Sunday, September 25, 2022
Published 4 Months Ago on Tuesday, Jun 07 2022 By Robert Kelly
Customer expectations have changed and there’s no going back. The pandemic has been a catalyst: as we’ve all lived, worked, shopped, and played from home over the past two years, we have grown to expect digital, intuitive experiences. Companies have had to adapt to these changing expectations while managing major operational constraints. Communication service providers are no exception.
When we think customer experience, we naturally think about touch points with the customer and aim to make them better. However, that’s just part of the story. To drive revenue growth, service providers must take a “total experience” perspective, optimising their systems and workflows to deliver engaging and productive interactions with all stakeholders: consumer customers, enterprise customers, call centre and retail point of sale employees, and ecosystem partners.
This is easier said than done. Service providers today face a host of challenges in delivering a compelling customer experience, equipping employees with tools for success, keeping costs down, and driving revenue growth from 5G-enabled services and partner ecosystems.
Let’s take a look at these challenges and how service providers can overcome them to deliver a total experience.
Take your typical communication service provider with many lines of business—fibre to the home, consumer mobile, digital and network services. Each has a variety of offers that cater to customers in a variety of segments, from both digital and physical channels. Each also has its own set of agents who are experts in handling their respective domains. As customers look for one-stop shopping, the service provider starts to offer n-play services—combining products from multiple business lines (e.g., a bundle of internet and mobile plan at a great price). On the face of it, this is a win-win for both sides. However, customer experience declines.
Why, you may ask? Because creating a bundled offer that spans multiple business lines like internet and mobile plan requires people across multiple organizations to craft it, frequently impacting agility. Once an offer is ready to launch, the digital and physical commerce channels need to work off the same offer catalogue and not as silos. To avoid exacerbating the situation, when a customer needs help and calls into care lines, the customer service rep needs access to the new offers, their dependencies, and other information to be able to better help the customer, without passing them on to another agent.
Some of it can be papered over. In the retail store, for example, the service person would access multiple systems and craft the bundle that the customer saw advertised. However, each such transaction requires a trip to the store, driving up costs for the service provider and frustrating the customer.
What if a service provider could quickly bring together multiple product catalouges from across the business lines and partnerships into a centralised design time system that provides a better employee, customer, and partner experience? The product manager responsible for bundles crafts an offer using an intuitive user experience enriched with data to provide insights into offer performance such as current and projected uptake, revenue metrics. The offers are then published to commerce and care channels with a single click.
Customers can then shop over digital channels of their choice. If they need help and call into the contact centre, the agent has access to the same offers and services the customers see and can also see whatever the customers have placed in their cart.
The agent is aided with intelligent recommendations based on churn propensity, recommending personalised and prioritised offers, and helps the customer complete their order.
Customer and partner ecosystem experience can also be enhanced in the online charging domain by using insights derived from location, time, activity and personal preference to price, rate and recommended plans that will appeal to the customer and that leverage services from a partner ecosystem.
As the customer travels outside their local area, they are usually prompted with “Welcome abroad. The pay-per-use data rate is €2.50/MB.” Instead, wouldn’t the customer rather be given a personalised rate for a service based on their location and types of applications they use, such as cloud gaming, streaming or social media? That would save them from running to a local hotspot or buying a new SIM. They simply continue their relationship with their provider, generating revenue for the provider and other participants in the ecosystem. It’s a win-win for the service provider, the partners, and the customer.
Once the customer is happily using the network, an additional opportunity to provide a total experience comes through assuring a positive service experience on the network. In the event of a service outage due to an accidental fibre cut, weather event or other incident, the service provider must very quickly understand the problem and its root cause, reinstate service as quickly as possible, and ensure employees are equipped with full information on how customers or partners may have been impacted so they can provide excellent support.
We contend that services providers need to look at customer experience holistically: employees, partners, and customers. They need solutions that deliver “total experience,” enabling and empowering employees to better serve the customer with a solution that spans the entire product lifecycle: from bringing it to market in an agile fashion, making commerce frictionless, enabling care channels to have a 360-degree view of the customer and product offerings, and providing self-service options to customers. Those together—the total experience—improve customer loyalty and drive revenue growth via increased uptake of services that are most relevant to customers.
By taking a total experience perspective, service providers can meet today’s challenges and drive tomorrow’s revenue growth.
As a member of the senior leadership team, Robert leads the Global Consulting and Strategy Organisation for Oracle Communications Applications, enabling communications service providers fulfil transformational business outcomes with Oracle Communications Cloud, Applications and Technologies.
Robert has enjoyed a progressively senior career that spans more than two decades in the Telecom Industry with Oracle, encompassing a variety of Global, EMEA and APAC roles, including Consulting Services Leadership, Corporate Strategy and M&A, Sales and Technical Delivery.
Throughout his career, Robert’s keen interest has been to help communication service providers digitally transform customer experience, revenue generation, orchestration, service delivery and analytics; with clear focus on ensuring value from investments in technology.
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