After publishing our 2nd Annual Communications Service Provider (CSP) Consumer Survey, we found an odd statistic: 43% of millennials prefer to use the phone to contact their CSP. That contradicts Forbes’ claims that millennials prefer NOT to use the phone. So, what gives?

Dialing up the Dollars

We asked the University of Texas at Austin to conduct a millennial focus group. Interestingly, their conversations validated that the “most effective way for a millennial to get a problem resolved or question answered was to call their CSP.” Although many didn’t enjoy the experience of spending time on the phone, they felt it was worth it to reach a real person who could address their specific situation. Millennials, in this case, simply use the phone for convenience and they feel it’s the most direct way to resolve a problem.

A better solution for CSPs?

From the CSP perspective this is not good news. “Care Agents” who manage these inbound calls have to be multi-skilled across many systems and functions. As a result, call centers are the most expensive channel for customer care. Given the high cost of support through an agent, CSPs are searching for innovative ways to empower customers to resolve and answer their own questions.

Are there options to give the customer information offered in the right digital channel (i.e. Online, App, Mobile) to independently resolve their issues without a phone call? In our June 2016, Quality of Experience in a Digital World: A CSP Action Plan for Millennials and Beyond, although we did see a slight increase in millennials use of digital channels versus the phone, there is still room improvement and here’s some reasons why Millennials (18-34) Don’t use Mobile Apps for CSP Care”:

Support I need may not be available23%
Mobile Apps are unsafe for personal info16%
I didn’t know there was a Mobile App14%
I don’t use Mobile Apps12%
I had poor experience using a Mobile App11%
 Mobile App process too complicated11%
Mobile Apps are unreliable11%

Most perceived the digital channel as being unable to resolve their problem or unsafe for personal information. Another insight was that many millennials didn’t even know digital channels like Mobile Apps or Help via a set top box were available.What’s a CSP to do?

Strategies to dial down CSP phone cost

Consider these three recommendations to change millennial behavior:

  • Review DataUse your data – look at call drivers and digital channel abandonment data to find the low hanging fruit like better bill reminders, usage information, and bill explanations. Another approach is to examine call drivers and digital abandonment areas to identify some very specific measures that can be taken.
  • Create simple digital solutions to address them. I recently started service with a new cable provider. When my first bill was due, I received an email. In that email I had a link to a Mobile App that I could use to pay my bill. A download and a couple of clicks later my bill was paid. Now I’m a digital convert – no paper, no calls, no hassle.
  • Let your customers know about easy solutions on digital channels. Promote and incentivze customers to use digital; make it benefit them! Also, make the most of your customer contact by telling, or better yet, showing them how to use the digital channels. When a technician finishes an install, have the customer activate it on their mobile device. Then, show the customer how to use the Mobile App to verify that service is working and how to troubleshoot common issues.

In summary, millennial and non-millennial CSP customers don’t use the phone because they want to chat. It’s simply the most direct path to resolution. CSPs aiming to reduce calls can do so by creating customer self-help options using digital channels. However, these options must be easy to find and easier to use. They also must be advertised, promoted and customers will need an incentive to use them.

More info detail, download our Quality of Experience in a Digital World: A CSP Action Plan for Millennials and Beyond report today.

Sara Mihan

Sara Mihan

Sara Mihan is a Senior Manager within Cognizant Business Consulting’s Communication and Technology Practice. Sara has over 17 years of experience as... Read more