Posted: September 28th, 2016 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: customer engagement, Generation Cloud, personalized customer journey | Comments Off on Enabling the Personalized Customer Journey
Have the rules changed for Communications Service Providers to engage with their customers?
Digitalization has created a generation of empowered, engaged and demanding “Generation Cloud” consumers. These people want to be treated as individuals through using a service that meets their expectations and aligns to the way they live their lives. They don’t want to follow service providers’ rules but instead, define the digital market as they want to see it. Service providers have to identify product opportunities, then design and commercially publish new service offerings faster than ever. Only then will they be able to seize the increasing new opportunities for data, content, applications and service monetization. Effectively they have to monetize more in less time, whilst leveraging partner offerings for service enrichment.
How do service providers win the hearts and minds of customers with almost impossible expectations?
To meet the expectations of generation cloud consumers it’s no longer sufficient to have a static portfolio of products that a customer selects and uses unchanged for the lifetime of a contract. Lifestyles, demands and expectations create a digital opportunity for providers to continually engage with their customers with contextually relevant enrichments to a base package contract.
These enrichments or upsell opportunities can take the form of traditional data or messaging bundles, however they can now also encompass personalized add-ons such as streaming subscriptions or cloud-storage with a data allowance; time-based video streaming bundles and sponsored enterprise data packages. These modern-day enrichments have to be more understandable by the consumer, as lifestyle enhancements aligned to them.
Service providers have an opportunity to not only create these offerings but intelligently identify when to make a recommendation and with which product. They also have to simplify the engagement and buying process as closed-loop automation, allowing for consistent improvement, alignment and customer retention.
What would the perfect solution look like for CSPs to enable the personalised customer journey?
A comprehensive turnkey solution for the personalized journey will incorporate a number of steps that the customer service lifecycle will take. These steps consist of product creation based on identified market needs, campaign management and commercialization of those products, an ordering process and of course the delivery of a product in the first instance.
Once delivered it’s necessary to collect data and valuable information on the consumed service, which when analyzed provides insights to drive the intelligent recommendations required for next customer contact via a simple interaction or detailed marketing campaign.
Realizing that the recommended add-on is a perfect fit, the consumer then needs a seamless buying and delivery experience – leading to the creation of a revised automation-loop for continuous future engagement.
A Modern Day Customer Engagement Architecture
Leveraging a communications industry data integration framework, Salesforce, Apttus and Comptel are perfecting the personalized customer journey through a number of identifiable steps.
- Designing – B2C or B2B service design based on technical network and service capabilities, with input from market research created by product management.
- Commercializing – Publishing of the product as a commercial offering, allowing a customer to discover, select and customize to their needs.
- Ordering – Submission of the selected and customized product as an order into the buying process. Incorporating CPQ processes (Configuration, Pricing and Quotation).
- Delivering – Order processing and service activation plus an all-important notification to the subscriber for full customer engagement into the process.
- Tracking – Continuous charging, metering and full reporting of service consumption by the subscriber, giving a 3600 perspective on contextual usage.
- Analyzing – Contextual analysis on service usage trends of the subscriber leading to intelligent recommendation for product upsell and tailoring – customer alignment and engagement.
- Growing – Perpetual engagement, offering continual recommendations to an individual and the option to buy. Perfecting the customer engagement process.
The result is an eco-system primed solution for customer engagement and contextually-intelligent product recommendations, leading to automated customer lifecycle management. The solution is enabled by the Salesforce Communications Framework & Data Exchange, Salesforce Customer Success Platform, Apttus Quote-to-Cash solution and Comptel Intelligent Data Monetization & Customer Engagement Automation.
Posted: August 24th, 2015 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: customer experience, enterprise sales, Generation Cloud | Comments Off on How Enterprise Sales Transformation Enables a Business-to-Human Approach
By Mikko Kiiski, Vice President, Product Management, Service Orchestration, Comptel
Consumers today can buy what they want in a matter of minutes. Empowered by a self-service research and purchase process, the buyer sets the terms of product or service delivery, and their order – whether physical or digital – will arrive, in most cases, with the consumer having tolerated minimal to no complexity.
That’s the business-to-consumer (B2C) digital buying experience, and customers expect to receive it each time they make a purchase on any device. Why, then, should expectations be any different in business-to-business (B2B) transactions?
After all, the same network technology that enables the digital buying experience for consumers also supports enterprise transactions. The only difference is the enterprise sales process, which is linear and requires a sales manager to field requests and quotes, verify feasibility, iterate on project design and eventually deliver.
This drawn-out process leads to delayed or poor implementations, frustrated B2B buyers and frequent order fallouts. In fact, Analysys Mason research shows that 35 percent of orders fail within the first six months of launch, primarily due to poor order quality.
It’s an especially bad process to keep using in light of the emerging digital buyer experience. The same IT buyer who might tolerate a slow and iterative purchasing process at work enjoys a much more enjoyable experience when shopping online or on mobile at home.
Our 2015 survey of telco C-level executives found that 78 percent are finding it harder to separate B2C and B2B customers by traditional standards, believing instead that they would be better served by taking a Business-to-Human (B2H) approach.
What is B2H? B2H knocks down the walls between consumer and business purchasing to create a shared service experience that is personalised, immediate, transparent and convenient.
It requires operators to undergo an enterprise sales transformation, connecting a responsive back office to a digital, user-friendly front office to reimagine how enterprise orders are orchestrated and fulfilled. While many operators are thinking about B2H, one Comptel customer achieved it to great success.
European Operator Embraces B2H
This operator’s journey started with a recognition that its existing IT infrastructure – particularly to support enterprise sales and service delivery – was too fragmented to deliver the Amazon-like buying experience its B2B customers want.
That fragmentation stemmed from years of mergers and acquisitions, the historical separation of technology stacks between different lines of business and the gradual accumulation of legacy hardware and applications. Rather than add on another separate fulfilment silo for its B2B customers, the operator instead chose to revamp its entire sales process, so it could be more agile and competitive.
The solution was to use a CloudSense front-end sales platform, integrated with Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, on top of Comptel’s FLOWONE™ Fulfilment platform. This combination allowed the operator to give enterprise customers the same online buying experience as consumers.
An enterprise IT manager, for example, could search the digital and communications service provider’s catalogue, which might include IP-VPN, video conferencing or even hardware, then configure and order everything online. The FLOWONE™ Fulfilment platform supports all service orchestration functions at time of purchase, allowing the customer to self-verify the feasibility of their request (“Can I get fibre Internet service at this address?”), pre-plan delivery (setting installation times and locations), and even reserve physical or logical resources.
The entire service orchestration cycle is now visible to customers. Just as they know when a package from Amazon might arrive at their doorstep, they now know when they can expect their new video conferencing service to be installed.
Now, 90 percent of the operator’s enterprise ordering and service deliveries proceed through this fully automated approach, with absolutely no contact from sales or support staff. The other 10 percent of orders are reserved for projects that require a human touch – such as an office move – but even these projects can be automated in many aspects.
The transformation delivered immediate financial benefits. The IP-VPN service delivery process shrank from 43 to 14 days. Furthermore, the actual order and configuration process only takes a few hours, and most of those 14 days are spent managing subcontractors or physical equipment. It all adds up to 3 million euros in annual OPEX savings for this operator.
That’s the amazing potential of bringing a B2C service experience to the enterprise. To succeed in a new digital era, operators must recognise that customers of all shapes and sizes want the same things: simplicity, customisation, immediacy and convenience. It’s all about B2H in Nexterday.
Get the full story on this operator’s enterprise sales transformation, and learn the simple process improvement that could change your business. Replay our recent webinar, “CSP Enterprise Sales Transformation – Using the Hybrid Cloud to Drive Business.”
Email email@example.com to arrange a meeting with Comptel at Dreamforce 2015, September 14-18, in San Francisco and learn more about our service orchestration solutions.
Posted: April 22nd, 2015 | Author: Ari Vänttinen | Filed under: News | Tags: customer experience, Generation Cloud, Operation Nexterday | Comments Off on Sprint’s ‘Direct 2 You’ Service Tailor-Made for Generation Cloud
From the milkmen who delivered dairy in the early 1900s, to the earliest pizza delivery services of the 1960s, to the shipments of furniture, mail and much more straight to your door, home delivery is nothing new to consumers.
However, sometimes taking a proven concept and applying it with a new context is all it takes to create fresh buzz.
That’s what U.S. mobile operator Sprint hopes to do with its new Direct 2 You service. Announced last week, Direct 2 You aims to “bring the store experience” to customers, who buy or upgrade their Sprint mobile phones, according to the company.
A Sprint customer service specialist – driving a Sprint-branded van, of course – will hand-deliver the new phone wherever the customer wants, whether at home, the workplace or even the local Starbucks. Once on-site, the Sprint specialist can help the customer set up the new device, transfer files and data from an old phone, initiate backups and walk through features.
Sprint also offers to buy your old phone as part of its trade-in program, and representatives will be able to value the old device on the spot during the in-person visit, the company said.
At the same time, customers won’t be pressured into buying other Sprint services. In comments to The Verge, Sprint vice president Rod Millar claims its representatives will not be pursuing upsells during their visits, instead focusing solely on ensuring customers are “happy and delighted.”
Though the entire program may seem old-fashioned at first glance, Sprint is actually demonstrating its savvy regarding modern consumer demands. This personal touch is the exact right approach for operators trying to appeal to Generation Cloud, who, as we explain in our new book Operation Nexterday, prefer to shop on their own terms.
Our recent survey of consumer digital buying preferences reveal 65 percent prefer to purchase digital content and services at their convenience, while 60 percent are influenced to buy by tailored recommendations from their operators.
Sprint’s home delivery service addresses several of these preferences. Customers are empowered to set the terms of their delivery and aren’t pressured to buy add-ons they don’t want. Our survey made it clear that consumers today are highly resistant to any service experiences that feel forced, and that they won’t hesitate to switch away from digital and communications service providers they feel are too aggressive with offers.
A personal support experience also matches customers’ desire for tailored service. Best of all, the entire service makes it faster and easier for consumers to purchase the latest technology. They know exactly when and where their new phone will arrive, and if Sprint is able to meet its delivery times consistently, that should limit customer frustration and increase their speed-to-satisfaction.
Direct 2 You is a step in the right direction for Sprint, which is showing it won’t stand idly by as its closest competitors try to win market share through other customer-first service offerings. And the program is a prime example of the type of creative thinking other operators will need to embrace if they hope to win customers’ hearts and minds—and wallets—in the era of Generation Cloud.
Learn more about the factors influencing Generation Cloud’s purchasing habits—and the strategies operators must embrace to succeed—in our new book, Operation Nexterday.
Posted: February 27th, 2015 | Author: Ari Vänttinen | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: digital buying experience, Generation Cloud, Nexterday | 3 Comments »
Today’s digital natives are setting a new standard for digital and communications service delivery. They make up “Generation Cloud,” characterised as independent, preferring to shop on their own terms, among a variety of options, and to make purchasing decisions in real time. They value personalisation and tailored recommendations over traditional marketing and sales tactics. And they’re primarily mobile, on-demand buyers, with 65 percent increasingly shopping on mobile devices versus at brick-and-mortar stores.
Naturally, the majority of users in today’s post-digital era will gravitate toward operators that recognize these values. The question, then, is how can operators create a digital buying experience rooted in those values? In January 2015, Comptel conducted a global consumer survey to shed some light on this.
Based on our findings, to win over Generation Cloud, operators need to act like less of a service provider, and more like a social companion. Sixty-five percent of consumers said they look to social circles to influence their buying decisions, and when youthink about the way we interact with our social circles, a very telling theme emerges. Our social interactions are incredibly personal and unique from person to person. Operators, take note.
Among social circles, we’re most strongly influenced by recommendations from others that truly know us, and our personalwants and needs. The way operators interact with their customers should be no different, and the numbers support that. Sixty percent reported that their buying decisions are directly influenced by tailored recommendations from their operators, and 62 percent are more likely to prefer an operator that makes personalised and relevant product recommendations as opposed to those that target them through mass promotions.
One example of how operators can offer this level of personalisation is the way they charge for data usage. We found that customers were fairly split on their pricing preferences across data plans, with about a third wanting to be billed by the amount of data used, while nearly the same number prefer pricing plans that are based on the amount of time spent using data. About a quarter would like to be billed on specific apps they use, and 10 percent think a combination of all three would be best.
Operators should be offering these options – recommending them, in fact – before customers even have a chance to ask for them, which means transforming business models to operate in Nexterday – the day after tomorrow.
Customers are independent – they don’t need an operator to tell them what to do. They do need an operator to give options. Not just any options, and especially not generalised or impersonal options, but ones that are the right fit for them as individuals. Consumers crave personalisation to guide their decision-making, and if operators are to get ahead (and stay ahead), they must put the power of dictating the buying experience in the hands of the consumer.
Download the complete findings of our 2015 global consumer research here:
Posted: February 2nd, 2015 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: buying experience, charging, Generation Cloud, Monetisation, Operation Nexterday, PCRF, policy control | 2 Comments »
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting, or visit us in Hall 5, Stand #5G40 to pick up a book about “Operation Nexterday.”