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Globys Research A strategic perspective on CSP B2B portals

3 signs your ‘good enough’ portal isn’t good enough for your customers

Topics: B2B Portal, Customer Experience

For carriers, the thought of revamping the business portal experience can be taxing. It takes time. It takes collaboration. And it takes resources. But how sustainable is your ‘good enough’ alternative? How do you know when a current customer experience is actually doing more harm than good?

At Globys, we have exposure to a lot of telecom portals – A LOT of telecom portals. And when we see something that isn’t working well, we share our findings and recommendations with those involved. Do these stakeholders push back or attempt to justify these shortcomings? More times than not, no. The reality is most carriers admittedly know their gaps but have reluctantly accepted the ‘good enough’ portal state.

They know the user experience isn’t exactly what customers need but it’s ‘good enough’. They know support teams are asking for more but it’s ‘good enough’. They know Sales is struggling to compete on the digital experience front but it’s ‘good enough’. In essence, they’ve ticked a portion of the boxes in the feature-list “good to have” column and stopped there, which is woefully short of today’s customer expectations.

So how does an organization know when ‘good enough’ actually isn’t good enough for your customers? Here are 3 signs your portal capabilities are falling short of your business customers’ needs:

1. Low portal adoption and minimal behavior shifts from antiquated alternatives
Is the portal a better option or just another option for your customers? For example, take a large Enterprise who has 25 accounts and 3,000 mobile subscribers. If I can only access a PDF copy of my invoice online – and have to do that task separately for each of my 25 accounts – then why not stick to the paper bills that I’ve already embedded into my internal processes?

Change isn’t easy for anyone, especially business customers. For them to trade their tried and true practices – which may be manual and slow – there must be a clear value-add in store for them.

Does your portal give your business customers what they need to save time or make more informed business decisions? Or is it easier for them to do it offline or call someone on your team to do it on their behalf?

2. Minimal increase in digital transaction volumes, rise in customer dissatisfaction
According to Google, close to half of B2B buyers are millennials, nearly double the number from 2012. These are users who embrace all things digital. But with this high acceptance, also comes high expectations.

We understand the makeup of a telecom customer relationship is far more complex than other industries. But the goal is to make the experience as simple as possible on the front end. The key here is understanding how your business customers are doing business with you. It’s unfortunate to see business portals that are clearly aligned only to the needs of consumers – one-line service changes, single account payments, individual device orders, no ad-hoc reporting. This decreases, or eliminates, the value of transacting digitally – even for this up and coming group of super digital users.

Is your portal enabling your business customers to perform transactions easier and more efficiently? Or is the lack of alignment and personalization causing frustration among users?

3. Portal not leveraged as value-add in Sales process
Everyone agrees that today’s differentiation is dependent on the customer experience. But for business customers, especially in the Enterprise segment, it’s more than having a friendly agent or an easy to use mobile app. These customers are searching for partners who can help them drive efficiencies. They’re looking for quantifiable time savings and cost reductions.

A solid portal offering is a Sales rep’s dream – as it basically sells itself with a clear value add. On the other hand, a ‘good enough’ offering is often kept under the covers during the sales process. Or even worse, coupled with custom solutions (read: manual and high cost) to move the sale to a close state.

Is your Sales team actively promoting your portal as a value-add throughout the new customer acquisition process? Or are they diverting the customer’s attention to other alternatives?

Take a few minutes and go through your business portal as a customer user. Put your internal debates, backend challenges, competing priorities, etc. out of mind. And then ask yourself – is the portal providing a better way for your customers to buy, manage, pay, and analyze their products and services? Or is it just another ‘good enough’ option, driving ‘good enough’ results?