At the Answers.com conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, Nearshore Americas’ Loren Moss caught up with Kerry Sikora, the senior manager for web operations at T-Mobile, and a current customer of Answers.com’s ForeSee platform, to understand how they are tying together the web, the call center, and the retail customer experience.
Nearshore Americas: T-Mobile USA obviously has a different approach to customer experience than some of the other carriers. How do you measure customer experience?
Kerry Sikora: A majority of our subscribers, or potential subscribers, buys in store or from the contact center, but they will do almost all of their research online. So we really keep a good eye on those researchers that are looking at our products and plans, making sure that we’re giving them the information they need, when they want. We very much look at those future behaviors, trying to find out what they will likely to buy in store. If that’s not showing very good, we will dig deeper, finding out the ‘whys’ and how do we fix that.
We encourage online sales because it’s the lowest cost channel. But it’s really more about making sure that the customers are making an informed decision and that they want to come to T-Mobile. Once they come on board, we try everything we can to make sure that they get the best online experience.
If your child turns 15, it’s time to get her a phone. Well, whatever the case may be, we make phones available both online and in store. We provide them with information, making sure that the information is right, and that they understand it so that they can make a qualified decision.
I want to be able to connect ForeSee data directly to anything that actually happens in-store. I would love to see that we have that retail one as well and that we can even tie those dots together and say, “Hey, if you came in and purchased, did you research online? You know, did you have what you need?” So, we can see that we’re connecting those pieces together.
Nearshore Americas: How do you measure? If I go online and I research, but I don’t go further and purchase it online; instead I go right into your store and purchase that?
Kerry Sikora: Well, yeah, there is channel conflict, right? It’s difficult to do that: Look at those future behavior scores and maybe try and even get it down by region and see if an area is more likely to have future behaviors; find out if there is an increase in sales. But right now it’s really difficult to tie the two together.
Nearshore Americas: I guess this is probably an industry wide question, not specific to T-Mobile. What are still the biggest sources of churn and the biggest frustrations for carriers who try to reduce churn rate or improve their customer experience?
Kerry Sikora: Cost of bill, overages, just bad service in general. I think a lot of the moves that we’ve made about making your phone a Wi-Fi hotspot in your home, so if you have those dead places in your home, you’re not relying on our towers, you’re actually writing it off of your own Wi-Fi. So I think the Wi-Fi calling and all of those kinds of things have helped a lot, at least for us. Our churn rates have continuously gone down over the last year. We are adding more subscribers and we’re taking a lot away from other carriers, particularly from Sprint. We’re also taking a lot away from AT&T and Verizon. Our churn rates are going down as well, so we’re not only gaining new but we’re retaining also.
Nearshore Americas: What about the customers that call in? What are you doing to capture that satisfaction, that information, and then how does that relate? How does it tie into the web experience?
Kerry Sikora: We’re going to be working on IVR survey with ForeSee in our sales contact centers so those people who are brand new and looking to buy versus the standard call centers where “hey, I’m having a problem with my phone,” and “I don’t understand my bill” kind of thing. And then we’re always looking at JD Power, it is all about winning that pretty award. I understand it’s important, I think there’s more that could be done in that area to make sure that they’re focusing on the right place.
This article was originally published in NSAM’s sister publication, Customer Experience Report.