Customer Experience Is King for the “New” Level 3
March 13, 2012 Leave a comment
- Level 3’s integration of Global Crossing includes fundamental changes to the way it interacts with customers.
- Level 3 is placing increased emphasis and investment on processes and tools to improve the customer experience.
Last week, Level 3 Communications held its annual Industry Analyst Roundtable, and the company provided a view into its integration of Global Crossing as well as future plans. A recurring theme throughout the conference was improving the customer experience. Use of the term ‘customer experience’ can be just about as nebulous as ‘cloud’ these days, but the way a company works with its customers is a critical element of customer perception. Level 3 has been working to minimize missteps during the integration process, and to establish best practices that will set it apart from competitors going forward. The carrier’s “Voice of the Customer” program includes ongoing customer surveys, customer service call recording, and other tools to monitor customer satisfaction. Level 3 is also giving customers access to more information about its network and customers’ services, and it is giving employees tools to work with customers more efficiently.
Level 3, like many of its peers, has been investing in its customer-facing portal in recent years. Today, the MyLevel3 portal offers ‘table stakes’ information, such as trouble ticket information, maps, network views, and statistics. However, Level 3 has also included some items that seem unique, such as the ability for customers to see a list of active events that might affect their network, to alert customers to potential service issues. Through the portal, customers have access to a database of their locations and contract information, making it easy for them to determine available services and obtain pricing estimates. Customers can also get ‘Reason for Outage’ (RFO) information from Level 3, something that not all service providers are willing to share.
Level 3 has made a substantial investment in sales enablement as well, arming customer-facing sales and support employees with iPads that are preloaded with applications and tools for quoting and building presentations along with network and customer data. While some may make the argument that the carrier is just giving its sales force a new toy, the devices are configured and preloaded with information that salespeople can use to respond quickly and more accurately to customer needs. For example, employees with these devices can view a customer account’s real-time network events before they walk into a meeting and get blindsided by an angry client. The tool can prepare salespeople to address service, contract, and billing questions and problems, as well as allowing them to generate and send price quotes ‘on the spot.’
Customer satisfaction surveys and portal enhancements are not revolutionary or new. Customer-facing tools play an important role in a company’s ability to meet client needs efficiently: AT&T and Verizon, for example, have been steadily upgrading their portals for much longer than Level 3. Not everything that Level 3 is doing may be revolutionary, but the company is taking advantage of an opportunity to improve the way it works with customers, which is never a bad move.