SalesTech Star

How Telecom Companies Can Use AI Beyond 5G 

By Greg Armor, executive vice president at 

Verizon is using artificial intelligence (AI) models to identify optimal locations for their 5G transmitters, but that’s not the only way telecom companies can take advantage of AI. 

AI technology is constantly evolving and it’s also a critical factor in achieving operational efficiency in sales and customer service. With the right strategy, AI can help representatives in these positions close more sales and better solve complex customer service issues. 

Telecom giants like Verizon were early adopters of AI. But AI adoption has lagged across the industry as a whole. And companies that are slow to adopt AI risk falling behind competitors using the technology to help boost customer satisfaction and increase revenue for sales initiatives. 

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Archaic practices and high-pressure work environments 

Sales and customer service are victims of outdated protocols and processes. For both areas, the optimization of customer and prospect interactions is critical to success — there’s a reason these functions often use scripts for their engagements. 

But until recently, the technology didn’t exist for customer service and sales teams — in telecom and other industries — to analyze their one-to-one phone call interactions with customers or prospects. Historically, customer service and sales teams have had to manually review phone call recordings for quality assurance, which takes time and resources. The inability to assess multiple call recordings in a timely manner also creates a call visibility gap, depriving companies of insights that can help improve customer and prospect interactions. 

Similarly, real-time coaching is difficult for customer service and sales teams. Some phone systems allow for sales leads to patch into their team’s calls to silently listen and coach through chat and other channels while an employee talks to a customer or prospect. However, team leads can only advise on one call at a time, potentially leaving other team members without coaching assistance in crucial situations. 

Sales and customer service teams face considerable stress in their day-to-day work. The role of sales manager was rated one of the top 25 most stressful jobs for 2021 and the nature of customer service work can strain agents who must interact with disgruntled customers while feeling pressure to resolve a designated number of calls while upselling and cross-selling. These factors as well as a lack of technological assistance may contribute to the high turnover rates in both sales and customer service representative positions. 

How AI can be a sales and customer service game changer 

Not every use of AI has to be dedicated to the 5G race. The technology offers real benefits in the telecom sector, making sales more efficient and customer service practices more effective. Here are a few ways you can leverage AI across sales and customer service teams: 

  • Call recording and conversation analysis

Conversation intelligence software powered by AI can serve as the silent analyst on every call your sales and customer service teams make. This software unlocks data-driven insights you can use to improve both sales and customer service outcomes, delivering measurable improvement to revenue generation. 

With conversation intelligence, you can use AI to transcribe calls in real time from any device, including mobile phones used in work-from-home settings. This recorded transcription gives your sales leaders an instant reference to identify coaching opportunities. AI also provides sentiment analysis and keyword identification in this process to pinpoint which sales and customer service behaviors drive positive outcomes. 

For example, your AI tool may uncover that using an empathetic tone in response to a customer’s issue with their cellular service problem drives a higher percentage of resolved cases. Or for sales, AI can spot which selling points resonate most with customers when representatives make contact about upgrading their data plan. T-Mobile leveraged this type of technology to generate 20,000 additional ideal call outcomes and improve call effectiveness by 49% in its sales organization.

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  • Real-time guided coaching

In addition to post-call analysis, AI can also provide real-time coaching while sales and customer service reps are on calls. An AI-powered assistant can deliver advice to all reps when they need it, not just during one-on-one coaching sessions. This technology can also integrate with your existing customer relationship management (CRM) platform. 

Similar to conversation intelligence, AI-powered assistants transcribe calls in real time to help your reps generate more positive call outcomes through in-the-moment coaching. The assistant also delivers on-screen prompts based on the call transcription that your reps can reference during their conversation with a customer or sales prospect. 

So, let’s say a sales rep at your organization is engaging a prospect about a cellular plan for their business. The AI-powered assistant can provide competitor cards for your rep to reference in explaining the advantages your offering presents over others. In a customer service setting, an AI assistant can help reps navigate difficult conversations. For example, if a customer rejects a solution your rep offers, the assistant can provide suggested responses based on the customer’s specific objection. 

Equipping your sales and customer service teams with AI-powered call recording, conversation analysis, and real-time guided coaching can also help reduce turnover. Actionable insights improve the onboarding process for new reps, enabling them to ramp up at a faster pace and feel more confident in a shorter period of time. With another resource outside of team leaders to help on calls in real time, reps at all levels can also feel more empowered to handle difficult conversations. 

Don’t sit on the sidelines of AI integration 

Telecom giants’ 5G efforts may be generating all the AI headlines, but there’s more to AI than 5G. With AI, you can innovate sales and customer service strategies through rich call analysis and real-time virtual coaching. More importantly — AI helps show employees that you care about their success and well-being in the pressure-filled environments of sales and customer service. 

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