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How to build trust in the telecoms industry

We all rely on the telecoms industry. Businesses especially, cannot afford any downtime, as it could lead to a loss in customers. With our data demands growing every year, there is huge pressure on the telecoms industry to deliver a perfect service, to everyone.

Stories of serious data breaches, poor customer experience, misleading adverts and unreliable service have created distrust within the industry. In 2016, telecoms saw the second most complaints of any industry, just behind retail. This air of unhappiness means providers are losing out on £2.98 billion in revenue, because customers are spending less.

So, what can telecoms businesses do to rebuild trust within the industry? We explore the main issues, and what can be done to help solve them.

Understand the power of word of mouth

Telecoms is a competitive industry, so it’s no surprise that word of mouth has a big influence. Consumers who are considering switching their current communications provider will typically conduct a variety of research, including, searching for reviews, asking friends and family for advice, and using independent consumer advice websites, such as Which?.

Therefore, how your brand is perceived is important. Every point of interaction should be evaluated, from high street stores, to call centres and social media channels. If a customer has just one poor interaction on Twitter, or with an in-store employee, they could share this experience with others. This makes your business look untrustworthy and unprofessional.

On the other hand, great experiences encourage conversation, improve loyalty and help to nurture customer relationships. Focus on creating these experiences, and you’ll soon win over consumers.

Deliver incredible customer service

Customer service call centre

Convenience and connectivity are no longer differentiators within the telecoms industry; instead, customer service holds much higher importance. Only 19% of broadband customers say they would give up their level of customer service for lower prices, according to an EY report.

Currently, the telecoms sector is facing a customer service challenge. While the majority of mobile (92%), landline (89%) and broadband (87%) customers are satisfied with the service they receive, when complaints do arise, they are poorly handled. Only 56% of broadband and 57% of mobile customers said they were happy overall with how complaints are handled by their provider.

This highlights a huge potential to improve, and businesses that can show they have an excellent customer service track record will build trust, ensuring they stand out from the competition.

Be more transparent

A key challenge facing the telecoms industry is transparency and clarity. A huge 68% of consumers claim they find their phone bills difficult to understand, according to Brite:Bill. EY’s report highlights that more than half of broadband customers feel so confused by introductory offers, they struggle to find the best deal.

Customers who don’t feel confident they are getting the best deal, or are paying the right amount, are unlikely to trust or feel loyal towards their provider. Being misled, and not receiving the service advertised, is another worry for consumers. For this reason, the way broadband speeds are advertised is changing. New rules, which come into effect on 23rd May 2018, will stop broadband companies from advertising ‘up to’ speeds, which only need to be achieved by 10% of customers. Instead, providers will only be able to state average speeds, which must be available to at least 50% of customers during peak time.

Telecoms companies needn’t wait for new rules and regulations to change the way they communicate to their customers. Honesty goes a long way towards building trust, and it’s another factor that will place your brand head and shoulders above others. 

Improve security

Data breaches are a problem for many industries, and telecoms is particularly notorious. In one of the most high-profile cases the industry has seen, TalkTalk were fined a record £400,000 in 2016, for security failings that led to the theft of 156,959 customers’ personal data.

Cyber attacks are inevitable, and cannot always be prevented, but businesses must do all they can to protect and encrypt customer data. Both consumers and businesses are trusting you with their most personal information, after all. To ensure that people feel confident in your business, you must communicate how their data is being used, stored and protected.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect in May 2018, will not only force businesses to be more transparent about how customer information is stored and used, it will also place bigger penalties on companies trying to cover up data breaches. Ensuring your telecoms business is compliant with this new regulation is vital.

Give your customers a voice

To build trust in your telecoms business, you must first understand what you’re doing right, and more importantly, what you’re doing wrong. Gathering this information from genuine customers is vital, and the first step in rebuilding lost trust.

The telecoms industry will face many challenges over the next few years. Don’t let a lack of trust be one of them.   

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