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As highlighted in the new Ericsson Consumer and IndustryLab report "The zero-touch customer experience", service providers should evolve their customer journey into a zero-touch future, where interaction will be based on voice and gestures and supported by artificial intelligence.

The end of chasing deals

Last month I received a phone call from my mobile operator informing that my subscription period was about to end, and that I could receive a new phone as a loyalty reward if I renewed it. However, the offer was not relevant since the new plan did not fit my big mobile data needs, and the smartphone offered was of lower performance than the one I was using. So of course, I didn’t take that offer. But that call created a feeling that now I wanted an upgrade of my cracked Samsung® S6, so I decided to make the effort to search for deals. At some point, I came across information about the recently launched iPhone® X and I started to compare offers. After several attempts to contact the right department, I finally got in touch with my service provider and after crying and threatening to leave them, they ended up making me a good offer, and I renewed my contract, and bought a brand new iPhone X. However, it took me many attempts to reach them, and a lot of effort to convince them to get me a better deal, and since I am a lousy negotiator, I am not sure I made the best deal. The feeling was that I had to chase and beg for a good deal and that I spent more time than I should negotiating with my service provider.

My story is not unique. Ericsson Consumer and IndustryLab recently conducted research in seven countries: Brazil, China, Germany, South Korea, Sweden, the UK, and the US, to understand consumer interactions with mobile operators. The results reveal that despite the digitalization of recent years, consumers perceive interactions with service provider to be irrelevant, effortful, and time-consuming. A second key insight is that no difference in satisfaction could be seen whether consumers choose a traditional or digital channel. Yes, there has been a shift to smartphone apps, mobile web solutions and even chatbots, but effort and time required to get things done remains the same.

Time to play catch-up for many service providers

In contrast with many service providers, digitally leading brands are offering consumers what they want with minimal effort. In this context, service providers have a long way to go to better understand their customers and create a relevant dialogue. The expectation is that service providers shall anticipate needs and reduce the need to chase good deals. Wouldn't it be great if all this data collected about me as a consumer could be transformed into concrete advice and relevant promotions? Companies who have not yet adapted to the changing expectation and behaviors of their customers must evolve now if they want to remain relevant.

As highlighted in the new Ericsson Consumer and IndustryLab report "The zero-touch customer experience", service providers should evolve their customer journey into a zero-touch future, where interaction will be based on voice and gestures and supported by artificial intelligence. In this way, interaction could be made more relevant and efficient. In fact, more than half of smartphone users expect operators to anticipate their needs even before they realize what they are. Artificial intelligence is here to stay, the question is what role it will play in customer interactions.

Consumers appreciate, and even suggest, new solutions based on their feeling of being more empowered where AI is applied. They simply know more about (and have access to) information about themselves, their device and what is available to them in the wider marketplace.

So, to summarize some key findings:

1. Consumers feel exhausted by interactions with mobile operators
2. Current digitalization efforts mirror the analogue world
3. Consumers expect a zero-touch customer experience

 

Want to dive into more of the Zero-touch report findings?

Download report

Register for on-demand webinar June 13th

If you want to know more about our findings, please click to listen to our special webinar from June 13th, which gives a view into the thoughts and reactions of approximately 7,000 smartphone users who have had recent interactions with their service providers.

Register here

Back to my story. I hope don’t have to wait two more years until I hear from my service provider again. For sure, I hope that my interactions with them become smoother by then and that they finally provide me with relevant offers.

Read more about the Digital experience with Ericsson

 

 

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Patrik Hedlund

Patrik Hedlund

Patrik Hedlund is senior advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab. His research is focused on the role of new technology in consumers life’s. He has extensive experience from the telecom sector with previous positions in business development, product management and marketing. Hedlund holds a Master of Science in electronic engineering from the University of Uppsala.