The search for a better customer experience in telco retail

Customer experience as a key brand differentiator is at the top of strategic priorities, not only for telco retail, but for retail in general. It comes as no surprise that according to Forrester 72 percent of businesses name improving customer experience their top priority. Yet, despite all the effort, a recent survey testing the service quality of telco stores in Germany, Austria and Switzerland showed that most brands are still in the process of working towards achieving a better customer experience.



Key findings

The survey was conducted by telco industry magazine “Connect” in spring 2018. 122 testers were sent to 358 shops evaluating the shop interior, the employees’ demeanor and their advice on contracts, devices and services. Looking at the results in the study, we found especially noteworthy that:

  • customer experience varies widely across different stores of the same brand and there is no consistency in qualification and knowledge levels of employees and their ability to provide the requested information and give satisfactory advice.
  • employees seem to struggle to keep up with the broadening product portfolio of tech brands and not all of them are up-to-date regarding newly arising services.
  • waiting time often lies around the one minute mark, but can hit up to ten minutes, which is close to the duration of the actual interaction.

Summing up, we can say that, on average, the service quality in stores falls short compared to the customer experience with service hotlines, as recently shown in a survey done by the same magazine. The service hotlines could consistently deliver a very good to good service level, accompanied by high customer satisfaction. Most telco brands succeeded in improving the quality of their service hotlines but failed to achieve the same for their brick-and-mortar stores. In Germany, only a single brand managed to reach a good service level for their shops.


Our advice for better customer experience in telco retail

Most leading operators generally understand, that they need to foster a customer-centric culture and have started to dedicate resources towards improving the customer experience across all channels. However, the implementation, especially for in-store environments other than flashy flagship stores, proves to be challenging. To address the main pain points revealed by the survey we suggest to:

  • use guided-selling systems to give sales assistants the information advantage in customer interactions. Staying up-to-date regarding devices, services and technologies is increasingly difficult for employees and, in addition, customers are often well-informed. A guided selling system provides contextual information and helps to ensure a consistently high quality of advice.
  • use the available retail store space in unique and creative ways. Store layouts should allow room for personal interaction, be intuitive to navigate and designed to provide timely information and quick service at every turn. Moreover in our experience queuing and welcome management solutions have a significant impact on the customer experience. Read our previous blog post for more information.
  • aim at delivering a seamless customer experience across all channels. That, quite simply, is what customers expect. The inconsistency between service hotlines and different stores of the same brand shows there is still great potential for improvement. It also shows that different channels still exist separately. Customer journey analytics is a tool that operators can use to model all customer journeys to identify key patterns and then pinpoint the root causes for existing customer experience issues.


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Photo Stephan Berger

Written by Stephan Berger

As Head of Marketing, Stephan is in constant pursuit of the quest to bring our product vision to life and put NTS Retail's brand out there in the shape of a compelling story. A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer, he enjoys conversations with our industry experts, picking their brains and distilling their expertise into succinct copy, making the stacked knowhow at NTS Retail accessible to an audience of peers and colleagues.