global news
    Published Date: 26-Dec-2019
WhatsApp allowed users to control group invitations

The messenger replaced the settings of the circle of persons who can invite the user to groups. When the function is enabled, this user will receive an invitation from the group administrator

WhatsApp messenger adjusted privacy settings to limit the number of people who can add users to group chats. This is stated in the blog of the company.

The company began testing a new feature back in April. Then users were asked to choose exactly who can add them to groups: “all”, “my contacts” or “nobody”. Now the messenger decided to replace the last option with “my contacts, except”, so the user can add all the numbers from the phone book, except for the exceptions indicated by him.

The developers note that they introduced changes based on user feedback after the start of testing. The company decided to introduce a ban on adding to groups so that those who work with the messenger have “more control” over their communication.

To enable the restriction, in the application in the “Account” section, open the “Privacy” tab, then “Groups” and select one of three options there. If the user has limited the number of people who can add them to chats, the system will prompt the group creator to send him a personal message with an invitation that will be displayed for three days, and then will be automatically deleted.

Call me on the web: why mobile internet traffic is growing

In 2019, a record growth in mobile Internet was recorded. In the future, the trend will continue and “pull away” part of the voice traffic, experts say

For several years, telecom operators and experts have noted a steady increase in mobile Internet consumption, while voice traffic has been steadily declining.

According to the Ministry of Communications of the Russian Federation, the first quarter of 2019 was a record in recent years – mobile Internet consumption grew 1.5 times (or 1.1 billion GB) compared to the same period a year earlier. At the same time, fixed-line providers reported a growth of only 14.5%. But while the consumption of wired Internet remains much larger – about 11.1 billion GB for three months compared to 3.3 billion GB in mobile networks.

Against the background of a general increase in Internet consumption, for the first time since 2011, the volume of voice traffic has been declining for two consecutive quarters. So, in January-March of this year, the total time of Russian phone calls decreased by 2.8% to 108.5 billion minutes. According to industry experts, the higher the penetration rate of smartphones in the region, the higher the drop in voice traffic and the more actively used alternatives (in particular, instant messengers).

In the II quarter of 2019, the decline increased to 4%. In total for the first half of the year, the Russians spoke 219.1 billion minutes against 228.2 billion minutes a year earlier.

General trends are confirmed in the Rostov region. So, against the backdrop of stagnant voice communications in January-November 2019, the total traffic in the Tele2 network grew 1.8 times, and LTE traffic increased 2.7 times, the company’s press service said.

General mobilization

Experts see the reason for this trend in the growing popularity of smartphones in general and Internet messengers. At the end of 2018, 61% of Russians used the Internet on mobile devices (tablets and smartphones), according to a GfK study. In the Southern Federal District, this share is even higher – according to Tele2 estimates, in the South, the share of smartphones among the operator’s subscribers in 2019 increased by 8 percentage points. (up to 72%).

GfK notes that the growth of the wired Internet audience is now insignificant and is mainly due to the connection of older people. Among young people and middle-aged, its penetration is close to the limit level.

The main trend of recent years is the growth of mobile traffic and an increase in the number of users who access the Internet only from smartphones. A year ago there were only 18% of them. According to the latest data, the segment doubled in a year and amounted to more than a third of all users.

“The rapid growth of the mobile only segment is changing the face of the Internet. The Internet in the near future may become, first of all, mobile and only secondarily desktop. For the Internet segment, this means a change of priorities in the development of digital products, communications, advertising. Manufacturers, retailers and content providers should now make sure that their current products are ready for mobile users, ”said Sergey Ketov, head of media research at GfK Rus.

According to a survey by EY, 8% of Russians call via messengers more often than through the traditional voice service of mobile operators. Another 31% equally often use instant messengers and mobile communications. About 50% still gravitate to standard phone calls, and 11% use Internet services only when voice communication is not available.

Experts note that the number of people using instant messengers is growing steadily. Among the main reasons are called the desire to save money and convenience.

This has already affected the nature of communication – people increasingly prefer to write or call via instant messengers than use traditional communication. As a result, voice traffic is falling or stagnating, and mobile Internet consumption is steadily growing.

One of the factors of moving the “voice” to the Web is the price – with an inexpensive and high-quality Internet, using WhatsApp or Viber is cheaper than calling through traditional channels.

Future voice

According to Cisco forecasts, by 2021 more inhabitants of the planet (5.5 billion people) will use mobile phones than bank accounts (5.4 billion) or centralized water supply (5.3 billion). The growth of mobile traffic from 2016 to 2021 will be five-fold. By the end of this period, 88% of Russians will use mobile communications, and 86% will be on smartphones.

At the same time, the number of subscribers in the coming years will not increase significantly, since it has reached its maximum. Moreover, according to forecasts of TMT Consulting, the base will not grow, but will decrease slightly. Experts say that it makes no sense for telecom operators to increase it with the help of unprofitable or unprofitable subscribers. Only certain companies can grow due to overflow of customers from other telecom operators.

As a result, voice communication has no prerequisites for a sharp increase – in the best case, the duration of calls will remain the same. But the volume of mobile Internet traffic will continue to grow rapidly – the drivers here will be the consumption of content and the launch of 5G. Opinions of industry players regarding the popularity of traditional calls in the future are divided. Part of them believes that migration to messengers will continue and their popularity will increase. The rest are of the opinion that due to the low cost of voice traffic, subscribers have no reason to refuse them and many will continue to use the usual and traditional form of communication. 

Omni-channel, online and empathy: how customer service is changing

High competition, market oversaturation and the trend towards digitalization will change not only the format of customer services – in the near future, the quality of interaction with customers will play a crucial role

By 2020, the quality of customer service in its importance surpassed the price and quality of the product, analysts at Gartner Research say. Therefore, in the near future, 89% of companies expect to compete mainly in the Customer Service sphere. This is especially true for telecom services, where the market is oversaturated, and it is already difficult to surprise with products or attract dumping.

“Customer service is becoming an important competitive advantage for companies in the Russian market. Today it’s important to leave behind a pleasant “aftertaste.” A competent customer service strategy that can satisfy the desires of even the most demanding consumer plays a decisive role in holding the market, ”said Ekaterina Osina, Director General of Teleperformance Russia Group.

According to Teleperformance’s CX Lab, 16% of Russian consumers will not remain brand customers due to poor service, RBC reported. And with positive experience interacting with the support service, customers are 13% more likely to remain with the brand than those who have not contacted it.

According to a study by Accenture consulting company, the proportion of customers who are ready to abandon a company’s products or services due to low-quality service is even higher – about 47%.

“If we are talking about customer services, it should be borne in mind that there are practically no new users in the telecom segment. A certain audience, which accounts for up to 15%, changes the operator – it is at their expense that companies are building up their subscriber base. Therefore, the main factor is customer loyalty. If the subscriber feels comfortable, he remains, if not, then leaves. Therefore, customer service is one of those areas that will be actively developed, ”said DenisKuskov, head of TelecomDaily.

The positive perception of consumers is primarily influenced by the degree of communication efficiency – customers do not like to call the contact center endlessly and want to resolve the issue from the first call, found out in CX Lab

While a competitive advantage is the presence of a large number of communication channels – 79% of consumers will recommend a company that provides eight or more channels.

Digitalization is developing and the popularity of the online environment is growing, but so far the main channel is call-centers – in 2018, 58% of Russians called support services. In second place are e-mail and web form on the site – they were used by 39% of respondents. Third place for SMS – 13% of respondents used this channel. 

Time Z

Consumer behavior and preferences differ depending on age – for example, millennials and Generation Z prefer online channels: e-mail, web forms on the site, online chats, instant messengers and social media. Thus, according to Dimension Data estimates, in the world the share of contacts with companies by voice among millennials does not exceed 12%, and among people under 25 years old it is at the level of about 10%. And according to Microsoft, calls in communication with business in 2013-2016. decreased from 54% to 35%. Over the same period, chat popularity has doubled.

This is also confirmed by the experience of the Russian regions – for example, according to Tele2, the share of calls through digital channels to a contact center in Rostov-on-Don for 10 months of 2019 increased by 38%. So far, they account for 12% of the total number of calls.

This trend will be developed in the near future, experts say – already in 2020, the share of millennials and generation Z in the consumption structure will reach 40% and will rapidly increase. Therefore, the demand for online services will grow.

On the other hand, customer services are transformed under the influence of modern technologies – machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data change not only the principles of work, but even the functions themselves.

The introduction of omnichannel platforms allows combining marketing and customer services – the accumulated information can be analyzed and used to create a complete consumer profile, which will already be offered customized products and individual solutions. Companies can track complaints on social networks, quickly respond to force majeure and respond to customer requests.

From modern technology to empathy

Tele2 notes that the customer services of the telecom operator over the past 15 years have transformed from a simple call center to a single service model. In the south of Russia, the CC was opened in Rostov-on-Don 13 years ago. Its operators process calls from about 14 million subscribers from 22 regions of Russia, including from the Rostov and Volgograd regions, the Krasnodar Territory and the Republic of Adygea.

“Digital technologies are increasingly penetrating our lives. The proportion of subscribers who are more comfortable communicating in instant messengers, social networks, using the chat bot is growing. Responding to their wishes, we get in touch where they like best and speak the same language with them. Communication channels with customers are constantly evolving, but the main priorities of our contact center remain unchanged: attention to each subscriber, the desire to quickly and fully resolve any issue, ”says Elena Scherbakova, head of the Rostov contact center of Tele2.

Now the center works according to the omnichannel model of service support – the client can use the communication tool that he likes best (WhatsApp and Viber, phone, email, chat on the site or chat bot).

According to the results of internal research, 99% of subscribers’ questions are resolved on the first line without sending a request to another employee. The average communication time with the operator is 2 minutes. 95% of subscribers give the contact center specialists a rating of “excellent” based on the results of their requests.

According to Elena Scherbakova, confirmation of the effectiveness of the center is a large number of specialized awards. In particular, the Rostov KC in 2019 won the CX WORLD AWARDS award in the nomination “Best Large Contact Center”. In addition, this year he won the Crystal Headset industry award, winning 7 awards in 7 nominations.

But digitalization alone is not enough, says Yelena Yurina, Tele2’s director of telecom services. According to her, the human factor remains an important element and without qualified employees, the integration of any technology will not be successful, and the corporate culture is directly reflected in the communication format.

“A happy customer is a happy employee. This formula is not new for a long time, but it works. It is impossible to build a good approach to customers, to be the best service company on the market, and at the same time, employees do not have a built-in atmosphere. This basis applies not only to our contact center, but also to our entire corporate culture of the company – it is unique. “Other rules” is what grows out of it. We are others, including services. Of course, for us, customer loyalty, their level of satisfaction, involvement is one of the main priorities in the company, at the strategy level. Therefore, great attention is paid to the service, ”says Elena Yurina. 

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