Customer Centricity

CX transformation in the digital era: A working example

Customers today show high digital affinity and increasingly demand more control over their experiences of buying and using products and services. More and more, customers expect the same levels of satisfaction they receive from digital leaders such as Apple, Facebook and Google – with the kind of immediacy, personalization and convenience that defines these digital natives.

Telcos can no longer compete purely on the back of their products and/or services. Winning or losing is happening faster than ever before. How a telco delivers for customers is as important as what it delivers. Telcos have the opportunity to transform and deliver a compelling customer experience, leading ultimately to superior business performance.

In one of the most transformational times in human history, telcos should drive change rather than being driven by it. As a part of my Q&A session at Digital Transformation World I’ll be talking about my experience in Telkom Indonesia’s customer focused transformation program such. Here, I give you a little bit of insight into what I’ll be discussing on the day.

The SMILE Project:  Telkom’s CX transformation program

Program objectives

Telkom has defined customer experience (CX) as one of its top three strategic priorities since 2017, and started the CX transformation program in early 2017 and call it a ‘SMILE’ project with three key objectives:

  • Set-up the right overall framework to drive customer experience transformation
  • Showcase early success to gain transformation momentum
  • Drive transformation impact with clear impact on customer and operational metrics

Program approach and execution

In implementing CX, Telkom followed a two-pronged approach to transform customer experience (see exhibit 1):

Exhibit 1: SMILE project transformation approach

Execution has been phased to focus on high-impact areas first. Trying to address all touch points and interactions can be complex, uncalled for and ineffective – the focused approach facilitates bringing the most impactful interventions quicker to market. As such, Telkom’s transformation execution has started with the consumer business, focusing initially on optimization.

Telkom has ascertain there is a need to go beyond technology and data and decided to reach customer insights. As such, the starting point was to identify and map the customer journey, across episodes, touchpoints, regions and interactions. The voice of customer was measured using a single metric, the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which highlighted CX issues concentrated in specific episodes (e.g. “Activate”, “Use”, “Get Support”), touchpoints (e.g. contact center, social media) and regions. The voice of customer assessment helped prioritize the most important CX pain points to focus on.

After getting customer insights across the relevant dimensions, Telkom conducted a detailed issue and root-cause diagnostic based on data analytics. This analytics-based approach helped design CX transformation themes and initiatives/actions. We then prosecuted any prioritized CX actions through the ‘test, fine-tune and operationalize’ method (see exhibit 2).

Exhibit 2: SMILE execution plan 

How many SMILEs do we have?

After implementing several actions in pilot regions including training over 500 technician and sales teams on the field, assessment of social media and call centers, a tangible, hypotheses-driven approach with focus on the most impactful interventions has already showcased early results in 6-9 months. A clear impact was visible across both NPS and operational metrics (see exhibit 3) which has built confident and of course a  real smile to project team members. This has gone a long way in gaining transformation momentum and the SMILE project is still ongoing.

Exhibit 3: CX impact 

Lessons learned

In implementing the CX project, Telkom believes technology represents the “how” of change but customer insights represent the “why”. CX is about a holistic business model; not solitary improvements, but complete transformations. It is also not about individual systems, but new, intertwined ecosystems.

After nearly one full year of implementing CX transformation project, the SMILE project team concluded key success in CX transformation, it is critical to have four key elements in place from the start:

  • The right vision and mandate – clearly articulated and well accepted across the organization.
  • The right metrics – defined for episodes, tracked in real-time, linked to actual performance and enabling a closed feedback loop. Targets to cascade across the organization.
  • The right actions – portfolio of initiatives that will deliver the vision, prioritized based on value impact and leveraging the right level of digitization.
  • The right organization – driving transformation based on an organization that must be in a position to influence interventions, with the relevant governance to align on priorities and actions, and supported by a solid change management program.


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    About The Author

    Sri Safitri is Senior Advisor – Chief Innovation & Strategic Portfolio Office, Telkom Indonesia. Her current responsibility includes overall digital experience and digital music for the company, which with 170 million subscribers is the largest in Indonesia. She was previously Chief Marketing Officer of telkomtelstra, a subsidiary of Telkom Indonesia and also a joint venture company of Telkom Indonesia and Telstra Australia. Sri has a Master of Telecommunication Engineering from Royal Melbourne Institute Technology (RMIT) Australia, and her career in the Indonesian telecommunications industry spans more than 18 years, including a wide range of senior positions at Telkom, working in IT, sales, strategy and marketing. Safitri is also a marketing and social media enthusiast, an international speaker and writer on internet marketing, social media and digital music.

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