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Forget fiber, telcos should deliver customer service to the home -- and fast

Customers are using multiple devices inter-operably. Now, most telcos agree it's time to offer them multi-device technical support at home.

With mobile devices taking over the home, the living room is likely the next battleground for telcos. In a recent 20-country study among 59 C-level executives, Accenture discovered that three quarters of telcos surveyed plan to launch technical support for multiple devices in the home. Customer relationships are cited as a major driver and telcos believe that they are best placed to offer this service. Consumers, however, disagree. They would certainly like one support organization, but almost 60 percent said they would generally ring their device provider for that support.

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Part of the reason for telcos focusing on this area is a belief among half of the sample that if they did not provide support, other companies - Internet or software companies, cable, satellite and media companies, or even retailers – will.

With customers wanting one company supporting the technology in their homes, which company provides the service is an open question. To that end, 86% of telcos believe they are well positioned because of their trusted relationship. They also believe that a call center approach would be the most effective way of providing the support, but customers are willing to think outside the box.

Not only did telcos underestimate customers’ willingness to pay for some types of routine computer services by 25%, but customers were prepared to go with self-directed service with online support, service provided by technicians via email, or online or are interested in support provided by technicians who could access their computer at night.

While there is widespread agreement that one point of support is needed, Accenture discovered that over half of the telcos surveyed believe that offering remote diagnostic services for devices would require capabilities that most do not have in-house at the moment. Some 39% said that the service would only be worth offering if the service itself could be outsourced while another 39% said it would be worth the investment to establish an in-house capability.
As the lines between fixed, mobile, home and away continue to blur, the need for one point of contact is clear. The question is: who is best placed to offer such a service if telcos’ trusted relationship is not trusted enough?

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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