The Significance of Human Interaction in Pay-TV Customer Acquisition

customer-service-phone

The Significance of Human Interaction in Pay-TV Customer Acquisition

A recent Accenture report, ‘Digital Disconnect in Customer Engagement’, revealed that a large number of companies are losing customers due to a lack of human interaction. In the US, 83% of consumers prefer dealing with human beings over digital channels to solve customer services issues. The report also found that 52% of consumers have switched providers in the past year due to poor customer service, with television providers being among the worst offenders.

Despite the fact that we are in the digital age, companies have now placed a little too much reliance on digital technologies, creating a ‘human-less’ customer experience. As a result, companies have a lot to lose, as the study found that once a provider loses a customer, 68% of consumers will not go back. However, 83% reported that if companies could provide customers with better live or in-person customer service, it would have impacted their decision to switch providers.

This new research falls right in line with what we know from our experience of working with TV operators for the last 18 years – human interaction is essential in order to maximise conversion rates for TV service sign-ups and to provide the best possible customer experience. Here, our in-house experts offer the best strategies to add human interaction back into the equation.

Attract – The strategy and processes used to initially attract potential subscribers can and should be conducted across many platforms. This multi-channel approach can include geographic mass marketing and linear channels such as billboards and TV advertising, as well as targeted methods such as email, direct mail marketing and telephone outreach. Operators shouldn’t underestimate the power of the phone call when acquiring customers, as customers acquired via this route are more likely to be loyal to a brand.

Although there are cost implications, many companies wrongly assume that their digital-only customers are their most profitable, over-investing in digital channels and losing their most profitable customers – the multi-channel customers who want experiences that cover both digital and traditional platforms.

Reassure and convert – Through cookies associated with website visitors or data collected from free trial offers, pay-TV operators can re-engage and convert prospects. Conversion is assisted through internet communication tools such as ‘web chat’ and ‘call me’ buttons which can be activated on a conditional basis by tracking web analytics.

For example, we worked with a TV operator who experienced many potential customer hesitating to complete a purchase while on the shopping cart page. The fix – a pop-up web chat operator that could see the persons’ entire journey around the website, allowing them to have a tailored interaction with the customer and close the sale.

This kind of data can be invaluable. For instance, if it is recognised that the customer has visited the price pages several times, this could be an indication that the customer is price sensitive or doesn’t understand the packaging structure, enabling the operator to personalise the conversation accordingly, providing only the help and guidance required. This customized level of service helps to build trust and provide a good customer experience, making the customer more likely to convert into a paying subscriber.

Here at Paywizard, we recently conducted our own consumer focus groups in the UK and US with Decipher. The participants said that as new subscribers, they valued on-boarding assistance. Many also commented that SVOD services could do more in their initial engagement efforts to acquaint new subscribers with the service. “I want a helpline and an idiots guide to the service. If they want me on-board they have to earn my loyalty, and that means helping me use their system fully, said respondent Colin, of Manchester.

Our research also revealed that both older demographics and US participants in particular, were keen on a helpline being available, alongside self-service options – not only in the find and join phases of the customer journey, but throughout all stages.  

We also found that there are some regional and demographic differences regarding telephone assistance:

  • US users were more likely to want a customer helpline. This might be culturally familiar to them, and derive from the prominence of helplines in other services they use. Their justification was that hearing a person confirm changes was reassuring. US users valued customer service highly, but seemed less familiar with good customer service, and therefore more likely to reward good customer service with loyalty.
  • UK users were more comfortable with forgoing the helpline and solving issues themselves. UK users also valued customer service, but seemed to see it as more of a hygiene factor; a lack of which they would punish with a cancellation.
  • Older Users were more likely to desire a support line. They valued the reassurance of a person confirming the change, and desired a dialogue in which they could ask questions.
  • Younger Users were less likely to use a helpline, being more comfortable accomplishing tasks themselves through an online service, and troubleshooting via online search.  Timely human engagement via social platforms can also be quit powerful, particularly for demographics like Millennials who expect instantaneous results.

While vitally important in the find and join stages of the customer experience – human interaction is essential throughout the entire subscriber lifecycle. Operators have reached a tipping point in their customer’s digital interests and need to rebalance their digital and traditional customer service investments in order to maximise APRU, improve loyalty, differentiate and drive revenue.

Learn more about how to help customers to find and join your TV service by checking out our new white paper.