Over the last few years the telecom market has experienced a drastic shift in how it needs to operate. Communications Service Providers (CSP's) are facing fierce competition from their legacy carrier rivals and from new over-the-top entrants that have established loyal customers bases. However, the biggest hurdles to overcome come from within. Traditional operations have led to a major disconnect between marketing and the sales channels. Data is siloed, causing marketing programs to lack intelligent and personalized acquisition strategies, and sales has poor follow up on new leads. To win, CSP's need to revolutionize their customer acquisition strategy and lead management process. Here are three key ways CSP's can build a customer-centric foundation to convert more leads and keep them ahead ahead of the competition.

  1. Create one customer experience: Step back and think about the buying journey. How does someone research devices, plans, and pick their carrier? It's not as easy for consumers to choose as it was before. Many carriers sound the same and are in a race to the bottom on price. Services are slashed and what the buyer gets isn't always 100% clear. How can a potential customer make a decision when your own channels contradict each other — with different messages and information provided online, when they call for help, or visit your store. The shoppers’ journey across channels has become cumbersome, inconsistent, and impersonal.
  2. To resolve, it's time to step back and put the customer at the center of the conversation. It's not overly difficult to unify messages across channels — it's an easy win that just takes some coordination. What's harder is to break down the data silos, and.look for ways to unify sales and marketing systems to create a seamless experience for your customers. The web, store, and call center should all feel like one brand and one team working to serve the customer.
  3. Empower Employees to work faster, smarter, and the way they need to: CSP employees don't have it easy. They are blind to activity that is happening outside their swim lane and have to replicate work, customer records, and more before they are able to convert a customer. Employees don’t have visibility to prospective customers’ context when they engage via sales channels. They are handcuffed by legacy systems and are not empowered to effectively manage lead interactions.
  4. Breaking down data silos and integrating customer activity across channels will help your employees increase productivity. Think about this — one of your loyal customers is trying to upgrade, but isn't happy with the options available. They abandon online and the record is passed to a customer rep in the call center. That rep can be proactive and reach out to the customer and help them with their upgrade. Creating one system of record will enable employees to work faster and smarter to better serve the customer in a timely fashion.
  5. Personalize the journey: Customers are entering your lead funnel at different stages of the buying journey and at different levels of exposure to your brand. Yet many CSP's treat every person coming out of the store, visiting the website, or calling for help the same. Segmentation is a good start, but its necessary to map out the journey for a loyal customer versus a new prospect. To effectively do this, you need to ask your team a few questions. Questions like: How should the call center interaction go? How should customers be greeted at the store? What information does your team need to make it personal? Then start to map out each touch that will lead from interest to conversion and how to make it relevant to the customer.

Salesforce has a solution to help CSP's unify the prospect journey. Trailblazers like T-Mobile have deployed it to supercharge lead generation, prospect conversion, and create a seamless conversation with their customer. They were able to turn their brand into their only channel and you can too. Visit salesforce.com/communications to see more!