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Saturday, April 13, 2024

How the Philippines’ digital demand is shaping telecom’s next leap

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By Deepak Talwar, Regional Vice President, APAC, Amdocs

In the recent years, digital transformation has swept across industries, altering the landscape of customer service and expectations. In the Philippines, a country known for its rapidly growing digital economy, customers are not just embracing this change; they are actively driving it. A recent Amdocs survey (2023) reveals that almost 90% of Filipino customers are happy to engage with their mobile operators’ digital channels, including chatbots and live chats. But as they enjoy the convenience of digital solutions, they maintain a strong preference for the human touch in customer service.

The “Netflix Effect” is reshaping customer expectations. Filipino consumers have tasted the high standard of user experience offered by leading streaming apps, and other digital apps like Grab, and expect nothing less from their service providers. They demand the ease of use, personalization, and responsiveness they get from platforms like Netflix or Grab. This shift in expectation creates a new benchmark for Communications Service Providers (CSPs)—to deliver digital experiences that are not just functional but as engaging and intuitive as the best in the entertainment or other industries.

However, a more in-depth look at the survey data and qualitative study of consumer behavior indicates a nuanced reality. While 87% of respondents find digital channels offered by CSPs engaging and helpful, there’s an underlying desire for an advanced user experience comparable to their favorite video streaming apps. This is an era where seamless navigation, tailored recommendations, and uninterrupted service are the norms, and anything less is quickly noticed and frowned upon.

The survey’s findings underscore a significant opportunity for mobile and broadband service providers. An overwhelming majority of users expressed satisfaction with digital tools provided by their CSPs. Yet, 73% yearn for the “Netflix-like” service from their telecom providers, pushing for a transformation that mirrors the simplicity and pleasure of streaming services.

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The power of online support is evident, with 40% of mobile users in the Philippines reporting a good experience with chatbots and live chats. Yet, it’s not without its challenges. A quarter of the respondents still felt the need to reach out to customer support call centers, signifying that while digital tools are preferred for their speed and autonomy, they cannot entirely replace the nuanced understanding and empathy of a human agent.

This preference for human interaction is not just about resolving complex issues. It’s about feeling heard and understood. The efficiency of resolving queries in a single call, as experienced by one-third of the survey participants, is crucial. Customers value their time and look for quick resolutions, but they also seek the assurance that comes with human support.

Customers always want more, but businesses often can’t keep up, creating an “Experience Gap.” Even with lots of money spent on technology and processes, this gap still hurts growth and profits. Just being good enough isn’t enough anymore. To really help their business, companies need to combine smart design, creativity, AI, and strong technology. This is a pivotal moment for telcos. AI technologies can be a game-changer here, enabling CSPs to overcome this experience gap challenge. There’s an opportunity for CSPs to harness AI not just for efficiency, but for crafting personalized and compelling customer journeys.

The survey indicates that the future of customer support will be a hybrid model that combines the efficiency of AI with the empathy of human service. Intelligent chatbots, predictive customer service, and personalized experiences are not distant dreams but immediate goals. By leveraging AI, CSPs can foster a more engaged and loyal customer base.

In conclusion, the digital experience is not just a functional necessity but a critical competitive differentiator. Businesses must rise to the occasion, transforming their customer service by integrating the efficiency of AI with the warmth of human support. By doing so, they can satisfy the heightened expectations of a customer base that knows what excellent digital service looks like and is not willing to settle for less. In the ever-evolving digital economy landscape, it is those providers who can offer a service that is not just on par with the best digital experiences but also retains the human touch, who will thrive.

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