Too many Service Providers make the mistake of adopting an all or nothing mentality when it comes to customer engagement. They incorrectly assume that all of the engagement has to be digital. And because Service Providers can’t transact their services like Amazon.com, they just throw in the towel and don’t even attempt a phased approach that eventually will lead to a world class digital customer engagement experience.

Customer engagement is a hot topic because of its impact on the bottom line. With advances in marketing technology and the shift to a largely digital advertising landscape, we can quantify almost everything when it comes to our customer engagement efforts.

But before we can even begin to quantify something like customer engagement–the topic of this post–we have to be able to define it. Surprisingly, most of the Telecom Service Providers I’ve worked with around the globe come up short in their definitions and don’t fully understand the significance or impact of this key issue.

How Do You Define Customer Engagement and Why Does It Matter?

At Cisco, we define customer engagement as every interaction with your customers throughout the customer journey.

“Every Interaction”

So when we’re talking about interactions, it’s important to note that we’re not JUST talking about digital interactions. We may live in a digital first world, but we certainly don’t live in a digital only world. How you engage with your customers offline matters, too. To put it simply,

customer engagement = digital + non-digital engagement

For example, even though the process to actually provision telecom services may be very much a people intensive process for a Service Provider, there are other parts of the process–other customer touch points–that can still be simplified to improve the customer experience.

“Throughout The Customer Journey” 

The other piece I want to highlight is the importance of the word “throughout.” Customer engagement is a journey, not a destination. And this is especially true in a subscription economy, where your business relies on renewals.

So with that in mind, where does the customer journey begin? In fact, it starts before somebody is a customer. It starts when someone has a need for your product; when they go online and begin searching for it.

The journey continues when they go on to purchase the product to when they set it up and implement the service. Sometimes this requires multiple interactions (both digital and non-digital) from the Service Provider.

And the journey never stops. This is the most important thing to keep in mind in when it comes to customer engagement. Because once somebody has become a customer and has been onboarded, customer success is defined by how you continue to engage with them to upsell services, cross-sell services, prevent churn, and overall keep them engaged as a customer. This is how, overtime, you increase your revenue per customer in a subscription economy.

How We Can Help You

Cisco recently launched a new program, the Digital Accelerator for Service Providers, to help Service Providers improve customer engagement along each part of the customer journey.

In order to provide more detail on how Cisco can help Service Providers drive customer engagement, please look for the next three parts of this blog where we will discuss the different engagement models for various customer segments. The first blog will address the SMB segment and its unique customer engagement models. Blog two will address the mid market segment, and finally blog three will focus on Large Enterprise engagement strategies.



D.P. Venkatesh

Digital Engagement Leader

Collaboration Technology Group CTG