T-Mobile Embraces Online Customer Care to Strengthen Loyalty

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By blending its social support strategy with its emerging live chat channel, T-Mobile's enhanced, consistent service spans across all touchpoints to ensure quick resolutions and customer satisfaction.
Customer Service
Bronze: Customer Analytics

Business Boost: By working to augment efficiency, T-Mobile was able to decrease the average service response wait time by two minutes and average handle time by 150 seconds, improving resolution rates by 6 percent.

Loyalty and trust are often the result of an open, honest relationship that allows room for growth. Yet, while that might sound like the recipe for success in the personal realm, these elements weigh heavily on the longevity of brand relationships, as well.

In March 2013, T-Mobile launched its "un-carrier" initiative, which was designed to free customers from the standard obligations of the wireless industry by eliminating yearly contracts and early termination fees. Thus, in doing so, customer loyalty became an even more critical focus, as the nationwide brand sought to offer world-class customer service across all touchpoints.

"By freeing our customers from contracts, we have given them the option to walk away from our service at any time, for any reason," says Jen Palmer, director of knowledge management and social media service. "If we don't provide the service our customers want, expect, and deserve, they can leave us. So it's our responsibility to consistently earn our customers' loyalty by resolving their issues and providing the best experience in our services, our offers, and across all customer interactions, whether it's in store, over the phone, on social media, or through online chat."

Just as T-Mobile chose to change, the wireless carrier also recognized a shift in consumer behavior, as more customers took to the Web to find information and request service. However, the company's social success outpaced its live chat options, thereby leading to its latest analytic innovation. T-Mobile chose to apply the customer service lessons learned in social, such as communicating effectively and solving problems through text-only conversation, directly to chat. By redirecting its internal focus to examine and align with consumer behavior, T-Mobile planned to optimize the company's holistic online engagement program through its data-driven, analytical approach to understanding customer interactions. Thus, the brand moved to develop the right partnerships, processes, and tools to execute this endeavor efficiently, ultimately bringing the channels together, aligning resources, and providing a better, more consistent customer experience across channels.

By partnering with TouchCommerce, T-Mobile created a systematic, repeatable approach to benchmarking the quality of customer chat experiences and monitoring real-time chat volumes, enabling the carrier to efficiently staff agents and reallocate resources as demand dictates. The core objective of this partnership aimed to provide enhanced customer analytics and reporting, enabling T-Mobile to seamlessly gauge whether the right customer service agents are involved and if representatives are properly empowered to do their job. T-Mobile also wanted to determine why customers were contacting the company and evaluate their experience with the chat team in an effort to understand consumer behavior and empower service agents with the insights necessary to be more available and responsive to online inquiries.

T-Mobile adopted a new internal motto-listen, engage, and resolve-while the social support team adopted its newfound responsibilities, as the brand believed it would be beneficial to blend best practices from social to improve chat. The carrier then focused on two central metrics to quantify its understanding of the customer experience and apply said data to measure performance and make decisions.

While the myVOC score represents insights from customer surveys, the GRE score evaluates courtesy, concern, and resolution based upon internal chat transcripts. Each metric provides T-Mobile with a more holistic view of the customer experience, allowing the company to identify opportunities for improvement. As a result of T-Mobile's live chat advancements, myVOC scores increased by 0.2, while GRE internal quality measurement scores jumped +0.1. In return, the average customer wait time decreased by two minutes, average handle time decreased by 150 seconds, and resolution rates grew by 6 percent.

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EXPERT OPINION