Through Network Transformation, POST Technologies Gains Flexibility, Operational Savings

Posted: July 13th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Compelling Cases | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Through Network Transformation, POST Technologies Gains Flexibility, Operational Savings

Outdated back-end systems no longer offer the flexibility to help operators create the dynamic digital services their customers want, nor do they lead to cost-efficiency from an operational perspective. Recognising this, many service providers across the globe are undertaking challenging back-end fulfillment transformation projects for their networks, with the aim of reducing operational expenses and providing customers with next-generation digital services.OSS Transformation

For telcos, these network transformations are complex enough, but add on complimented mergers, acquisitions, regulations and organisational restructuring, and the project can seem downright implausible.

However, one Comptel customer was able to achieve the seemingly impossible and re-engineer its network for better flexibility.

New Business Model Requires Back-End Transformation

After the leading Luxembourg postal and telecommunication service provider, POST Luxembourg, divided its existing telecommunication operations into two separate companies due to regulatory obligations, the organisation’s new business model required a back-end transformation.

POST Telecom would market telecommunication services to residential and corporate customers and POST Technologies would provide wholesale services to POST Telecom and to Other Licensed Operators (OLOs). The company needed to split the IT operations and processes that supported both divisions, while still meeting a regulatory requirement that all orders shared the same processes, regardless of which customer placed the order.

Although POST Technologies would not need to directly interface with residential and corporate customers, the company recognized that it still needed to transform its fulfilment architecture so that wholesale customers could deliver modern and innovative services to their various end users.

Regulations put an added layer of pressure on POST Technologies, as the company was given a tight implementation schedule – the first phase needed to be up and running within nine months.

Equipped for The Future

Stemming from a negative experience with a previous waterfall-based transformation that was based on fixed, pre-defined project design and timelines, POST Technologies decided to follow agile work principles for this particularly daunting project.

“Agile methods were already used by POST for development projects,” said Luca Nadalini, Head of OSS-ISS-Fulfillment for POST Technologies. “But this was the first time we applied them to a large transformation project.”

Comptel, which already applies agile methods in product development, was able and willing to work with POST Technologies using lean delivery.

After a three-year long planning and evaluation phase, using TM Forum’s Frameworx as references for terminology and best practices, POST Technologies selected Comptel’s FlowOne Fulfillment suite as the company’s unified fulfillment solution for all services, enabling automated, accurate and controlled workflows. The suite also offered POST Technologies flexible service portfolio development, enabling the company to meet changing market needs and improve competitiveness.

Best of all, POST Technologies gained the flexibility to adapt its fulfillment processes to new requirements in the future, without having to engage in another expensive transformation project.

Working with Comptel, POST Technologies was able to meet its business objectives in a very challenging timeline. POST has now completed the first phase of its transformation project, which has already led to an increase in operational efficiency, higher revenue and margin, and improved customer experience.

Download this Comptel case study to get the full story on how POST Technologies transformed its fulfillment architecture with Comptel’s FlowOne Fulfillment.

[NEW RESEARCH] What Telco CMOs and CIOs/CTOs Are Thinking About in 2014

Posted: March 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on [NEW RESEARCH] What Telco CMOs and CIOs/CTOs Are Thinking About in 2014

At Mobile World Congress 2014, one theme was prominent above all others: disruption. New kinds of mobile devices, social media, Big Data, virtualisation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Over-the-Top (OTT) providers were central to nearly every product, service or discussion.

By now, it’s obvious to telcos that business models need to change and new strategies have to be implemented, but it’s difficult to know where to begin. That’s why Comptel conducted research with Vanson Bourne: to identify the barriers, strategies and attitudes facing telco CMOs and CIOs/CTOs as they look into 2014 and beyond.

Customer Experience: The Top Priority

Our research found that telco executives almost unanimously (80 percent) agreed that customer experience should be a goal of every employee in the organisation. While that goal may be established, executives are planning a number of different ways to get there. When asked about strategic priorities for 2014:

  • 60 percent are hoping to understand gaps in the service delivery process
  • 56 percent want to improve network performance
  • 52 percent are focused on developing new products
  • 48 percent want to understand customer experience on a granular level

The Big Data Behind Big Decisions

The intelligent use of data seems to be integral to telcos’ strategies this year. Predictive analytics, OSS/BSS consolidation and other initiatives can help streamline processes and modernise infrastructure; our research showed that executives are working hard to see these through.

While we found that integration, coordination and analytics are on the horizon, there still needs to be a fundamental shift in the way that different departments communicate – while 72 percent of CMOs want to understand gaps in service delivery, 68 percent of CIOs/CTOs said that they want to improve their networks.

These are the focuses we would traditionally expect from these organisations. Until executives agree on the mutual importance of each other’s responsibility, customer-centric initiatives are likely to remain at a standstill.

So how are communications service providers planning to overcome those barriers? And what will be possible if customer-relevant insights are shared between two traditionally separate organisations?

Check out our infographic, and download our eBook below to find out more!

Click to zoom.

Want to learn more about telco in 2014? Download our new eBook, “What Telco CMOs and CTOs/CIOs Are Thinking in 2014.”

In this eBook, we share exclusive, global executive research that highlights:

– Executive strategies for 2014

– Barriers to integration

– Technology priorities

– Attitudes toward data & planning


How Big Data Blurs the Borders of Business and Technology in the Telco Industry

Posted: September 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

This post was written by Ulla Koivukoski, SVP of Comptel’s Analytics Business Unit, and Malla Poikela, senior product marketing manager.

The new normal today is that we live in an ocean of data. Now, it’s up to companies to transform that data into actionable insights that can have a real impact on business.

In the telco industry, creating a vision for data hinges on creating insights based on customer behaviours and around the networks that provide the data in the first place.

For that reason, communications service providers (CSPs) face a unique opportunity when leveraging the power of Big Data. Applying realtime analytics can deliver a holistic and contextual view of customer habits and preferences, and show exactly how CSPs’ underlying infrastructures may be affected by them.

Finding the Platform for the Vision

Any CSP that has delved into the depths of Big Data knows that the sheer amount of information at their fingertips can be staggering. That’s why an intelligent mediation environment is crucial for processing the customer and network information and helping to transform that knowledge into concrete insights. With a mediation platform, in-built predictive analytics can be used in tandem with insights visualisation tools to enable operators to make real-time, automated decisions and actions based on the experience of an individual customer in his/her activity on the network.

These insights aren’t stale numbers; they’re dynamic and are contextually relevant for each individual customer. Analytics-enriched intelligent mediation can lead to unprecedented personalisation when it comes to marketing offers and business development opportunities. Today, those focused campaigns are a must – one survey from Vanson Bourne, in fact, confirmed that nine out of ten consumers wanted more personal interactions with their mobile operator.

Unifying Business and Technology

Previously, data was the domain of business intelligence (BI) teams that would collect, analyse and then disseminate information throughout different departments. But that’s all changing. New insights and analytics tools have made analysis easier and more accessible than ever before, so data is becoming democratised.

This means that the same dataset with insights and predictions can be made available for all decision-makers across an organisation instantly, regardless of department (as Ulla has written before). If all of the relevant silos have access to that information, marketing, technology, IT and business development can be streamlined, and silos are removed from the equation.

In short, accessible data blurs the borders between different company departments. The CIO, CTO and CMO can easily work from the same set of information to get insights about customer behaviour, prevent QoS driven churn, improve network and service quality, and create more sophisticated and targeted campaigns.

The Future of Marketing is Networks, and the Future of Networks is Marketing

At Comptel, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the future of marketing is networks, and the future of networks is marketing.

Given the massive amount of customer data available, CSPs already have the power at their fingertips. They just need to get the right tools for the job, so it’s possible to reach out and grab it.

Want to learn more?

Read Northstream’s new white paper, “Analytics Beyond the Hype.” Some of the analytics strategies covered include:

  • Reducing churn via predictive analytics
  • Making customer acquisition more cost-effective with targeted marketing
  • Operating networks more efficiently by automatically monitoring asset and capacity management
  • Tailoring offers to customers to increase ARPU

Download the White Paper!

What Utilities Companies Can Learn from the Telco Industry

Posted: September 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on What Utilities Companies Can Learn from the Telco Industry

The array of complex services delivered by utilities is far-reaching and continues to grow thanks to increasing demand, uncertain commodity prices and fluctuating regulations. One new report speculates that new technology is a must for the industry, especially given the transformation of utilities from solely energy providers to energy service providers (i.e. efficiency, home services, etc.).

More services mean more complex, internal infrastructure. To stay running, utilities depend on everything from virtual private networks (VPNs) and inter-site VoIP to external connectivity and detailed inventory navigation. The huge capital investments in new networks also need to be justified piece by piece. If these operations aren’t managed properly, there can be bandwidth and connectivity issues.

The average utility has a lot of moving parts, just like communications service providers (CSPs). As with utilities, the pace of change in the telco space can leave businesses scrambling for new solutions. Declining revenues from traditional services like SMS and profit margin threats presented by Over-the-Top (OTT) providers has made adaptation a necessity. Service packages have also become more complex; subscribers want to pick and choose between an array of different services, and customers often want to update packages at a moment’s notice.

CSPs have had to start making some significant changes. A flexible and adaptable approach to product and service management is fundamental in the telco industry today, because creating a new order process for every type of product or bundle offers little-to-no options for scalability.

Utilities, too, have sprawling infrastructures, diverse and enormous user bases and business models that have remained static for decades. Now, some are implementing new solutions first pioneered by CSPs that can help make operations more efficient than ever before.

Keeping Things Aligned with Service Fulfillment

CSPs have increasingly turned to integrated service fulfillment platforms that help bridge customer orders and service deployments. This centralised platform approach offers automated delivery and granular visibility across the order process, empowering CSPs to reduce time-to-market and experiment with new services and bundles.

In much the same way, utilities can benefit from turning to integrated service fulfillment platforms. This technology allows communications within utilities to become streamlined. Comptel Service and Resource Inventory can provide highly flexible, context-sensitive inventory management that is adaptable to changing and converging network technologies, for example. Commissioned services and equipment can be tracked and distributed from start to finish, and network assets can be accurately deployed to maximise utilities’ revenues and reduce their operational costs.

At the end of the day, centralising operations through a fulfillment platform can make utilities leaner and more nimble at a time when adaptability is key to profitability.

Learning from Telco

Right now, the majority of utility companies are growing without a scalable solution in-hand. This can lead to breakdowns in connectivity that result in costly network errors. By moving operations to one central, integrated platform, it’s possible to keep track of everything that goes into the delivery of resources to different sites.

The streamlining of operations through integrated service fulfillment platforms can reduce the total-cost-of-ownership for the utilities industry. CSPs have been managing the massive influx of data through these solutions and other enterprise businesses with complex services and vast infrastructures can do the same.

Around the World

Posted: August 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

As usual, there’s been a lot going on in the telco industry these days. Comptel wants to bring you the best, most interesting stories and studies we’ve found, so communications service providers (CSPs) can stay on track.

Here are three in particular that caught our eye:

Billing & OSS World…

Big Opportunities From Big Data, But Barriers Remain

Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed think that the main, long-term driver is generating new business models. Informa Telecoms & Media has released a new survey of telecom operators which shows that Big Data has the potential to create great opportunities for businesses in the future. The respondents also agreed that Big Data’s short-term driver is solving internal challenges.

Forty-eight percent of operators said that they have Big Data solutions implemented already. On average, they spend ten percent of their IT budgets on Big Data, and this is expected to increase to twenty-three percent within the next five years. However, a major barrier that continues to be an issue is that operators still lack a business proposition and a trained team to handle the implementation.

Comptel’s own Matti Aksela recently spoke to Telecom Asia on this latter issue: “Vendors operating in this space can have a very skilled team behind their analytics solutions, and knowledge on integration and decision-making based on the analytics, and can quickly achieve benefits for CSPs. It may be even easier to ‘tear down the silos’ coming from the outside than just working internally.” Read the full article on whether telecom operators should manage analytics in-house or outsource it here.

Analysys Mason…

Analytics Applications Provide Rich Functionality and Low-Risk Deployment to Help Drive New Use Cases

CSPs have been using traditional analytics tools to help review data, analyse it and report it. However, new analytics applications can be deployed and configured specifically for a CSP’s use case, automating the best practices learned throughout the industry while eliminating the need for scarce data scientists to help segment and manage the data.

The real challenge in deploying a new analytics solution is infrastructure. CSPs must be flexible about changes in operations, so the business can accommodate new tools into the workflow Infrastructures are usually created with a specific use case in mind, but when an application is on top of the old infrastructure, there’s always the risk of compatibility. Lastly, CSPs will have to depend on vendors for updates to the application. Analytics applications are beneficial for CSPs, but operators must have the means to implement a new system of data analytics for the analytics applications to be successful.

Matti Aksela spoke with Big Data Republic in June about Big Data’s ability to reduce churn through advanced, predictive analytics tools. Robi Axiata experienced the results first-hand – once the factors of churn were identified, strategies could be taken to predict and eliminate them in the future.


Should experience come before the engagement?

With Big Data helping CSPs identify the granular aspects of the customer experience and customer engagement, it’s easier to see where in the organisation improvement is needed. While customer experience represents the sum of what a customer has experienced at a given time, engagement represents the sum of the customer’s experiences over time. For the customer experience to be improved, specific departments can be targeted and strategies can be recalibrated. Customer engagement, however, needs an enterprise-wise approach to be improved.

A customer’s lifetime value must be determined and closely nurtured by the entire organisation to ensure that engagement is positive and, as Ulla Koivukoski wrote, CSPs can uncover new revenue streams and grow businesses by focusing on engagement. Predictive analytics can play a major role in fostering departmental collaboration and, in turn, delivering high-quality customer experiences.

Telecoms: Creating Motives for Delight

Posted: August 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

Differentiating through customer experience should go beyond addressing the reasons for dissatisfaction

Competition in the telecoms industry is threatening to intensify the pressure on the traditional revenue of established communications service providers (CSPs). This article, which was originally published on Analysys Mason’s website, discusses the importance of improving the customer experience and the lessons that can be learned from the airline industry.

You board a flight to return home. Before take-off, you are offered a drink and some snacks. The plane takes off, but you don’t even notice because you are watching that movie you missed last month in the cinema. After 20 minutes, a member of the highly efficient cabin crew offers you a delicious meal. Later, when you are informed that the plane is about to land according to schedule, you are surprised at how quickly the trip went. The whole flight experience was designed to please the senses.

After a few flights, you start to associate the airline with high-quality customer service. Next time you are booking a trip and the name of that airline shows up in the list, you will instinctively select it, overlooking the hefty price premium you will be paying compared with the cheapest option. You will be paying for the customer experience, and you will not be alone. Many will do the same, feeding the profits of the companies that strive to please you.

The liberalisation of the airline industry led to its commoditisation, driven by the appearance of several low-cost airlines. The price pressure that this caused reduced the margins of established airlines, leaving them with no alternative but to differentiate through customer experience. The successful ones have done so, and manage to retain a price premium despite offering a commoditised service. The ones that did not, mostly state-owned companies, struggle or have vanished.

Telecoms operators are in a very similar situation. More competition is driving a significant price reduction, eroding margins and forcing CSPs to improve efficiency. Over-the-Top (OTT) players threaten to have the same impact on the traditional revenue of established operators as low-cost airlines had in the airline industry. However, the potential to differentiate exists, and examples from other industries can offer some guidance.

Although large numbers of CSPs’ subscribers are price sensitive, the value is typically concentrated in a small proportion of high-value customers. Above all, these customers are looking for a problem-free, enjoyable telecoms experience. When subscribing to a service, customers want their CSPs to guide them in the process, speak the same language and allow for service experimentation. Once subscribed, customers want to be able to quickly and easily access the services and activate additional services with the least hassle.

Customers should never need to contact the CSP to solve problems, but if they do, the customer support should be readily available and knowledgeable. It seems simple, but a good customer lifecycle experience is hard to design and implement. However, it does not need to be expensive. In another recent article, Mike Pearson discusses a real case of a telecoms operator that improved the experience for its customers and reduced its costs.

If telecoms operators are to improve the experience of their customers, they must make a concerted and cross-functional effort. Commercial and technical departments should work together, and the right incentives should be in place to ensure that the organisation is focused on the same final goal.

Roughly speaking, implementing a good customer experience involves four steps:

1. Understand the pain points

The starting point of this assessment should be customer perception, but this can be misleading. Is your call centre really that good, or do customers think it is good because they have low expectations? A mix of customer perception, competitor benchmarking and internal quantitative measurements need to be part of this assessment.

    2. Identify the root cause of the problem

    This requires a detailed internal analysis, examining KPIs and processes to understand where a gap exists. If your customers perceive that you are overcharging, the cause could be anything from an issue with the BSS to a miscommunication by the sales team.

      3. Quantify the impact of the problem to understand how much it is worth to solve it

      Improving customer experience improves price premium and margins, but also requires investment. Ensuring a positive return on these investments is a key part of the overall performance improvements.

        4. Solve the problem

        A proper workplan and resources with the right incentives need to be put in place. Having the right KPIs is essential to ensuring that the impact of the transformation is quantifiable. Involving the whole company is also vitally important – changing only a part of the customer experience will not be enough. It only works if it all works.

          Obviously, not having dissatisfied customers is different from providing a differentiated customer experience. Differentiating through customer experience should go beyond addressing the reasons for dissatisfaction – it needs to create motives for delight. This is where the real challenge lies, but the process is similar – assess the customer lifecycle, identify improvement potential, implement and quantify impact.

          CSPs are very focused on avoiding commoditisation and margin squeeze by adding value-added services to their propositions. That is needed, but, as with airlines, the best value-added service CSPs can give to customers is an excellent customer experience.

          Comptel’s Take

          We think that the parallel Carlos draws between airlines and CSPs is an important one. Just like the airline industry, telecoms is facing some unprecedented new competition in the way of OTT players and other new services based on mobile data. To stand out today, CSPs have to create innovative pricing bundles and offers that the competition can’t, while at the same time providing unmatched service quality.

          For a streamlined customer experience, we believe CSPs should leverage the potential of big data. By applying predictive analytics to customer insights across multiple platforms, it’s possible to identify trends, preferences and demographics that can be crucial to building next-generation customer service.

          That way, if a customer does have a quality issue, CSPs can act immediately to not just remedy the problem, but delight the customer. At the same time, predictive analytics can discover the preferences and usage habits of customers, which can then be leveraged to create marketing campaigns and messages tailored to their needs.

          Carlos Pinto is a senior manager at Analysys Mason and is based in Dubai. He has advisory experience specialising in analytical marketing, commercial value proposition definition, customer value development strategies, mobile pricing, network optimisation strategy, and financial analysis and valuation. He has developed and implemented business plans and marketing strategies for different companies and government authorities worldwide, including commercial strategies for companies in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast and Central Asia. He has advised CEOs and board members of some of the biggest telecoms groups in countries such as Bahrain, Congo-Brazzaville, Kenya, Nigeria, Portugal, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania, UAE, Uzbekistan and Zambia.

          To Reverse Declining Revenues, the Telco Industry Has to Think Outside the Box

          Posted: August 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

          A new report from independent global analyst firm Ovum showed that the telco industry may be experiencing declining revenues for the near future. Most of the decline will occur among telcos with significant exposure to Europe and other mature economies. The only significant growth is taking place within emerging markets, particularly China.

          The findings come from a review of full-year KPIs of 23 of the world’s largest telcos, and the analyst firm expects revenues to slow down until at least 2018.

          Ovum’s review may or may not come as a surprise to communications service providers (CSPs), which have already been in a constant dance to adapt to the latest technology and the latest competition. While Ovum’s findings seem grim, they should be embraced as an incentive to modernise and innovate their service offerings and customer focus.

          The telco industry can look at two things in particular: finding the equilibrium that balances OTT contribution with their business models, and leveraging core competencies and rich data to operationally transform into a “customer company.”

          1. Treat OTT players like inspiration, not competition.

          The loss of revenues telcos are experiencing is, more often than not, blamed on OTT players. There’s no doubt that services like Apple, Google, Skype and WhatsApp are draining business from the industry, but that doesn’t mean that the answer is to aggressively defend market positions, or turn the other way and pretend they don’t exist.

          Ovum’s telco operations analyst and report author Adaora Okeleke suggests using them as inspiration. “Telcos could feasibly play a role as service enablers, but they first need to adopt the leaner structures of OTT players such as Google,” she said in a statement. “By partnering with application developers and allowing them to use their secure platforms for service delivery, telcos will be able to drive innovation and reduce time-to-market.”

          As my colleague, Steve Hateley, recently wrote, another option is to try new pricing structures that OTT players can’t give to customers. Some CSPs are experimenting with unlimited bundles, as opposed to reversed, limited bundles. There are also potential strategic alliances that could be built between CSPs and OTT providers that benefit everybody. After all, OTT players still depend on the network infrastructure that CSPs provide.

          2. Create more efficient operations.

          By invoking the “leaner structures” of Google, Okeleke acknowledges that there are inefficiencies in the current telco business model. But it doesn’t take too much digging to discover that this is a common sentiment.

          As an example, many CSPs have more than one mediation and / or provisioning platform, which can end up producing redundancies and slow, error-filled service roll-outs. OSS consolidation may seem intimidating, but the rewards are worth it – by consolidating five systems into a single Comptel Convergent Mediation platform, for example, one CSP recently reduced operational costs by up to 30 percent.

          Additionally, having a central solution for their increasing amount of network, service and other data allows CSPs to more effectively apply contextual intelligence to overcome their business challenges associated with better customer understanding.

          The Future of Telco

          There’s no doubt that things in the telecommunications industry are getting shaken up, but new technologies can offer a host of opportunities for CSPs just as old revenue and business models continue to decline. Comptel is working hard to provide those solutions to the telco industry, and we’re excited for the future, because those solutions mean a better experience for customers and better operations for CSPs.

          Can Building Partnerships with OTT Players Actually Improve Telco Revenues?

          Posted: July 4th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

          Voice and SMS revenues are declining dramatically for communications service providers (CSP). Telco 2.0 expects SMS revenues in Europe and the Middle East to drop 40 percent by 2015, while Strategy Analytics predicts that CSPs around the world will lose about $3 billion in revenue between 2012 and 2017.

          And where’s all the money going? To over-the-top (OTT) providers that offer consumers third-party ways of messaging. Apple, Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp are just some of the players in the space. OTT messaging just keeps getting more popular, too. By the end of 2013, Informa Telecoms & Media estimates that OTT messages will be double the number of peer-to-peer SMS messages.

          Neutralising the Threat

          One trend that has seen some adoption has been the shift to reversed, limited to unlimited bundles. International telco efficiency specialist, tefficient recognized that between 2010 and 2012 as data demand showed significant growth, the OTT monetization opportunity had increased.

          At the same time, operators started to reverse their mobile bundle offerings in terms of voice and data. The studyrevealed that instead of packaging limited voice minutes and SMS with unlimited data, operators increasingly limited the amount of inclusive data while making voice and SMS unlimited. Of course this has the effect to neutralise the OTT threat and supporting the opportunity for operators and OTT’s to partner.

          CSPs remain understandably worried about this new competition, but most aren’t sure how they can solve the problem. Yet one Australian operator, Telstra Global, has a solution: improve the customer experience and bundle services.

          Competing Directly with OTT Services

          A good number of CSPs have been trying to quietly ignore OTT providers, because they’re not quite sure where to start when it comes to developing a competing solution. Telstra Global has discovered that it’s just a matter of building the right service packages and the right partnerships.

          Martijn Blanken, managing director, told Total Telecom that there is “a way to beat” OTT services like WhatsApp, and it comes down to packaging things differently. That’s how Telstra Global has been able to protect SMS revenues as the technology evolves. Blanken noted, too, that OTT providers need the connectivity and network power that CSPs can offer, which can pave the way for strategic alliances that can benefit everyone.

          More than anything, however, Blanken emphasised customer service. “The true differentiation will be the customer experience,” he told the news outlet, and everyone from every department will have to be involved.

          Packaging Services in a Way that Works

          We’ve long believed the same thing – these days, customers are looking for the best possible experience from their CSPs. Research from Vanson Bourne shows that nine out of ten consumers want more personalised interactions with their mobile operators. The advantage that traditional mobile operators have over OTT services is that they know their customers already. It’s just a matter of leveraging big data analytics to create an individual experience for each customer.

          If CSPs could use technology like predictive analytics to anticipate mobile habits, then it would be possible to create unique service packages that are superior to OTT models. Automatically sending a customer a relevant solution delivers a great experience that he or she is very likely to remember. As personalisation becomes the norm for customer service, big data analytics will allow CSPs to create new revenue streams and, best of all, work with OTT services to deliver next-generation customer experiences.

          A Telco Paradox: Declining Revenues, but More Demand than Ever

          Posted: May 15th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on A Telco Paradox: Declining Revenues, but More Demand than Ever

          At Management World 2013 in Nice, France, Keith Willets, the chairman of TM Forum, highlighted something that’s on the mind of every communications service provider (CSP): declining revenues. A lot of this decline isn’t from competition and certainly isn’t from a lack of demand, either. It’s from the radical changes in mobile usage habits around the world.

          The drastic decline in SMS, amounting to about $30 billion in lost revenue last year, is one example that Willets mentioned. The text message is swiftly being replaced by IP-driven services like iMessage, leaving no room for CSPs to build new opportunities in the same space. Instead, as Willets explained, they need to look elsewhere.

          The Customer Conundrum

          Amid the panicking about changing consumer habits, there’s something even more important that’s fallen to the wayside: the consumers themselves. The telecommunications industry has six billion customers around the world, and Willets reminded everyone at Management World 2013 that telco is ranked in the lowest quartile for customer experience.

          Changing the way CSPs interact with customers was part of Willets’s survival kit for this “digital storm.” He listed data analytics, real-time offers and bundles as being critical for operators to build a sustainable business and better relationships with customers.

          Willets’ point was simple: if CSPs treat their customers well, they’ll be more tolerant and forgiving. In a world where CSPs are scrambling to create new revenue streams, the customer has to stay top-of-mind.

          Overcoming the Paradox with Personalisation

          What I heard from Willets’s speech was everything that Comptel has been working on. With traditional sources of revenue declining steeply, CSPs have to recalibrate by focusing on personal, customised offers that serve to engage, delight and sell to customers at the same time.

          Predictive analytics should be at the core of this approach. If CSPs can use big data to hone in on customers’ behaviours and needs—and automatically and proactively leverage that knowledge for new business opportunities—then this era of sweeping change across the telco industry will clearly be change for the better.

          Management World Americas: Putting the customer first

          Posted: December 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Management World Americas: Putting the customer first

          Yesterday, I was able to listen to some of the customer experience management (CEM) sessions held here at Management World Americas. Of course, customers were the core element of these presentations, but what became abundantly clear was that more than ever, customers are being thought of as assets to service providers’ business. When it comes to CEM, it’s no longer just about managing the experience – true CEM is going beyond that and ensuring each interaction with the customer is positive and consistent, which in turn will build a stronger connection with the service provider.

          For instance, I listened to Joe Ewan from Innocent, a UK-based consumer food and drink company that specialises in natural smoothies and juices. This company has the number one smoothies in Europe and a giant fan-base because, as Joe put it, they invest the time and effort for a two way relationship with customers. One piece of advice he gave to telcos is that it’s easy to talk, and it’s harder to listen – but if you listen, you can learn. For example, every month Innocent generates a report that summarises feedback from the various customer channels like email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. This is a truly honest synopsis of both the positive and negative, and has been used to drive real change in the business. In addition to helping improve products and processes, this approach keeps customers satisfied because they like knowing that their experience matters.

          I saw this approach exemplified in a case study session with Equinix, a premium carrier data center provider offering global interconnection opportunities. For Equinix, a seamless global experience is essential with over 60% revenue coming from customers across multiple regions worldwide. To achieve this, it mapped the customer lifecycle and looked at each interaction, keeping in mind that every touch-point is important. What the company developed was a 360 customer view for quick and effective communications. For instance, they learned that some customers were unhappy because they were receiving too many messages from the carrier. The answer was simple – cut down on these communications.

          Now, Equinix provides a seamless experience to their customers and was able to drive positive change just by listening. It’s refreshing to learn of examples like these as we continue to put the customer first, and I’m eager to hear more as the show progresses. Have you heard any interesting customer-centric stories recently?