Why Traditional Customer Service Models Just Don’t Cut It: Part 2

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In last week’s blog, we explored the benefits of customer self-service; however, creating a valuable customer portal is not a simple task. Self-service has been part of the retail and banking landscape for years, but the broadband services industry faces a number of additional challenges:

Integration with multiple legacy systems: Different backend systems, like billing and operations support, can cause integration headaches when creating a customer portal. How will you avoid multiple log-ins and ensure the interface is simple to use?

Skill level of subscribers: It’s important to ensure that any self-service portal remains user-friendly and easy to understand for all subscribers. While some customers will be comfortable with advanced options, step-by-step guides and an obvious way to contact a CSR by phone, chat, or email is also required.

Services offered in the portal: Do you want customers to be able to view their bandwidth usage and monthly payments? What about add-on services, limited-time packages, or parental controls? This will affect integration with different platforms in your business.

Look for a solution that allows for flexibility and integration with legacy systems. You will need to:

Identify Your Goals

Decide what tasks you want customers to perform on their own. This might include:

  • Updating personal details and preferences for paying bills

  • Viewing network settings and/or bandwidth usage

  • Diagnosing potential quality of service issues (such as interference with the home WiFi signal)

Keep in mind that additional functionality may require integration with various backend processes and legacy platforms.

Think Outside the Box

Self-service can go beyond simply viewing usage or changing preferences.

  • Consider including different types of content to help customers on their journey. For example, an FAQ page or Knowledgebase may enable your customers to resolve some quality of experience (QoE) issues.

  • Analyze your customers to understand exactly what tools are needed to encourage adoption of self-service. This is more than just a matter of educating subscribers — you need to be able to anticipate common downstream issues and have a plan in place for when self-service is not the best option.

Keep it Simple

A portal should make it easy for customers to find answers, including guiding them to the appropriate channel or content type that suits their level of expertise. For example:

  • Choosing to provide step-by-step instructions for a purchase

  • Clearly showing the status of any transaction or process

  • Using straightforward language and an easy-to-use interface to help prevent confusion

  • Supplementing your portal with a quick way to contact a customer service representative

Offering self-service portals for broadband services lets you empower your subscribers, reduce wait times for issue resolution, and lower churn. It also lets you reduce expensive customer care calls and truck rolls; however, it’s important to always have back-up support for when a subscriber needs more information. Providing thorough and well-planned self-service can go a long way to improve customer satisfaction while reducing business costs, as long as your portal integrates seamlessly with existing back-end systems and billing.

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