Telcos urged to avoid ‘goldfish principle’ in customer care

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Don Peppers advises telecoms operators to be proactive when it comes to looking after customers; highlights Vodafone Turkey as a good example.

Telecoms service providers must be proactive about customer service to build loyalty, make more money, and reduce both costs and churn, Don Peppers, founding partner of customer care-focused consulting firm Peppers & Rogers Group, told CommunicAsia attendees on Wednesday.
Using examples drawn from other industries, Peppers demonstrated ways in which businesses can interact effectively with their customers.
The St George bank in Australia has systems in place that enable its ATMs to ‘remember’ what a customer usually uses them for; ″the usual: $200, no receipt,″ explained Peppers. ″They do it to make sense to their customers,″ and to show they have not subscribed to ″the goldfish principle″, he said.
Many organisations make the mistake of behaving like goldfish, Peppers said. That is, they have no memory of previous interactions with their customers. Regarding the St George bank example, he noted that with real estate for ATMs at a premium it makes sense for the company to be able to serve more people, more quickly from its existing footprint.
″By saving the customer time, you’re saving the business time,″ he said. ″If you do it right, you have lower costs.″
Peppers named Vodafone Turkey as a good example of a telecoms operator doing the right thing when it comes to looking after its customers.
″They proactively assign customers to the least expensive plan for their calling pattern,″ he said. ″They are doing it to protect your interests,″ and thereby building trust with the customer.
Customer relationship management is about treating different customers differently, Peppers said. ″Relationships are required to do this properly.″
Finally, he advised that much hinges on the skills of a company’s customer care staff.
″You need people in there,″ he said. ″The employee has to want to delight the customer.″