Training to beat bill shock

Training to avoid bill shockTalk about a shock:  The TCP Code actually requires telcos to train sales staff to help customers estimate their likely usage and choose the most appropriate plan!

Let’s not beat around the bush here. For most of twenty years, many telcos have depended on the fact that customers will buy the wrong product.  “Sell them a plan that bundles less than they need, and watch the excess megs charges roll in” and “Sell them a terabyte, they’ll use less than half that” have been popular and successful business strategies.  The TCP Code says, “No more.”

What does the TCP Code actually say about it?

It starts with clause 4.1.3:

A Supplier must provide other relevant information about Telecommunications Products currently offered by the Supplier beyond that which is covered in the summary of each Offer in a readily accessible way, to assist Consumers to assess those Telecommunications Products compared with other Telecommunications Products that the Consumer is investigating.

And that’s followed up with a more specific requirement to provide:

Usage: information to assist Consumers to estimate what capacity they may need on a Telecommunications Product to meet their usage requirements

Then clause 4.1.4 backs it up with:

If a Consumer identifies a particular need to a Supplier, the Supplier must indicate if it has an Offer that may suit the Consumer’s identified need and if the Supplier does indicate a particular Offer that may suit the Consumer’s identified need, the Supplier must provide the Consumer with information about the particular Offer, to allow the Consumer to assess the suitability of that Offer against that need.

And specific requirements to:

  • Training: train staff regarding how to understand Consumer needs and advise Consumers on the Supplier’s suitable Offers
  • Information: provide standard information about Offers which can meet common needs expressed by Consumers
  • Usage: provide information that can help Consumers predict their average level of telecommunications usage and what Offers may be suitable for that level of usage.

In other words, the TCP Code actually requires telcos and their staff to help customers make a good choice.

The new rules impact sales campaigns

The TCP Code’s rules about giving consumers good information that takes some account of their circumstances has particular significance when you’re campaigning a particular plan.  To date, sales staff and agents were simply told, “This is what we’re pushing this month, so sell, sell, sell it.”  The TCP Code isn’t too enthusiastic about one-size-fits-all selling.  You may be emphasising a particular offer but your people must always be aware that customers have different needs and aware of which plan may be best in particular circumstances.

About Peter Moon

A telco lawyer with a truckload of experience
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