Higher satisfaction at lower costs:
Digitizing customer care
By: Francesco Banfi /// Boris Gbahoué /// Jeremy Schneider
RECALL No.22 – Digital marketing
Higher satisfaction at lower costs: Digitizing customer care
Does it make a difference whether telecoms players handle customer interactions online or via traditional channels? The answer
may surprise you.
Handling customer issues online might seem like
a simple incremental addition to traditional call
centers and retail stores, but McKinsey research
shows that, done well, it can represent a paradigm
shift in customer satisfaction. Digital customer
care (“eCare”) responds to consumer demand for
easily ...view middle of the document...
Nearly 65 percent of social media
users go digital when seeking consumer ratings,
62 percent do so for consumer reviews, and half
routinely visit company Web sites. These figures
exceed traditional call center use (47 percent),
-mail (45 percent), or live chat (30 percent).
Another intriguing element in this digital migration
is the willingness of large numbers of consumers to proactively extend help to others on the
brands and products they love the most. Depending on age group, from 38 to 48 percent of survey
respondents agreed with the statement: “I want to
help other customers with problems or questions
about the brands I love and use.” Harnessing this
willing reservoir of digital channel expertise is a
major opportunity for telcos.
Digital media have moved elements of telco
customer care far beyond the company gate
(Exhibit 1). Increasingly, consumers themselves
are responding to customer queries and providing
customer service. Two different levels of this peerto-peer (P2P) consumer interaction exist. One
focuses on ad hoc interactions via forums, blogs,
and social networks. The other consists of rich
communities, where consumers can crowd-source
their questions and where highly engaged brand
promoters are recognized and rewarded.
The benefits of best-in-class eCare
Telcos with successful eCare strategies typically
realize considerable benefits – not just in the
form of lower costs: they also achieve enhanced
customer satisfaction, richer differentiation, and
higher brand advocacy.
Lower costs. The cost reduction potential of eCare
is relatively straightforward. While traditional methods such as regular mail, e-mail, or click-to-call
all hover around the call center cost, the costs of
digital approaches are estimated to be significantly
Digital media expanded traditional traditional customer
Digitalmedia havehave expandedcustomer care boundaries care boundaries
Who has access to
Increasing automation and sophisticated digital channels (including social
media) are triggering further evolution
Several questions need addressing to
steer this change
– Who to engage and how?
– How to manage scale?
– How to measure impact?
Telco and consumer(s)
Who provides the “customer service”?
lower. Assuming an operative is able to handle
multiple chats in parallel, digital chats are only just
over half of a call center’s cost (the baseline), at
56 percent. Online forums and FAQs cost 12 percent of the baseline, while community solutions
are even lower at just 9 percent. The latter figure
emerges because case analyses show that even
though many queries are answered by community
users, some do require a response from telco staff.
One mobile operator, for...