COVID-19 has demonstrated the critical importance that telecommunications plays in keeping businesses, governments and communities connected and running. Because of the economic and social disruption caused by COVID-19, people across the globe have relied on telecoms technology for information, personal connection and working from home. Connectivity has never been more important.
Many new behaviors have emerged and are likely to remain permanently. Video conferencing among businesses, greater usage of online shopping, additional e-learning for schools and universities and more frequent use of remote healthcare services and video diagnosis. Everything from medicine to exercise classes could see some form of lasting change. As professionals blend working from home with working in the office new requirements for security and access will emerge.
COVID-19 has introduced a level of uncertainty as to how quickly the industry is able to transition to the new network platforms necessary to handle increased volume and complexity demands. This may have a significant impact on the industry's ability to:
Respond to the acceleration in remote working, which may well increase security and infrastructure risks for customers and telcos.
Keep pace with phone manufacturers already equipping their devices with 5G capabilities.
Handle excessive demand on mobile and communications networks which could affect service quality, creating a ripple effect as companies across various sectors implement remote-work plans.
The acceleration of the connected home and the Internet of Things provides new opportunities for telecoms to be more than simply network providers.
Many companies in our research this year have seen COVID-19 as an opportunity to examine every aspect of their business and use the crisis as a springboard for change, adopting a 'never the same again mantra' as they dissect the implications of COVID-19 for them. For telcos the next stage of development requires first addressing some strategic questions:
How far do we go beyond network connectivity? In mature markets connectivity is becoming fully commoditized and regarded as an invisible on-tap experience. Consumer IoT and content provision could open new revenue streams.
With 98 percent of consumers concerned about data security how do telcos build trust in a world of cyber security concerns?10
How will we leverage customer data? AI offers the opportunity for a quantum leap in customer experience enhancement by utilizing the data to improve targeting and personalization.
How can we build stronger customer relationships through partnerships? As the world moves to retail platforms, what role do these play in telecoms and what partnerships and alliances are necessary to meet emerging customer needs and wants.
How can we win the hearts and minds of our customers? Globally the telecoms industry is one of the lower performing sectors when it comes to customer experience. In a saturated market customer loyalty is critical. Outstanding customer experiences are the only way to secure loyalty and advocacy.
As the pace for change continues to accelerate and consumers seek faster connectivity, telecoms still have considerable work to do, centralized around the customer, if they are to utilize new technologies intelligently and profitably.
Global Head of Telecoms & Media
Sector hall of fame based on brands' Customer Experience Excellence performance relative to their market, according to consumers in the market specified.
10 KPMG International research, March 2020 — July 2020