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In January of 2013, we benchmarked the telecom social customer experience in order to better guide today's service providers toward strategies that make sense. …

In January of 2013, we benchmarked the telecom social customer experience in order to better guide today's service providers toward strategies that make sense.

We surveyed 40+ global telecoms on their social customer experience investments and returns and found that more socially mature telecoms enjoy serious benefits:

greater reduction in call center volume
greater reduction in support costs
more confidence in the customer experiences they deliver

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  • 1. TelesperienceCustomer ExperienceBenchmark 2013, partof the BenchmarkingSeriesThe evolvingrole of socialmedia in thetelecomscustomerexperienceTeresa Cottam, Chief Strategist
  • 2. 2 | P a g eTelesperience Benchmark: The Evolving Role of Social Media in the Telecoms Customer ExperienceTABLE OF CONTENTSSponsor’s Message ..............................................................................................................................................31 The telecoms customer experience................................................................................................................42 How important is the customer experience to CSPs? ....................................................................................53 How CSPs rate the customer experience they provide ..................................................................................74 What are CSPs top three customer experience goals?..................................................................................85 Who is driving social media adoption and usage?..........................................................................................96 What are CSPs using social media for? .......................................................................................................107 Investment patterns......................................................................................................................................138 How CSPs assess social success................................................................................................................159 Summary......................................................................................................................................................1610 Research Methodology.................................................................................................................................17
  • 3. 3 | P a g eSponsor’s MessageThe telecommunications industry is arguably one of the fiercest consumer markets we know. The pace ofinnovation in telecom runs at breakneck speed and will only always accelerate. Providers are left with deliveringservices that commoditize practically as soon as they launch—launch to a particularly critical and demandingaudience, quick to take their SIM cards and go elsewhere if disappointed.Increasingly, telecom service providers have faced these challenges by turning to the customer experience as a pointof differentiation. And as today’s consumers become more and more social, they now look to social media todeliver the type of differentiated experiences that translate to long-term customer loyalty.Yet social media remains a new and complex landscape. Many operators still have big question marks around thesocial customer experience—everything from “what is it” to “who should own it” to “how should we measuresuccess”. The constantly emerging nature of social media challenges all business today to sift through thecacophony of channels, technologies and use cases to emerge with a sustaining investment strategy that really sings.In our book, a social media investment strategy that really sings is one that makes a bottom-line difference. Astelecoms look to the social customer experience for competitive advantage, it’s critical that they develop a betterunderstanding of exactly how investments in social media can bring them closer to their customer experiencegoals—and impact the bottom line.We set out to benchmark the telecom social customer experience in 2013 in order to better guide today’s serviceproviders toward strategies that make sense. We asked over 40 global telecoms about their social customerexperience goals, investments, strategies, offerings, and results.We found that delivering exceptional customer experiences in telecom is top of mind and getting more difficult.Just 5% of telecoms today think their CXP is excellent—down from 8% just two years ago. But we also found thatdeeper investments in social lead to more CXP confidence. Telecoms who use social to transform the customerexperience, who invest in on-domain social platforms are more apt to rate their overall CXP as good and less aptrate it average.In general, we found social media technology adoption in the telecom industry to be strong and growing fast. Wefound that those who are serious about social—have owned social platforms, robust social customer engagementand enlistment strategies, and involve more of the business in the social customer experience—get serious results.These more socially mature telecoms enjoy significantly greater reduction in call center volume and support costs.While there did emerge clear market leaders who are now leveraging the full power of social across the entirebusiness, we found that the industry has some growing to do. There remains quite a bit of opportunity for socialmedia investment expansion in certain geographies—particularly APAC, and certain use cases—particularly socialsupport.As the market continues to mature, the detailed findings in this benchmark study should help telecom serviceproviders make better social media investment decisions and better measure their success.Rob TarkoffCEO - Lithium Technologies
  • 4. 4 | P a g eTelesperience Benchmark: The Evolving Role of Social Media in the Telecoms Customer Experience1 The telecoms customer experienceCompetition continues to increase in the telecoms market, while core services are commoditising, meaning that thecustomer experience has come to the fore as a means – and arguably for some communications service providers(CSPs) the single, most important means – of differentiating their offering and increasing their competitiveness. Inrecent years not only has there been a much greater emphasis placed upon optimising the experience that’s providedto telecoms customers, but considerable discussion about the need for CSPs to become less technology-centricbusinesses and more customer-centric.Undoubtedly there is considerable variation in how well individual CSPs are performing in terms of meeting theneeds of their customers, and in how fast they are becoming more customer centric. The re-engineering of telecomsoperators into customer-centric service providers has not always been an easy transition for CSPs to make, and it’sone that’s being made in the face of vociferous commentary and criticism from both the media and customers,whose expectations have evolved faster than some CSPs’ offerings. However, progress is being made globally andbest practice from both within the telecoms industry as well as from outside it can be leveraged to improveperformance.One major change is the adoption of social technology. When Telesperience measured CSPs’ performance in 2010with regards to the customer experience they delivered, many CSPs said they were planning on employing socialmedia and social CRM platforms to create a more personalised and supportive experience for customers. Thoseplans have now come to fruition and social media technology is widely deployed within the industry.The question now is whether CSPs are fully exploiting the capabilities of social technology and embracing thepossibilities it offers for their businesses. Social technology is no longer being used solely for interacting withcustomers, but is helping create new ways of doing business and new opportunities for CSPs.As social technology extends outside the CRM domain, it’s important to understand how different CSPs are using itand what they intend to use it for in future. To do this, Telesperience has conducted primary research amongst CSPsworldwide of different types and sizes. In this report we present the findings of this study, which reveals how CSPsthink they’re performing with regards to the customer experience and their use of social techniques, what they’reusing it for and, importantly, what they plan to use it for. This study acts as an industry benchmark for CSPs,providing in-depth insight for them to use to judge their own performance against.Seven key findings include:• The customer experience will grow in importance to CSPs’ businesses from 8.20/10.00 today to9.39/10.00 by 2013 (see Figure 1)• Only 5% of CSPs believe they provide an excellent customer experience today (see Figure 4)• Increasing customer loyalty is the number 1 goal for CSPs in 2013 (see Figure 6)• The marketing department is the main driver for social technology adoption in telecoms service providers(see Figure 8)• 93% of CSPs are now connecting with their customers through social networks (see Figure 10)• 15% of CSPs have brought customer-sourced innovation to market, and 12% have already derivedrevenues from their customers’ suggestions (see Figure 15)• 95% of CSPs are either maintaining or increasing their budgets for social media in 2013 (see Figure 17)Telesperience Customer ExperienceBenchmark 2013: The evolving role of socialmedia in the telecoms customer experienceFebruary 2013
  • 5. 5 | P a g e2 How important is the customer experience to CSPs?The operators in our study rate the experience they provide to their customers as very important to their business(8.20/10.00) but believe it will be even more important to their business by 2015 (9.39).What’s interesting is that when we correlated these findings against how CSPs rated the customer experience in2010, we discovered that the current importance placed on the customer experience was almost identical to thatplaced on it in 2010 (8.30). And likewise, in 2010 operators also thought that the customer experience wouldincrease in importance by 2013 – expecting its importance to the business to be 9.25.Figure 1 Comparison of how valuable CSPs think the customer experience is to their business (2010 and 2013)8.308.209.259.397.50 8.00 8.50 9.00 9.502010: average importance2013: average importance2010: expected importance by 20132013: expected importance by 2015Source: Telesperience studies 2010 and 2013In both studies CSPs were asked to rate the importance of thecustomer experience to their current and future business on a scale of 1-10Comparing the results from these two studies shows that CSPs consistently believe the customer experience willincrease in importance to their future business. The findings also suggest that CSPs are still not fully leveraging thevalue of the customer experience to their businesses, because they are not yet realising the increased value theyanticipated in 2010 – now expecting this value to be realised around 2015 (that is, in the future). What’s also notablefrom Figure 1 is that in 2013 CSPs rate the value of the customer experience to their business marginally lower thanthey did in 2010, but they believe its value to their future business will be greater than they anticipated in 2010.• In 2010 and 2013 CSPs rated the importance of the customer experience to their businesses as beingroughly the same (8.30 in 2010 and 8.20 in 2013).• In both studies they believed the customer experience would increase in importance to their business (9.25in 2010 and 9.39 in 2013).• In 2013 CSPs have not realised the level of importance they anticipated back in 2010 (rating it 8.20 in 2013as opposed to anticipating in 2010 it would be 9.25 by 2013).• In 2010 CSPs rated the future importance of a great customer experience to their business as 9.25; theynow rate it as being worth 9.39 by 2015.However, there is considerable regional variation in terms of how CSPs rate the customer experience’s importanceto their business – both now and in 2015 – as shown in Figure 2.• The customer experience is seen as most important to their business by European CSPs who rated it 8.77in 2013 and anticipated it would grow in importance to 9.92 by 2015. This reflects the high level ofcompetition in the European market and thus the requirement to differentiate their offering from that ofrivals.• The customer experience is least important to APAC operators who rated it 7.78 in 2013. However, theyperceive that its importance to their business will grow rapidly in the next few years, and by 2015 rateimportance at 9.11 – closing the gap substantially between APAC and other world regions. This reflects thematuration of some of the high-growth APAC markets where exponential growth and an emphasis onmaximising market share is now giving way to the requirement to retain the highest ARPU customers asthe market shifts to an emphasis on revenue maximisation from each subscriber and loyalty.
  • 6. 6 | P a g eTelesperience Benchmark: The Evolving Role of Social Media in the Telecoms Customer Experience• North America rates the customer experience as being more important to their business in both 2013 and2015 than Asian CSPs, but does not place as much importance on it as European CSPs do. This reflects ahybrid positioning where there is relatively less competition in large parts of North America than inEurope, but a growing recognition that maintaining ARPUs requires CSPs to focus on customer retentionand loyalty.As might be expected, all three regions show an increase in the perceived importance of the customer experience tothe CSP business by 2015 (see Figure 3).Figure 2 How valuable CSPs think the customer experience is to their business (2013), regional breakdown8.778.558.207.78EuropeNorth AmericaGlobalAPACSource: Telesperience 2013Figure 3 How valuable CSPs think the customer experience will be to their business by 2015,regional breakdown9.929.739.399.11EuropeNorth AmericaGlobalAPACSource: Telesperience 2013
  • 7. 7 | P a g e3 How CSPs rate the customer experience they provideDespite the importance that CSPs place upon the customer experience (see Figure 1) very few regard themselves asproviding an “excellent” customer experience in 2013 (5%). In fact, as can be seen in Figure 4, the proportion ofCSPs that regard themselves as providing an “excellent” customer experience has dropped marginally sinceTelesperience’s 2010 study (when it was 8%).Likewise the number of CSPs rating themselves as providing a “good” customer experience has fallen from 63% in2010 to 54% in 2013. However, those rating themselves as providing an “average” experience has risen from 21% in2010 to 39% in 2013. Fortunately, those now rating themselves as providing a “below average” experience has fallenfrom 8% to 2%. This reveals that the worst performing CSPs believe they are improving, but the number of CSPswho believe they provide an outstanding customer experience has fallen.This finding reflects the fact that the customer experience continually evolves and commoditises. There is thusstrong pressure towards a customer experience “norm”, which means what was once an “excellent” or “good”customer experience will rapidly become an “average” experience as more companies are able to provide that typeof experience. In order for a CSP to continue to provide an outstanding experience it’s therefore necessary for themto continually innovate to remain ahead of their rivals and provide a truly exceptional and differentiating customerexperience.Given the high value that CSPs place on the future customer experience, the clear message is that they need toinvest now in order to deliver against their goals and realise the expected business value by 2015.Figure 4 Comparison of how CSPs rate the customer experience they provide (2010 and 2013)8%63%21%8%5%54%39%2%ExcellentGoodAverageBelow average2010 2013Source: Telesperience studies 2010 and 2013. In both studies CSPs were asked to rate themselvesas providing either an excellent, good, average or below average customer experienceAgain, a geographical analysis reveals distinct regional patterns as to how CSPs think they’re performing withregards to the customer experience (see Figure 5).• Asian operators are most likely to be confident they are providing an excellent customer experience, butthis is also the region with the most low-performing operators.• European operators generally believe they provide either an average or good experience, but 8% believethey’re delivering an excellent experience. None think they provide a below average experience.• North American operators believe they deliver either an average or good experience, but none ratethemselves as providing an excellent experience or a below average experience.
  • 8. 8 | P a g eTelesperience Benchmark: The Evolving Role of Social Media in the Telecoms Customer ExperienceFigure 5 How CSPs rate the customer experience they provide (2013), regional breakdownGlobal Europe APAC North AmericaExcellent 5% 8% 11% 0%Good 54% 46% 44% 64%Average 39% 46% 33% 36%Below average 2% 0% 11% 0%Source: Telesperience 20134 What are CSPs top three customer experience goals?Telesperience asked CSPs what their top three customer experience goals were. As can be seen from Figure 6, overallthese were (1) Increase customer loyalty (2) Right-first-time customer service (3) Cost-effective self-service.Figure 6 Top three customer experience goals 201376%54%51%41%39%37%0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%Increase customer loyaltyRight-first-time customer serviceCost-effective self-serviceImproved brand perceptionReduce customer complaintsIncrease ARPUSource: Telesperience 2013CSPs were asked to indicate their top three customer experience goalsBoth the second placed and third placed goals (right-first-time customer service and cost-effective self-service) havestrong operational efficiency – that is cost reducing – elements to them. And increasing customer loyalty could beviewed as another cost-saving strategy, since recruiting new customers is usually more expensive than retainingexisting ones. It’s surprising that given the level of competition and flattening revenues in many markets (as basicservices commoditise), which both put increasing pressure on the “revenue ceiling”, more emphasis is not beingplaced on increasing ARPU.
  • 9. 9 | P a g eA geographical analysis reveals some differences in CSP goals however (see Figure 7).• Europe follows the global norm for the top two goals, but its third most important goals is reducingcustomer complaints. This possibly reflects having to manage the effects of new network rollouts, networkcongestion, and confusion around data tariffing as Europe moves away from flat rate pricing.• North America shares the same goals as the global norm but shuffles the importance slightly – seeing cost-effective self-service as being more important than right first time self-service. This shows a focus onreducing costs more than on maintaining customer satisfaction. However, North American operators arecautioned that when self-service doesn’t work first time, it will generate additional or hidden costs in theform of dissatisfaction, complaints and possibly even churn.• APAC shares the global concern with increasing customer loyalty but sees increasing ARPU as moreimportant. Unlike other regions it also rates improved brand perception within its top three goals. Thisreflects the fact that many high-growth APAC markets have relatively low ARPUs, and as the next billioncustomers are added it is creating a downward pressure on ARPU. In more developed APAC markets theeffects of competition and commoditisation likewise create a downward pressure on ARPU similar to thatseen in Europe. A focus on maintaining or increasing ARPU is therefore a key concern in this region.Figure 7 Top three customer experience goals 2013 by regionGlobal Europe APAC North America1 Increase customerloyaltyIncrease customerloyaltyIncrease ARPU Increase customerloyalty2 Right-first-timecustomer serviceRight-first-timecustomer serviceIncrease customerloyaltyCost-effective self-service3 Cost-effective self-serviceReducing customercomplaintsImproved brandperceptionRight-first-timecustomer serviceSource: Telesperience 20135 Who is driving social media adoption and usage?In most CSPs a mixture of the marketing department and the CRM department are the primary drivers in social media strategy.However, a wide range of other players influence decisions made about social technology (see Figure 8).Figure 8 Primary drivers and key influencers of social media adoption and usage76%41%10%5%5%2%24%59%17%61%66%32%MarketingCustomercareOtherITSalesR&DPrimary Driver Influences.Source: Telesperience 2013
  • 10. 10 | P a g eTelesperience Benchmark: The Evolving Role of Social Media in the Telecoms Customer ExperienceIn 8 out of 10 CSPs the marketing department is the primary driver for social media strategy. While customer care is either theprimary driver of social technology adoption and usage (in 4 out of 10 CSPs) or is an important secondary influencer (in 6 out of10 CSPs). Other key departments such as IT and Sales are highly influential on the decision-making process. Figure 9 shows thatin North America IT is consulted in every single case, but in Europe it is only consulted in 38% of CSPs. Likewise in 82% ofCSPs in North America the Sales department influences decisions, but only in 54% of European and 56% of APAC CSPs is Salesconsulted. This is surprising given the focus APAC has on raising ARPU.Figure 9 Primary drivers and key influencers of social media adoption and usage, regional differencesEurope APAC North AmericaMain driver(s) Marketing (85%)Customer care (54%)Marketing (89%) Marketing (64%)Customer care (36%)Chief influencers Sales (54%)Customer care (46%)IT (38%)Customer care (89%)Sales (56%)IT (56%)IT (100%)Sales (82%)Customer care (64%)Source: Telesperience 20136 What are CSPs using social media for?Using social technology and approaches is now the norm in the telecoms industry. Ninety-three per cent of theCSPs we spoke to said they are already using social media to connect with their customers. However, the second-most common use today of social technology is to drive business impact, which shows a maturation in thinking andgoals. By 2015, 9 out of 10 CSPs say they will be using social technology to drive business impact, and 8 out of 10say they will be using it to drive conversion and to transform the customer experience (see Figure 10).Figure 10 How CSPs are using social technology (2013)93%61%56%44%27%20%37%Connecting with customers throughsocial networksDriving business impactDriving conversion through ownedsocial hubsTransforming the customerexperienceUsing Plan to useSource: Telesperience 2013As can be seen in Figure 11, in general North America is ahead in terms of its use of social media; however in thesefour areas the highest growth will be seen in Europe. Europe will be concentrating on utilising the technology todrive business impact (+62%) and to transform the customer experience (+38%). The biggest growth in usage inAPAC will be to improve the customer experience (+33%) and to drive conversion (+22%). In North America,which is relatively mature in its use of social technology, the biggest growth areas will be in utilising it to driveconversion (+27%) and to drive business impact (+18%).
  • 11. 11 | P a g eBy 2015 most CSPs will be using social technology to deliver against all four of these goals, demonstrating a rapidevolution of usage and commoditisation of capabilities. This indicates that what is considered cutting edge today willbe mainstream tomorrow, but it raises two other issues that need to be considered:• there needs to be continual innovation to remain ahead of the competition.• CSPs cannot just implement social technology and expect to gain the maximum benefit from it. They needto embrace what it delivers as an integral part of the way they do business, since to maximise the valuerequires CSPs to really focus on their customers and not just on their networks.Figure 11 How CSPs are using social technology, regional differencesConnectingwith customersDriving businessimpactDriving conversion TransformingcustomerexperienceGlobal usage 2013 93% 61% 56% 44%Global usage by 2015 93% 88% 76% 81%Most advanced region2013North America North America North America North AmericaMost advanced regionby 2015North America Europe North America North AmericaHighest growth region(increase) NoneEurope62percentage pointsNorth America27percentage pointsEurope38percentage pointsStatus by 2015 Commoditised Mature Mainstream MatureDifference betweenmost/ least advancedregions by 201522percentagepoints33percentagepoints13percentagepoints16percentagepointsSource: Telesperience 2013To find out more about how CSPs are using social media to engage with and enable customers, Telesperience askedCSPs to tell us how they were engaging with their customers. Overall there were four main motivations for engagingwith customers (see Figure 12):• Loyalty – using social technology to engage with loyal customers was the most common use of thetechnology today and by 2015 83% of CSPs will be doing this• Innovation – customer-centric innovation (that is, gleaning ideas and suggestions from customers) was thesecond most common way in which CSPs were utilising social technology for customer engagement today.By 2015 this will be the most common usage with 86% of CSPs doing this• Operational – around 44% are enabling existing customers to support other customers and by 2015 64%of CSPs will be doing this• Commercial – the least common way of using social technology to engage with customers today was tosupport commercial goals. Today only 27% of CSPs are able to engage existing customers to provide newcustomers with purchasing advice, although this is set to rise to 59% by 2015.
  • 12. 12 | P a g eTelesperience Benchmark: The Evolving Role of Social Media in the Telecoms Customer ExperienceFigure 12 How CSPs are engaging and enabling customers using social technology68%59%44%27%15%27%20%32%Engaging with loyal customersEnlisting customers to share ideasEnlisting customers to support othercustomersEnlisting customers to give purchaseadviceDoing Plan to doSource: Telesperience 2013In these four aspects of social engagement North America had less of a clear lead over other regions than we sawwhen we measured uses of social media. Today North America is more mature in its usage of enlisting customers toshare ideas and support other customers; but Europe is ahead in engaging loyal customers and enlisting customersto give purchase advice. By 2015 North America will have passed Europe in its usage of engaging loyal customers.However, APAC will be the most mature market in terms of enlisting customers to give purchasing advice.Relatively low growth in Europe in comparison to the other regions will see it slip back to third position in everycategory except engaging loyal customersFigure 13 How CSPs are engaging and enabling customers using social technology, regional differencesEngage loyalcustomersEnlist customers toshare ideasEnlist customers tosupport othercustomersEnlist customers togive purchaseadviceAverage globalusage 201368% 59% 44% 27%Average globalusage by 201583% 85% 63% 59%Most advancedregion 2013Europe North America North America EuropeMost advancedregion by 2015North America North America North America APACHighest growthregionNorth America45percentage pointsAPAC44percentage pointsAPAC22percentage pointsNorth America45percentage points*Status by 2015 Mature Mature Mainstream MainstreamDifferencebetween most/least advancedregionsby 201515percentagepoints14percentagepoints37percentagepoints13percentagepointsSource: Telesperience 2013* in this category APAC is only 1 percentage point behind NAR in terms of growth
  • 13. 13 | P a g eThe patterns of growth shown in Figure 13 will result in maturation of some of these areas by 2015. As shown inFigure 14, sharing customer ideas will be a commodity engagement by 2015 in APAC and North America, as by then9 out of 10 CSPs will be able to do this and thus it will no longer be a differentiator but just an accepted part ofbusiness-as-usual. Engaging loyal customers will be reaching maturing in Europe and North America, as it stilloffers some differentiation, although the vast majority of operators will be able to do it. It is the growing areas ofengagement (‘supporting other customers’ in Europe and APAC, and ‘giving purchasing advice’ in Europe andNorth America) that will offer most competitive advantage. At this stage in the market only half the CSPs are able todeliver the business benefits from these types of engagement, and so they offer points of differentiation both interms of the customer experience delivered and commercially. However, as use cases reach maturity, the emphasisshifts from novelty and simply being able to support or deliver something, to delivering it in a way that drivesbusiness benefit.Figure 14 Relative maturity of each region in terms of customer engagement 2015Criteria Europe APAC North AmericaSharing ideas 77% 89% 91%Engaging loyal customers 77% 67% 82%Supporting other customers 54% 56% 91%Giving purchasing advice 54% 67% 55%Source: Telesperience 2013Key: = Growing = Mainstream = Mature = CommodityThe first of these criteria – sharing ideas – has the potential to offer enormous competitive advantage. CSPs who areable to utilise customer ideas can lower the cost of innovation whilst also increasing the volume and velocity ofinnovation through crowdsourcing techniques. Importantly, the ideas derived may also have a higher likelihood ofbeing successful, since they were suggested by customers to meet real needs and wants. The commercial potentialoffered by customer-derived innovation is such that we were prompted to ask CSPs how they thought they wereperforming in this area. As can be seen from Figure 15, the most popular way of uncovering customer ideas is to useforums, with 63% of CSPs doing that today. However, almost one-third of CSPs (29%) admitted that they still donot solicit ideas from their customers – putting them at a commercial disadvantage to those that can do this.Figure 15 How CSPs are using customer-sourced innovation (2013)63%29%22%15%12%Forums etc uncover productideasWe don’t solicit product ideasCrowdsourced innovation driverof competitive advantageCustomer suggested productideas to marketIncremental revenue fromcustomer suggestionsSource: Telesperience 2013
  • 14. 14 | P a g eTelesperience Benchmark: The Evolving Role of Social Media in the Telecoms Customer ExperienceFigure 16 also shows that the most advanced CSPs – around 1 in 10 – have already been able to utilise customer-sourced ideas not just to launch products, but also to derive revenues from these suggestions. This is an area whereEurope is leading the rest of the world currently, but where CSPs in APAC – with its strong focus on raising ARPU– could benefit from focusing more effort.Figure 16 CSPs who are able to utilise customer-sourced innovationGlobal Europe APAC North AmericaCustomer suggestedideas to market15% 23% 0% 9%Revenues fromcustomer suggestedideas12% 23% 0% 9%Source: Telesperience 20137 Investment patternsSocial media is one of the key technologies that CSPs plan to invest in. Eighty per cent of the CSPs in this studyintended to increase spending on social media between 2013 and 2015, and 95% are either increasing or holdingspending at the same level (see Figure 17). Related areas such as customer loyalty are also a priority for investment,with 95% of CSPs maintaining or increasing spending. Some areas fare less well – with call centres and SEOexperiencing a drop in spending in around 1 in 10 CSPs.Figure 17 Investment areas for CSPs 2013-1585%80%66%63%53%39%37%10%15%27%24%34%34%54%2%2%2%2%12%10%4%Customer loyaltySocial mediaeCommerceSelf-service through owned social hubsCall centerSEOWord-of-mouth marketingIncrease Stay same DecreaseSource: Telesperience 2013
  • 15. 15 | P a g eBeneath the global pattern of investment there are also distinct regional variations in terms of systems spending, ascan be seen in Figure 18. The areas that will see increases in investment are identical in Europe and North America,although a higher proportion of CSPs will increase their spending in these areas in North America than in Europe.In APAC, CSPs intend to increase spending on loyalty – reflecting the requirement in this market to retain morehigh ARPU customers. The increase in spending in e-commerce also reflects this region’s interest in raising ARPU.In all three regions some CSPs intend to decrease investment in call centres – reflecting a change of strategy fromdealing reactively with enquiries and complaints, to being more proactive in handling these or using alternativemethods such as enabling customers to support other customers (see Section 5). In all three regions some CSPsintend to reduce spending in SEO as well, perhaps indicating that they are moving to a social engagement modelrather than spending their budget on search to enable customers to find them.Figure 18 Investment areas for CSPs, regional breakdownEurope APAC North America1 Social media (77%) Customer loyalty (88%) Social media (82%)2 Customer loyalty (76%) E-commerce (78%) Customer loyalty (82%)3 Self-service through social hubs(54%)Social media (66%) Self-service through socialhubs (72%)3 E-Commerce (8%) N/A Word of mouth marketing(18%)2 SEO (8%) SEO (11%) SEO (18%)1 Call Centre (8%) Call Centre (11%) Call Centre (18%)Source: Telesperience 20138 How CSPs assess social successGlobally the most common measure used to judge whether social initiatives are successful is customer satisfactionratings such as C-Sat scores (see Figure 19). However, this is being combined with a number of other measures –including metrics from popular social networking sites.More sophisticated measures that require initiatives to be linked to performance in other areas are less commonlyused today, but we would expect these to grow in importance as CSPs begin to use social technology for purposesother than simply connecting with customers. However, it can be challenging for CSPs to track cause and effect inorder to judge social media performance, due to their complex and siloed IT infrastructure and departmentalisation.Somewhat surprisingly, nearly 2 out of 10 CSPs are not using any measures to judge whether social initiatives aresuccessful – and this holds true across all three regions.As can be seen from Figure 20, in APAC and North America sales revenues attributed to social channels are one ofthe measures being used to judge performance – this is consistent with APAC’s focus on increased ARPU.However, in Europe deflected support cases are being used more commonly as a measure of success, which reflectsthis region’s need to reduce operational costs. Only about 3 out of 10 CSPs in Europe use sales attributed to socialchannels as a measure of success, but although this trails behind the proportion in APAC and North America usingthis measure, it is not substantially removed from it.Telesperience believes the way social success is being measured also reflects a maturation process in the use of socialtechnology. Initially it has been used for engaging with customers (that is, communication) and thus C-Sat scoresand social media metrics are adequate measures of success. But as use of social technology becomes more complexand is used for more sophisticated social engagements, the measures used to judge success likewise have to expand
  • 16. 16 | P a g eTelesperience Benchmark: The Evolving Role of Social Media in the Telecoms Customer Experienceand become more sophisticated. In the most mature CSPs social technology becomes an essential part of productinnovation and sales success (that is, revenue maximisation), and thus sales performance data becomes increasinglyimportant.Figure 19 Method CSPs use to measure social success17%24%37%41%63%63%We dont measure itSEO rankings for brandedcommunity pagesSales revenue attributed tosocial channelsNumber of support casesdeflected by social mediaMetrics from popular socialnetworksCustomer satisfactionSource: Telesperience 2013Figure 20 Method CSPs use to measure social success, regional differencesEurope APAC North America1 C-Sat (54%) C-Sat (89%) Metrics from social networks(64%)2 Metrics from social networks(54%)Metrics from social networks(56%)C-Sat (45%)3 Deflected support cases (54%) Sales revenues (44%) Sales revenues (36%)Percentage that don’tuse any measures23% 22% 18%Source: Telesperience 20139 SummarySocial media provides a new channel for CSPs to interact with their customers. However, taken to its naturalconclusion it also supports, in achievable steps, the necessary fundamental change to the telecoms business modeland processes that the industry has long talked about delivering. This is because it enables the CSP to focus what itdoes around the needs of the customer by better engaging with customers; it can glean insights, suggestions andcomplaints from customers which it can use to improve its performance; and it can leverage a loyal customer base tobecome better at selling more of what the customer wants, in a way the customer wants it.CSPs cannot just implement social technology and expect to gain the maximum benefit from it. They need toembrace what it delivers as an integral part of the way they do business, since maximising the value requires CSPs toreally focus on their customers and not just on their networks – delivering true customer-centricity.Social technology itself is showing rapid evolution from providing operational efficiency to being an integralbuilding block in a different type of customer experience and an enabler of future commercial success. Importantly,CSPs should note that social technology is not just important for the B2C side of the business, but also to engagewith enterprise customers and SMEs.
  • 17. 17 | P a g e10 Research methodologyThis research programme uses a technique which is sometimes called “the expert panel” or “expert sample”. Inother words we sought to locate a relatively small number of highly qualified and senior staff who had theknowledge and experience to answer the questions we were researching, and who could also represent the views oftheir peers.The research was focused on delivering a picture of the current status of social technology adoption within theglobal CSP market, as well as future goals and investment plans. Thus we sought to locate and speak to those staffwithin CSPs who are currently responsible for supporting, or who substantially influence, the company’s socialtechnology or social CRM strategy. The trends shown here are based on a global sample, with regional breakdownsprovided where indicated.In this programme we spoke to 41 senior managers (CXO, VP and Director level staff) from communicationsservice providers worldwide. Figure 21 provides a breakdown of the operators represented in this sample by size ofsubscriber base and by region of operation. It should be noted that some of the smaller CSPs in this sample wereparts of larger groups. In terms of operator type, 44% were multi-service operators (MSOs), 32% weremobile/wireless providers, 20% were fixed/wireline/fiber providers, and the remaining 4% MVNOs and WiMaXoperators.Figure 21 Regions and size of CSPs in research sampleEurope32%North America27%APAC22%MEA10%CALA10%Total sample:41 CSPsUp to 5 million39%5 to 10 million19%10 to 20 million15%More than20 million27%Total sample:41 CSPsSource: Telesperience 2013
  • 18. 18 | P a g eTelesperience Benchmark: The Evolving Role of Social Media in the Telecoms Customer ExperienceAbout the authorTeresa Cottam is the Founder and Chief Strategist at Telesperience, an independent telecoms industry analyst firm.She has more than 19 years’ experience in the industry and was previously an Associate Principal Analyst with UK-based telecoms consultancy Analysys Mason. Before that she headed up Research and Publications at ChorleywoodConsulting, a specialist BSSOSS consultancy which was acquired by Informa Telecoms and Media. Prior to this shewas Managing Editor at industry analysts Ovum. Teresa has authored numerous influential reports and trendspapers during her career, is a regular speaker and chair at telecoms events, and is a judge at the Global MobileAwards presented at Mobile World Congress. Teresa is passionate about helping CSPs optimise the value of theirsoftware and data, and strongly believes they will play an increasingly important role in helping CSPs differentiatetheir offering, operate profitably, and attract and retain customers.You can follow Teresa on Twitter at @teresacottam and can connect with her at www.telesperience.comAbout TelesperienceTelesperience is a UK headquartered telecoms analyst firm focused on how software and data helpscommunications service providers improve their operational efficiency, commercial agility and the customerexperience they deliver. We consider where the problems lie with legacy technology, and how companies cantransition to provide a more positive telesperience for their customers and a more profitable business forthemselves.For more information about Telesperience see www.telesperience.com, check out our blog atwww.microsperience.com or visit our B2B wiki at www.wikisperience.com.About LithiumLithium makes social software that powers the social customer experience. We help brands unlock the passion oftheir customers to build brand advocacy, drive sales, reduce service costs and accelerate innovation. Oursoftware helps companies build vibrant online communities, connect them to public social networks, and infusesocial conversations across every digital touch point.