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How customer empowerment can help altnet providers to meet installation targets

How can providers ensure that customers are ready to provide access? We outline how to provide a modern customer experience that increases first-time access and reduces costs.

Internet customer receives SMS ETA update for installation appointment

Our work, leisure and consumer lives increasingly take place online. Fast broadband has become essential to enjoy flexible work, increase productivity, and gain access to vital services.

Independent networks (Altnets) are stepping up to the plate by bringing full-fibre connectivity to areas which have traditionally been underserved.

As a result, these networks are under pressure to meet ambitious rollout targets. It’s therefore essential that installation appointments run smoothly.

And with highly-skilled engineers on the road, missed appointments can prove costly.

So how can providers ensure that customers are ready to provide access?
In this article, we’ll outline how to provide a modern customer experience that increases first-time access and reduces costs.


Give customers a hassle-free way to reschedule

Customers are used to the on-demand economy: They expect service appointments to work around their schedule. But rescheduling appointments by telephone can feel like a hassle. The process uses up valuable contact centre resources while wasting customers’ time.

By giving customers access to a web-based portal, you can cut out the middleman. Customers can confirm if they’ll be at home, or choose a more convenient time if needed.

As well as reducing call-centre volumes, you’ll see a reduction in missed appointments: When customers are in control, they’re more likely to be at home.


Remind and remind again

When consumers shop online, they receive an order confirmation and SMS updates about their delivery. There’s no reason not to provide the same experience for installation appointments.

Timely reminders help customers to prepare mentally and practically for the installation.

Depending on your business needs, you might send an SMS  when the job is created, on the morning of the visit, or when a technician is assigned. This is also an ideal time to give instructions that the customer needs to be aware of.

A simple reminder makes customers much more likely to be on-site and ready for their appointment.


Let customers track their engineer’s arrival

On the day of an appointment, the traditional approach is to provide a three-to-four hour arrival window.

Engineers may then be required to telephone customers when they’re on their way.

A more effective approach is to provide a “shrinking ETA window”. In other words, give customers up-to-date information as it becomes available.

For instance, it’s good practice to provide a one-hour window on the morning of the appointment, followed by a fifteen-minute window when the technician is on their way. You can trigger an SMS automatically based on job status or geolocation, with no need to manually telephone the customer.

Include a link to a real-time map, and you'll deliver an experience to rival eCommerce and delivery services. Customers can track their engineer’s arrival in real-time and get ready to provide access.

It’s a win-win tactic. Users benefit from the digital-first customer experience that they expect, while your business avoids costly missed appointments.


Empower customers and operatives

We’ve seen how SMS notifications can reduce missed appointments. But communication doesn’t have to be a one-way street.

Customers often have important information that they’d like to share, but no way to get the message to the engineer. This can slow down access or even result in no-access situations.

By adding two-way chat to your engineer tracking portal, you can empower customers and operatives to share vital details.

Typically, customers’ messages help to:

  • Speed up access (”Come to the side entrance”)
  • Prevent failed appointments (”I’ll be back in five minutes”)
  • Provide crucial information (”Wait at the gate, I have dogs!”)


Get actionable feedback

No matter how fast your customers’ new broadband might be, the day of installation will impact their perception of your business. And we know that happy customers cost less to serve, that long tenure is cost-effective, and that advocacy and reputation have a tangible value.

It’s therefore vital to collect feedback and act in a timely manner if something isn’t right.

It’s a good idea to send the customer a feedback request as soon as the engineer has left the site. The SMS should link to a simple form that doesn’t take up too much of customers’ time.

This allows customers to express themselves while the appointment is still top-of-mind, but without being swayed by the presence of the engineer.

Real-time transactional feedback also helps to speed up service recovery. By setting up negative feedback alerts, you’ll empower your team to deal with issues before they escalate.


Getting started with customer empowerment

Altnet providers face a significant challenge to quickly meet rollout targets. Customer communication is a vital puzzle piece to ensure that installations run smoothly on the first attempt.

In addition, these tactics will help you to provide the digital-first, connected experience that today’s broadband customers expect.

If you’re looking for ways to reduce failed appointments and boost the customer experience, get in touch with an expert from Localz today.