In Nexterday, There is More to Monetise but Less Time to Do It

Posted: February 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Monetizer™

The always-on, “Generation Cloud” is quickly developing new habits when it comes to data usage. Not only do these digital natives consume more, they use several devices – often at the same time – to access the content and applications they want. They expect it to be available whenever, wherever and on any device – even their car, house or watch might be connected to the Internet.

Fast and omni-device access to data enables people to change the way they work, interact with their friends and families, shop, learn and much more. It helps them improve their quality of life. For these reasons, customers are willing to pay for their data usage. And many of them are willing to pay a premium to enjoy their digital moments faster and with better service quality.

Consumers’ preferred data service buying experience is developing in tandem. “Generation Cloud” expects personalised, in-the-moment offers and a seamless purchase process. When provided, customers are willing to spend more.

Communications service providers (CSPs) need to act now and evolve their marketing and selling to keep in line with how customers are buying today and in the future. By adopting an “Operation Nexterday” approach, operators can anticipate consumers’ needs and maximise their interactions, monetising more in less time than ever before.

Sell something you don’t own – but take control

Today, CSPs’ bundling of third-party content and applications has become almost commonplace; it’s no longer seen as “special.” Selling something you don’t actually own doesn’t mean that you are out of control, though. Tighter integration between CSPs and Over-the-Top (OTT) players, as well as policy control and charging can help you optimise the buying experience and differentiate.

Partnered content or services, for example, are often loosely attached to CSPs’ offers. It might be a discount code passed onto a customer for use when he or she – separately – signs up for Spotify or Netflix. But consider the possibilities if the buying experience and the policy rules for handling and charging for this specific data traffic for this specific customer were tightly integrated.

Complexity is mounting – but…

Tighter integration and context-aware personalisation increase the complexity in policy and charging control. Dynamic changes in user behaviour and the competitive landscape will only add to this complexity, as will the Internet of Things (IoT) and voice over LTE (VoLTE).

Just think about the ultimate offer that contains all of the required ingredients such as subscription, rating, Quality of Service (QoS), monthly fees, cost control, roaming data package, advice of charge, applications, VoLTE and much more, all in one bundle – that’s a lot to deal with all at once and to cater to a very diverse audience.

Traditional PCRF and charging do not offer the sufficient flexibility and agility; thus, the legacy setup with yesterday’s offer design tools lack the ability to manage complexity efficiently. The complexity that arises is also the result of network upgrades, adding new capabilities and new elements like IMS and EPC. Due to the ‘patchwork’ architecture, every change takes too much time.

One size fits one

The era of one-size-fits-all campaigns is over. Rather, launching a number of agile, micro-level, long-tail campaigns that are tailored for smaller customer segments is the way forward if CSPs are going to profit. This is because offers, including the technology to enable them like policy and balance management rules and rating, have become much more complex.

Policy and charging rules are no longer stand-alone entities; they are blended. And on top, they will need to seamlessly integrate with predictive analytics and machine learning, to see and tap into patterns that the human mind just can’t. CSPs can then predict customer behaviour. They can predict network quality or outages. They can determine the best offer for each unique customer situation. And their systems’ learning never stops.

… but there’s more to monetise in customers’ digital moments

Data usage monetisation is a huge revenue opportunity, requiring maximum speed and flexibility for the offer design to be successful. System alignment and a contextual understanding of “Generation Cloud” customers are just as vital. In order to capitalise on this, CSPs should natively combine siloed policy control and charging functions. On top of this, they must add historical and anticipated insights on their individual customers and network traffic trends. Operators that can combine these will propel their business to “Nexterday” and be a fierce competitor in the post-digital era.

Comptel will be attending Mobile World Congress, taking place 2-5 March 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Interested in continuing this discussion on perfecting and monetising your customers’ digital moments? Email comptel.marketing@comptel.com to set up a meeting, or visit us in Hall 5, Stand #5G40 to pick up a book about “Operation Nexterday.”


Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013: Policy Decisions, Revenue, and Marketing’s Changing Responsibilities

Posted: April 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013: Policy Decisions, Revenue, and Marketing’s Changing Responsibilities

At the Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013 last week, I attended an interesting panel discussion that spoke about how marketing’s role was evolving when it came to policy and charging decisions. One of the most important takeaways was that marketing is going to have to get more involved in policy control and charging acquisition decisions, which has largely been the territory of telecom and IT departments.

That’s because, these days, CSPs are not seeing policy as an independent function. Instead, the focus is more on generating money with policy and charging tools.

The reason that marketing’s input is getting crucial is that, with revenues from voice and text on the decline, communications service providers (CSPs) have to create strategic, adaptive and sticky policies and charging bundles to monetise data. Cooperation with OTTs is becoming more important, because businesses need to develop flexible, joint offering models that can be adjusted for an increase in the revenue from data and cover the investment costs of ever-growing data networks.

Marketing is interested in developing an environment which makes it easy to offer targeted policy and charging bundles to customers, which is difficult to implement without the help of predictive analytics that can determine individual usage patterns and behaviour.

Combining Policy with Monetisation

Most CSPs today treat policy and charging as separate from strategic monetisation campaigns, but that’s changing. The panel showed that many businesses are thinking about policy and charging as a way to create a holistic approach to providing customers with the most relevant services. As data becomes the dominant force of monetisation, CSPs will have to transform policy control from static to dynamic and from reactive to proactive… and this is where marketing comes in.

Traditionally, policy decisions were predominantly made by telecom and IT departments, but as more emphasis is placed on analytics and ROI, marketing will have to be integrated into the mix. Now it’s time to analyse the information more thoroughly, and look beyond data usage per customer into what kind of data is used, by whom, at what times, and through which context, and make sophisticated predictions about the potential change of data usage or risk of churn. All in all, policy and charging models are going to become more complex, which in turn requires accurate network planning, end-to-end design and implementation capability.

Marketing will have to work with IT and telecom to target policy and charging models at a much more granular level. Each customer will have to be offered a policy and charging based on current and predicted behavior and data usage trends. Analytics tools will be the key to not just determining existing trends, but planning for new ones and responding to them in real-time or near-realtime, depending on each use case’s requirement.

The Paradox: Real-Time Policy and Real-Life Turnaround

As the panel explained, the problem right now is that the creation and management of policy control is not flexible or efficient enough. Often, policy models touch many parts of the organization, so decisions have to get approved by multiple departments and multiple levels of management before going into action. In these cases, CSPs risk losing serious revenue opportunities by not responding to customer needs quickly enough.

So, how can CSPs find efficient tools and simplify the process so that these new, innovative services will reach the audience fast enough?

Real-time analytics require real-time turnaround, but right now there are a lot of requirements for any policy change. It can take up to six months or more to deploy new policies, which inhibits the growth of the flexible environment needed to improve the deployment cycle in the first place.

The panel concluded by saying that there is a need to discover a way to simplify the process involved in policy creation. At Comptel, we’ve worked hard to provide some of those tools, with our analytics-driven mediation, policy control and charging platform. The answer to simplifying policy control and charging may be found in the new tools for CSPs that are available, which can better help marketing, IT, and telecom all come together to build business growth.


Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013: Where is Telco Policy Heading?

Posted: April 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013: Where is Telco Policy Heading?

This week, I attended the Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference in Berlin and came away with a lot of interesting insights. One of the subjects was, of course, the future of policy control and charging (PCC). As mobile devices diversify, so, too, do the ways that people use them. Consequently, communications service providers (CSPs) are going to have to think about PCC in a whole new way.

Policy should now be pervasive across all customer touch-points and platforms. Agility and flexibility is going to be paramount in new use cases, because CSPs are going to see a near-limitless combination of mobile data usage bundles, particularly when it comes to multimedia use. To meet this demand, there will have to be innovative new policy  and charging models.

The Troubling Siloes of OCF and PCRF

Right now, most PCC efforts are separated. That can be a huge barrier, since OCF (Online Charging Function) and PCRF (Policy  and Charging Rules Function) efforts can be stuck in siloes and CSPs can find it difficult to integrate them. However, now there are a lot of requirements coming from the market for diverse policy use cases that require integrated charging capabilities. On the other hand, policy is becoming more and more a strategic monetisation engine for CSPs. Given that there will be so many different use cases in the coming years,  which need to be launched to the market quickly, it’s inevitable that policy control and charging systems are going to grow together, so keeping the two separate will do more harm than good. Policy offerings will grow more complex as use cases grow more diverse. Not only that, “policy” is something that spans all networks – applications, BSS, OSS, every device is affected by policy control.

Still, once there’s a platform that can scale alongside policy and charging solutions, PCC is going to be critical for CSPs. It’s clear that, as policy and charging evolve, so, too, will pricing bundles. CSPs that can create versatile bundles and use predictive analytics to offer them to the right customers at the right time will have a huge advantage in the coming years. Predictive analytics together with catalog-driven policy and charging will form in the future the environment to correspond customer’s ever-growing need for individually targeted packages and make them available fast.

Personalising Policy

Without the relevant user data, it’s impossible to personalise policies effectively. That’s important, given that presenters at the Policy Control Conference seem to believe that innovative strategies for policy will rely on increasing personalisation. So, it’s time for CSPs to consider how they can leverage the big data already at their disposal for meaningful customer insights so they can better monetise their services.

A prime example here is LTE deployment. During the Mobile World Congress, we heard how LTE service has proven to be difficult to monetise effectively, given that customers often don’t use LTE to its full potential and CSPs have to heavily subsidise LTE handsets.  With the help of predictive analytics we should on the one hand target the LTE bundles with the subsidised handsets for the customers who would have the greatest benefit. But on the other hand by creating new policies based on user and usage data, it’s possible to create unique bundles that can make LTE a flexible service that becomes available when customers need it, not before. A good example is the instant bandwidth refreshment – also known as the turbo boost – to satisfy customer’s increased data usage.

This conference has highlighted what we here at Comptel have known for some time: real-time policy and charging decisions are going to dovetail with predictive analytics and catalog-driven approach.. Why? Because predictive analytics are the key to unlocking useful customer insights that can generate contextual intelligence for all customer interactions. With the right data and tools on hand, CSPs can learn about individual data usage and create new policy controls based on the easy-to-launch catalog-driven configurations that offer customers solutions when they need them, revolutionising the way that businesses think about policy, charging, and big data.


A Deeper Look at Analytics-Driven Policy Control and Charging

Posted: February 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights, News | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Today, we announced a joint real-time policy control and charging solution with Procera Networks, Inc. I thought this was an opportune time to sit down with Comptel’s resident policy experts, Malla Poikella and Tinakaran Ramdas, to discuss the state of policy – how it’s changed, the important elements involved, and what our partnership with Procera means for policy control and charging.

Q: How have we seen policy management mature, and how will this area continue to evolve in 2013?

Malla: Policy management will be present everywhere. Traditionally, it was just used to control network activities like bandwidth and usage. Now, it’s no longer constrained to the network and is effecting a much larger scope with charging, for instance, playing a greater role. Adding another layer to this is analytics, which enable more actionable intelligence that can be used to determine which individuals to engage, when to engage and the proper message to send to them. This type of targeting will, in turn, work to prevent churn and generate revenue.

Q: How important is real time to this?

Tinakaran: Throughout the whole cycle of policy control and charging, real time has played a huge role. But, you must understand that there’s a difference between real time and what we call ‘online’. Whereas real time can experience somewhat of a lag, online communications happen immediately. To illustrate this point, imagine streaming a video that keeps stalling. Operators can send a message in that exact moment saying that they are going to give you a boost because you’re a valued customer. This is an online communication – something that is relevant to customers while they are experiencing issues like this. It not only helps alleviate that certain problem, but drives loyalty gains in the long run. Real-time communications, on the other hand, takes a little longer, so you might receive an offer ten minutes after you’ve already finished the video – making it much less relevant.

Q: Policy control was a hot-button topic two to three years ago. Why is it still relevant and critical for communications service providers (CSPs) today?

Malla: Policy control is a key enabler of revenue generation, but data is also an important part of this – which has presented a problem for operators in the past when it comes to how to best harness and manage it. With today’s tools, though, operators can more easily do this, as analytical capabilities provide both user and network insights. This holistic view means operators have the clearest path to rate and charge intelligently.

Q: Why did Comptel and Procera decide to engage in this partnership?

Tinakaran: This partnership allows Procera further granularity into different services offered and, as a result, more opportunities to generate revenue. For instance, a user may want a special package for social services – now, with Comptel, Procera can understand user needs like this and target them accordingly with a specialised package. This granularity is enabled with both DPI and policy capabilities, allowing Procera to offer various packages, monitor that usage and then charge for them accordingly.


“Now I Understand What You Mean with Contextual Intelligence in Policy Control and Charging”

Posted: November 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on “Now I Understand What You Mean with Contextual Intelligence in Policy Control and Charging”

Last week I attended the Broadband Traffic Management event in London, gave a speech on analytics-driven Policy Control and participated in a panel on Over the Top (OTT) and Communications Service Providers (CSPs): ‘What are the Obstacles for Two Sided Business Models?

The need for policy control is evident.  CSPs cannot keep on investing in the networks to the same extent they have been doing in the past. The costs are too heavy, and CSPs are actively looking for smarter and faster ways to monetize data.  The key topics of the conference mostly span around Wifi offload (lightly, but there), OTT (heavily, how to partner), video (heavily, how to control). Video is considered the main culprit in consuming all the bandwidth, and CSPs are very worried about the growth.

The main message of my speech was to fundamentally state that “rules-driven PCC is not going to lead to success” and “policy control needs to be augmented with real-time predictive analytics”. One of the use cases I presented was a so called “intelligent turbo boost” which brings the possibility to dynamically alter the bandwidth, price and duration based on congestion and subscribers’ propensity to pay – as opposed to  the standard “bandwidth boost of 1Mbit/s for 1 hour for 2 euros”.  The second use case example introduced “contextual video optimization” which means using subscribers’ propensity for deciding how much video is optimized for a specific session instead of using rules that are static and fixed. The difference in approach is that humans are hardly driven by static rules, and therefore building the environment on a way where fixed rules define how everything works is really counter-productive.

I received very good feedback after the presentation. Most discussions ended up in the conclusion that pools of rules are very hard to maintain, and they hardly ever meet the subscribers’ expectations. They are looking for a service provider that can offer a selection of personalized data packages which flexibly responds to their needs on-the-spot and within a particular context.  That is something we would like call contextually intelligent customer experience management.


Counting Down to AfricaCom 2012

Posted: November 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Counting Down to AfricaCom 2012

Working in marketing, I am constantly trying to identify which conferences are the right fit for showcasing various products and solutions. While conducting these searches, Comptel, like other practical companies, often finds itself targeting the fastest growing market: Africa. It may come as no surprise, then, that Comptel will have a stand at the 15th annual AfricaCom conference taking place 13-15 November in Cape Town. This year’s thought-provoking programme promises to reflect Africa’s potential to influence a market already filled with vibrant new dynamics.

At the show, we will have a dedicated team of experts on-site that are happy to speak with communications service providers (CSPs) about the true value we can bring to their business by driving innovation and growing lifetime value through real-time, personalised customer engagement.  The Comptel team is looking forward to demonstrating how to reduce churn by transforming data into actionable intelligence. Acting on this intelligence, in addition to maximising customer lifetime value, helps CSPs distinguish themselves amidst a competitive market. The company will also discuss how to achieve accelerated and accurate advanced service deployments to enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty and their propensity to spend.

Will you also be attending the conference? If so, be sure to stop by Comptel’s stand, #C05, to find out how the right integrated mediation, policy control, charging, service fulfilment and predictive social analytics capabilities can deliver a fresh approach to telecommunications business for greater profitability.

To set up a meeting in advance, please contact comptel.marketing@comptel.com. Looking forward to seeing you in Cape Town!


Q2 2012: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Posted: July 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Today, we announced Comptel’s financials for the second quarter of 2012 and for the first half of the year as a whole. This is a personal milestone for me, as it marks my second year fully immersed as CEO — and as you’ll see from our mid-year highlights, I’m confident in the direction the company is moving.

This past quarter, our order backlog rose to a record high, as we won a significant EUR 5.4 million project to consolidate the mediation systems of a leading operator in Western Europe.

The upfront investments in the customer interface have yielded results in our largest regions, Europe and Asia, and we won seven new customers globally. Although our net sales have not yet met expected levels, they stayed on par with last year’s numbers, EUR 20.3 million (EUR 20.0 million). And we are optimistic our investments will grow our 2012 net sales approximately 10 per cent from the previous year. Integration of the advanced analytics expertise acquired in February 2012 has proceeded exceptionally well, resulting in winning our first deal for Comptel Social Links software.

We continued to bring new products to the market as key strategic initiatives. The major launch of Next Generation Comptel Fulfillment 8 software this quarter was received remarkably favourably by the OSS/BSS industry.  We also unveiled our Contextual Intelligence for Telco (CIQ4T) concept this quarter, providing communications service providers a framework for bringing customer experience to the next level. This innovative approach truly differentiates Comptel in the market.

Our business mix of licence and services sales was impaired by the personnel, project delivery and marketing costs, causing lower operative results than expected. To remedy this, we initiated first productivity action by streamlining R&D in Norway and further cost saving initiatives will bring us approximately EUR 10 million on annual level. During the second half of 2012, we will realise EUR 3-4 million savings. These initiatives will secure our competitiveness, sustain the execution of our strategy, and deliver an estimated 0 – 5 per cent operating profit of net sales, excluding one-off items.

Beyond the figures, we also concentrated the first half of the year on executing our new strategy. We opened new offices in Istanbul and Cairo  and announced several major customer wins around the world. These included, Telefónica Central America’s mediation consolidation that enabled the efficient management of more than half a billion daily transactions, Thai mobile operator Real Move’s deployment of Comptel’s Fulfilment solution to gain customers from the 3G market,  Kcell Kazakhstan’s replacement of its provisioning and activation system with Comptel’s Fulfilment suite to support its 3G rollout, and Kuwaiti’s  Watanya Telecom improvement of its customers’ first use experience with Comptel’s Dynamic SIM solution.

We also launched a new portfolio approach with our Customer Engagement solutions and Comptel Services Portfolio, in addition to a refreshed Comptel brand identity at Mobile World Congress Barcelona in February. We shared a white paper regarding Contextual Intelligence for Telcoms at Management World Dublin and organised our annual Comptel User Group in Copenhagen with more than 100 participants from leading service providers and industry analysts. On top of this, our customer engagement solutions were honoured in Pipeline’s Innovation Awards and the 2012 IBM Beacon Awards as the best communications industry solutions — reinforcing our capability to bring innovative products and solutions to the market.

Overall, the first half of 2012 has been largely focused on executing our strategy, investing in bringing new products to market, winning new customers and developing our Services Business. As we move into this next quarter, we’ll continue onwards building on our stated strategy and remain confident the productivity programme will secure our competitiveness. And I’m honoured to convey, on behalf of Comptel, that we are looking forward to continuing to deliver on our promises to the market in the second half of 2012.


Management World 2012: The Importance of Dynamicity for Innovation

Posted: May 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

While the weather remained unexpectedly warm here in Dublin, the conversations at Management World 2012 also heated up this week. Like Keith Willetts discussed in his keynote session, dealing with competition from over-the-top (OTT) players, combating churn and managing revenue growth were big areas of focus at TM Forum’s annual flagship conference. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a session that touched upon these industry challenges and really reinforced the overall theme of innovation.

Henk Ensing, technical consultant for TNO Information & Communication Technology, a Dutch institute for applied science that specialises in helping companies innovate, covered the potential for dynamic billing and why communications service providers (CSPs) need to inject some new thinking into their charging concepts and business processes. He highlighted that the key elements to dynamicity were analysing transaction-based usage, applying intelligent business rules and considering the contextual status of individual customers. Coincidentally, these were the main attributes for Comptel’s own Contextual Intelligence for Telco (CIQ4T) perspective.

Henk went on to state that dynamic billing brings the element of customer trust to a new level and illustrated this with an analogy comparing CSPs to fresh produce market merchants. Many people have a regular routine of going to the market on the weekend, generally stopping by their favorite vendors for particular foods. The vendors, in turn, are familiarised with their customers’ preferences and can tailor the products they sell accordingly or make recommendations on complimentary additional products based on their extensive experience with the produce—further strengthening their interactions. The vendors, however, don’t always have fixed prices on their produce, which may vary depending on factors like the season and supply. Yet, what keeps the customers coming back? It’s the relationships the vendors are building and nurturing.

Similarly, dynamic billing is based on strong customer relationships where each transaction is a unique opportunity to create a positive end-user experience. Taking into account the context of and appropriately targeting each individual customer interaction is key though. For example, CSPs should consider where the customer is in his or her lifecycle and what products will fit his or her specific needs and wants, at an appropriate time that adds true value.

Policies that govern charging and the network have an important role to play in understanding and implementing this dynamic ability. According to Henk, the beauty of dynamicity is that these policies can be changed in real time based on customers’ evolving requirements. Say, if someone gets paid every two weeks, he or she can opt to make a payment during that time and customise it depending on his or her personal preferences.

Henk’s thoughts on dynamic billing and charging concepts fit in nicely with the discussions at Management World 2012 and reflected Comptel’s own thinking on how CSP innovation needs to evolve. Analysing customer behaviour is just one step of the process, but intelligently determining their contexts to make interactions more relevant and personalised will significantly result in a high quality of experience and improve CSPs’ bottom lines. Ultimately, it’s about strengthening loyalty through a focus on relationship enhancement.


Comptel Prepares for Cisco Live! in London

Posted: January 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Comptel Prepares for Cisco Live! in London

Next week, the Comptel team is again heading to Cisco Live! in London, and we expect cloud to be a popular point of discussion at the show. Cloud services offer great revenue potential for communications service providers (CSPs), but harnessing that potential requires a comprehensive platform dedicated to a very different kind of business.

Our staff will be on hand to demonstrate how the Comptel Virtualization Charging Solution (VCS) for Cloud is tailored toward this new business model. It re-uses many of Comptel’s existing mediation and charging components that are already deployed with various CSPs worldwide, and enables them to create advanced and flexible charging models in a cloud context (e.g. Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Storage-as-a-Service).

The VCS acts as the mediation layer between a CSP’s cloud environment and billing system by collecting usage statistics of virtual machines managed via e.g. Vcenter, Xen or Hper-V, and then processing network bandwidth data from e.g. Nexus routers and rating the data according to active subscriptions, and finally delivering rated items for billing-based specified time intervals. We like to call this “concept to cash”.

If you’d like to talk with us about cloud services’ impact on BSS/OSS, how CSPs can best manage their network assets for managing cloud services and our VCS solution, come to the Comptel booth (#E3)—you’ll find us just next to the Cisco Industrial Network Solutions demo area. (Some of the demo areas have less technical names such as Bloodhound—unrelated to K-9s, Bloodhound SSC is the ultimate land speed record car!)

One other fun fact: After Cisco Live! in London is complete, the conference venue, ExCeL London, will play a big role in the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, serving as the host to seven and six events (or 80 and 74 medals) respectively. As my peer Andrew Gavin wrote during the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the network infrastructure must have greater capacity than those of previous sporting events based on the anticipated increase in traffic demand. This will be key to ensuring a high customer experience for the global audience the Olympics will bring to London. Cisco will be supplying the routing, switching, firewalls and IP telephony to approximately 100 venues across the U.K. to support the summer games, and they will be showcasing that during Cisco Live.

We hope to see you at the event!


Around the World

Posted: October 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Connected Planet…
Analysis: Is Bill Shock Pressure Creating a Tipping Point for ‘Great’ Customer Service?
Alex Leslie predicts that customer experience will improve as a result of regulators’ efforts to lower bills for mobile usage. His article was published on the heels of new FCC and CTIA guidelines dictating that network operators send voice or text alerts to users as they approach data limits. Regulators in Australia, Asia and Europe are already following suit.

Even though regulations are often met with resistance, history shows that they can be beneficial in giving rise to improved solutions and services—and customer experiences. For example, previous rules about data usage and billing accuracy led to revenue assurance with communications service providers (CSPs) improving their billing strategies. Do you think history will repeat itself, with the new bill shock regulations opening opportunities for CSPs to differentiate themselves in the customer service department?

Light Reading…
Policy Is Still Strategic, But Changing
A survey by Heavy Reading shows that network operator executives expect policy management to gain importance, and predicts that a new generation of policy gear will be deployed to handle increased functionality. The survey results also reveal interest in using policy control to enable business models with third-party content, and mirror Comptel CEO Juhani Hintikka’s predictions that the next phase in policy control will take advantage of third-party applications with content prioritisation.

What these new business models require is more scalable policy technology that can integrate with charging and billing systems, so that operators have a wider range of triggers to drive policy, both in creating new services and in managing congestion.

Microsperience…
The Four Main Pillars of the Telecoms Customer Experience
Telecoms analyst Teresa Cottam writes that many CSPs are focusing on their own needs rather than looking at customer experience from the customer’s point of view. She says that there are four main pillars to the telecoms customer experience:

1)      Network Experience
2)      Commercial Experience
3)      Product Experience
4)      Service Experience

The pillars need to simultaneously work together while also being individually optimised in order to support the overall customer experience.  Even though customers should be the focus of the business, Teresa stresses that operators still need to be profitable. The key challenge is finding the right tools that will help CSPs improve customer engagement and at the same time, help them increase their revenue.