Why the Telecom Industry needs Conversational Chatbots: Benefits, Use Cases and Key Features

telecom conversational chatbot

Companies from all industries are persistently seeking to expand their business value while adapting to new changes within their sector. The telecommunications industry is a clear reflection of this. As new technologies emerge, the fastest growers in telecoms are adopting these innovations to provide better value to their customers and their businesses. Telecommunication companies are progressively serving larger areas and user bases. While this is good news for them, it also means that they receive vast amounts of customer queries that require 24/7 support. One of the most recent innovations within the telecom landscape that is helping with this issue are chatbots (Often also referred to as Intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs), virtual customer assistants (VCAs) and digital employees.

For the telecom industry, providing phone and internet services isn’t enough. There is a relentless focus on improving customer experience and adapt to new digital technologies to keep ahead in the market. With customer queries ranging from straightforward questions to complex inquiries needing expert assistance, chatbots are a great solution to numerous problems regarding customer support.

Furthermore, along with the massive increase in demand on data and self-service, and situations like the Covid-19 crisis forcing more and more people to work from home, the need to optimize call center resources has never been more important.

The gauntlet has been thrown to deliver the most advanced, intelligent and humanlike virtual assistant, and artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to assist customers proficiently and in varied scopes. For example, whilst simple bots can be scripted for answering FAQs, more advanced bots and virtual agents can use machine learning and natural language processing to recognise customer intentions, by analysing the relationship between words, to discover what a customer requires and subsequently hold a conversation. Not only will this be a great relief to support personnel, but it will also add value to a company and increased customer satisfaction.

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Chatbot Use Cases in the Telecoms industry

Chatbots can do more than manage requests quickly and efficiently. Here we look at some of the ways chatbots can boost business value in telecoms.

Enhance Customer Support

Telecom chatbots can help clients find what they are looking for quickly and 24/7. Apart from saving time and resources by directly replying to FAQs or simple and repetitive issues, chatbots can redirect customers to appropriate departments when matters are more complex. By picking up useful information on the problem and the customer, the feedback provided by chatbots can help the support agent resolve the query.  

Additionally, chatbots can be helpful in en-masse situations where major problems affect many clients in a specific moment. By dealing with the massive amounts of queries at that given time, clients do not need to wait to explain and file their problems or concerns. Also, chatbots provide smoother experiences for customers, particularly when dealing quickly with issues that can span different departments. These actions will result in considerable growth in customer retention.

Resolve Technical Issues

Customer experience is intrinsically linked to business value. Customers searching through forums or tedious FAQs are often frustrated and prone to lose their loyalty to a telecoms company. Conversational chatbots allow users to resolve technical issues and find that they can rely on the company for assistance, no matter how technical it may be.

Increase Workforce Productivity

Chatbots can resolve repetitive and time-consuming duties and speed up mainstream queries. This allows agents to focus on more complicated issues that improve workforce productivity, like resolving complex queries, back-office operations or carry out staff training

Provide Personalised Advice

Chatbots needn’t only resolve queries. They can suggest better deals for their customers, review their subscriptions, notify on pending payments and provide personalised information in a conversational and secure way. Telecom chatbots can serve as listeners to better understand customer behaviour and desires. That way, every conversation is not only a query that is resolved but an opportunity to learn more about customers and to personalize future interactions based on what they like, dislike, have done in the past and plan for the future. By keeping track of accounts, sentiment analysis, payments and user habits, chatbots can help customers make better choices and strengthen brand loyalty.

Boost Sales with Promotion and Cross-Selling

Telecoms companies provide numerous services and products. Keeping tabs on customer preferences and past behaviour from previous conversations is a perfect opportunity to proactively suggest upgrades or tailored services that best meet each customer´s needs. For example, by knowing if a customer is persistently travelling or calling specific countries, chatbots can suggest better international roaming deals. A simple request on tariffs can become an opportunity to offer a better deal to a client and a longer subscription. This can increase sales and acquisitions.

Improve Fraud Prevention

The rapid expansion of telecommunication services has also brought along a surge in fraud rates and growing security and data privacy concerns. According to Capgemini, telecom is listed among the industries that are most vulnerable to cyber fraud schemes and cybersecurity breaches. Last year alone, the telecom industry suffered €29 billion in fraud losses.

Machine learning can detect unknown traffic deviations and patterns that indicate potential bad actors that cause data breaches and disrupt networks. Chatbots are also capable of monitoring and recognising warning signs and irregular behaviour and issue alerts directly to a customer or the company.

Go Beyond Solving Problems

Conversational platforms help telecom companies understand client behaviour. Chatbots are a great channel for collecting valuable customer feedback, as they are more likely to be viewed and used than emails and phone calls. Additionally, telecom companies are beginning to use chatbots to build customer engagement and interactive discussions on hobbies and services that are of interest to users, therefore serving a more entertainment-based service rather than simply resolving problems.  

These services increase business value in several ways. Firstly, chatbots improve the quality of customer interaction by assisting users 24/7 and in a consistent and unbiased manner, even though bots can be personalised to favour, for example, Premium users of a service. Chatbots are also efficient, as they save time and costs and raise the effectiveness of human personnel by allowing them to focus on the more complex issues. By digitalising customer queries, chatbots also give room for analysis of customer trends and interaction with a company to know how users engage with a brand and what concerns them. 

Features of a Telecom Chatbot

Chatbots should do more than just solve regular problems using linear conversational flows, and Conversational AI is more advanced than first-gen chatbots. Here are some of the characteristics that distinguish them:

Conversational

A common cause of frustration when talking to chatbots is that is easy to find that the chatbot doesn’t understand what is being said. Too often, conversations must follow a linear path and if something falls slightly out of context, or a synonym is used instead of a precise word, the chatbot gets lost. Being able to speak naturally to a bot, and be understood, is a key objective and a major feature of modern Conversational AI platforms.

Transactional

Modern chatbots must be able to execute operations and not simply provide status updates or information. In Telecoms, conversational bots can send notifications and offer better deals and promotions in the same way a physical agent can. To do so, conversational platforms need to be integrated with back-office systems through Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This is a complex task that differentiates the best conversational platforms from the rest.

Multi-Channel

Chatbot technology can be deployed on multiple channels, which makes customer experience a lot smoother. The best conversational platforms include connectors that allow the use of different channels so that customers can use assistants in the way that best suits them.

Reliable

Customer profiles can hold personal and financial data. Telecom services must prove to be less prone to errors than humans and carry out actions that are precise to what the customer needs.

Security

Since telecom services carry out actions that deal with private customer data, it is important that the technology complies with European regulation -GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and that the data is not passed to third parties and can be encrypted and deleted when necessary.

Conversational Platforms can also be integrated with centralized authentication systems.

We have seen that chatbots are influential in helping to increase revenues by maintaining customer retention and loyalty. To do so, however, much care must be taken to improve customer experience and drive usage within integrated and personalized conversational platforms. Choosing the right platform to carry out secure, intelligent and scalable tasks is vital to boost a company’s success and business value.

Want to know more about Conversational AI in Telecom? Register for our upcoming webinar.

Upcoming Webinar

Learn How Swisscom uses Conversational AI to Gain a Competitive Advantage

April 7 at 11 am CET

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Author:
Andy, who lives with his family in the UK, is Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Artificial Solutions. A regular speaker at industry conferences and events, Andy delivers insight on the rise of AI, the challenges businesses face and the future of intelligent conversational applications.

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