform future CX strategy.