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CX Innovator Series - Sri Safitri, Telkom Indonesia

CX Innovators: Sri Safitri, Telkom Indonesia

Improving Customer Satisfaction through Technology Investment and Process Improvement

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Sri Safitri is DEVP Customer Experience & Digitalisation, leading the digital vertical ecosystem education group at Telkom Indonesia, the multinational telecommunications conglomerate that is also Indonesia’s largest communications service provider by subscriber count. Awarded as the global CX Leader of the Year in 2021 for her vision in developing Telkom Indonesia’s CX strategy and for elevating the customer service profile, Safitri led the transformation at Telkom to foster a CX culture and mindset, improving communication and collaboration while also positively influencing employee behavior.

Among Safitri’s initiatives to drive engagement and transform culture were in-class and e-learning operationalization training for 8,000 frontline staff; CX sharing sessions for frontline and middle managers on one hand to discuss best practices and ways to assist frontliners; and CX sharing sessions for senior leaders to discuss ideas and conduct design thinking workshops to improve service operations.

Safitri and her team have also developed a dashboard that integrates the results of all customer surveys from across the organization and its more than 40 subsidiaries, not only improving alignment and collaboration to improve CX, but also producing substantial cost savings in research expenditures as the organization looks to raise its Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Safitri is chair of the Indonesia CX Professionals group and is also currently working toward her doctorate, writing a dissertation on CX.

Sri Safitri, DEVP Customer Experience & Digitisation, Telkom Indonesia

Most Significant CX Challenges

Telkom Indonesia was one of the first companies to implement CX when it did so five years ago. Today, backed by a secure budget and assured resources, the company and its 25,000-strong workforce are well-placed to serve more than 200 million customers in 15 countries.

Even so, challenges to the business are never-ending, Safitri says. The biggest challenge is that posed by the competition, which includes the over-the-top (OTT) segment of telecom providers offering alternative—and often, less costly—products and services, in the process cutting into Telkom Indonesia’s revenue. A second challenge is the changing behavior of the customer, born in reaction to the abundance of competitive options available and made possible by technology. A third challenge is the changing face of technology, exemplified by the proliferation of apps and the ascendance of the app economy.   

As she worked to position CX at the company, Safitri also realized there was a need to identify a single area of focus for the entire company to support and rally around. And the most important area of focus, in Safitri’s view, was the customer’s pain point. For Telkom Indonesia, the pain point was the consumer segment, which also received the lowest Net Promoter Score (NPS) among Telkom Indonesia divisions. The group identified three key customer touchpoints as key areas for improvement: (1) use of products and services, (2) getting support, and (3) terminating service.

CX Success Stories

Telkom Indonesia deems its CX call center operations a big success. From a count every month of 1.5 million calls, 70% of which were complaints, call volume has dropped to 1.0 million, of which less than 50% are complaints. Listening to customers has also revealed to the company that consumers wished to have the same level of visibility to which they were accustomed with other companies, Safitri says.  

Ratings constitute another success for Telkom Indonesia. For instance, typical applications ended up being awarded a score of 8 on average—a level that the telecom provider’s own customers did not believe the company was capable of attaining. Ratings also rose, climbing from 3.1 to 4.0 following the company’s implementation of a revamped CX program. Today, the telecom provider’s digital channel enjoys the highest NPS among all divisions, a score 3x that of the call center.

Internal Barriers

Safitri is credited with aligning Telkom Indonesia’s key CX competencies and with driving organizational structure in a way that shows her deep understanding of the connection between customer centricity and all the parts of the organization. Yet she will be the first to tell you that Telkom Indonesia suffers from the same malaise and complaint heard in virtually every large enterprise effort today: the problem of siloed information and siloed sections. “Everyone has their own dashboard, everyone has their own performance,” Safitri says. For this reason, Safitri and her team built a single dashboard for CX that was also endorsed by the CEO.

Overall, Safitri laid out a clear CX mission for the organization that was built on the foundations of rigorous research, established alongside dedicated units accountable to drive CX transformation. 

Key Technologies

The CX technology stack at Telkom Indonesia is a mixed grouping that includes Oracle, customer relationship management (CRM) software, data analytics, and natural language processing (NLP) technology for listening to customer feedback. At the same time, in-house developers are present, tasked to develop state-of-the-art apps for the organization. At one point, the company made use of chatbots to help with billing inquiries, but the chatbots turned out to have the lowest NPS. “It’s not the technology that creates success, it’s the people themselves,” Safitri offers.

Telkom Indonesia is also thinking of increasing its investment in robotic process automation (RPA), which has made problem solving more efficient, Although the company had reduced average handling time for customer inquiries from 52 minutes to 30, it took other competitors less than 4 minutes to do the same. With RPA, however, the carrier was able to shorten the time even more—to about 2 minutes.

Predictions for CX Market Development

While CX has not taken off yet in most parts of Asia Pacific, Safitri believes that it is only a matter of time before CX is fully adopted in the region. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, a deputy minister of CX has already been appointed in Saudi Arabia, and other countries are expected to follow the Saudi example.

The future looks promising for Telkom Indonesia, even as it debates the question of how it should go about choosing the appropriate technologies for its own advancement, or asks which technologies will be most helpful. Still, Telkom Indonesia made the right call when it chose early on to invest in CX and transform the company into a CX-oriented organization, dovetailing with the country’s own ambitious CX agenda, as Indonesia has officially set its goal of being a service-led country by 2045. And as if to validate that vision, neighboring countries Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore have also announced their intention to treat CX as a priority area for examination.

But whatever path may be involved or however long it may take for countries to reach their CX goals, one imperative remains, Safitri says. All undertakings must be balanced with security and data privacy, together with convenience, because customer trust is everything.

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