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Experience Learnings From a 100+ Year Old Telco

Blog by Ian Luck
November 17, 2022

Sure is a 100+ year old telecommunications company that covers the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, the Falkland Islands, St. Helena, Hungary, France, Ascension Island, and British Indian Ocean Territory.

Offering a wide portfolio of services to a relatively small market, Sure has significant challenges on its hands: providing great service in an industry with generally poor ratings (the average NPS for a telco in the UK is only 12); juggling moving parts across regions, and continuing to offer great service during COVID-19.

But over the last year, Sure has continued to offer excellent customer support, collecting feedback, and responding to challenges.

Their secret? A killer NPS program–and a commitment to closing the loop.

In this week’s episode of the Account Experience podcast, we sat down with Sure’s CTO Charlotte Dunsterville to learn how this unique mobile operator has not only survived, but thrived.

The Core: A Vibrant NPS Program

Sure’s comprehensive customer support program started back in 2015 when their parent company–Batelco–decided to adopt NPS as an indicator and driver of success.

“I put my hand up and volunteered to be the pilot for the NPS program,” says Dunsterville. “So we set out to create a program with both a transactional and a relational element.”

In 2017, Sure came on board with CustomerGauge.

“Now, all of our transactional NPS is through CustomerGauge,” says Dansville. “We're...happy with that platform and all of the real-time data we see.”

But Sure doesn’t stop at surveying individual customers; they also survey the competition.

“We do a relational survey four times a year. That gives us more of a top-down view of what our brand is like in the market,” says Dunsterville. “We can see what our position is in the market, how the market has shifted, and what the trends are.”

At the end of the day, Sure is committed to not only increasing its own NPS, but making sure that they’re remaining competitive and forward-thinking.

High NPS = Low Customer Churn

One of Sure’s indicators that they’re performing well is low customer churn.

“Our customer churn is quite low,” says Dunsterville. “We do see a correlation between NPS and churn. For example, churn increases when NPS dips.”

According to Dansville, standard UK operators have a much higher churn rate.

“When I worked at Orange, the churn level for mobile was running at something like 25%,” says Dunsterville. “What you found were a lot of “value seekers” just flipping all the time to get the best deal.”

Though the threat may not be the same in their region of operation, Sure remains alert to churn and keyed into customer loyalty.

“We’re alert to how we run our retention programs and what we do to try and get customers to stay with us,” says DDunsterville.

Getting Everyone on Board

One of the keys to running a successful NPS program is getting your executives–and customer support staff–on board.

“Customer experience is really ingrained in the fabric of this business,” says Dunsterville. “I sit on the executive committee and I have got the support of every single person...we talk about customer experience all the time.”

When NPS is joined with financial metrics, it’s easy to see the value.

“We will talk about NPS and financial KPI’s hand in hand,” says Dunsterville. “This is the revenue, this is the profit, this is where we are with our customer experience metrics, and particularly our NPS and our position against competitors.”

Sure also brings their customer support staff on board by incentivizing a competitive edge.

“We're bonused based on our position in the market,” says Dunsterville. “You could ask anyone in the business what our NPS position against our competitors is, and they would know.”

Closing the Loop

Sure knows that you might get great insight from NPS–but without closing the loop, you won’t get results.

“We're very good at the closed-loop,” says Dunsterville. “Feedback will come in, and it gets reviewed every day.”

The staff at Sure takes an “above and beyond” approach to solving customer challenges.

“Say a customer has got a complaint about price or product or something to do with the bill. Quite often, what will happen is it's not just a customer service agent calling the customer back, but the manager from that department,” says Dunsterville.

The result? A super-positive customer service experience.

“That's a surprise and delight for customers because they get to speak to the person who's actually made the decision that probably caused that problem,” says Dunsterville.

It’s also a positive touchpoint for managers.

“It's really good for the managers internally because they're not all customer-facing, but they're still used to speaking to customers and taking that feedback on board,” says Dunsterville.

Making the Frontline Heard

One of the reasons for Sure’s success is their emphasis on giving the frontline staff a voice.

“Your front line staff is the absolute number one source of information on what is going on in your company and with your customers,” says Dunsterville. “We make sure that we have a lot of employee feedback. Employees can feed up ideas and they can give feedback when something hasn’t gone so well.”

Ultimately, employees have a richer, wider view of what’s really going on, and how the company is performing.

“The top of the iceberg is what the senior managers know,” says Dunsterville. “And the bottom of the iceberg is what the frontline staff know.”

Building an NPS Program with CustomerGauge

Sure has worked with CustomerGauge for 3+ years to build their NPS program, gain insight, and continue delivering exceptional customer service.

To learn more about how you can use CustomerGauge’s Account Experience program to improve customer experience, churn rates, and revenue, click here.

About the Author

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Ian Luck
Ian has been in the CX market for over a decade evangelizing best-practices and strategies for increasing the ROI of customer programs. He loves a loud guitar, a thick non-fiction book, and a beach day with his family. You can catch him around the north shore of Boston, MA.
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