Technology enablement plays a crucial role in tracking customer needs that are expressed through different channels; a platform based approach will help telcos improve customer satisfaction and thereby improve revenues. It’s time for telcos to relook at Service Assurance strategy. This paper tells you how.
Then & Now: Service Assurance in the Telco World
Service Assurance, in Telecommunications is most commonly defined as the application of policies and processes by a Communications Service Provider (CSP) to ensure that services offered over networks meet a pre-defined service quality level for an optimal subscriber experience. However, there is a seismic shift in the Telecom world of Service Assurance and is prompting the sector to evolve.
Previously, contact centers could manage telecom customer queries and customers were content and CSP’s could accurately predict service assurance.
Globally industries are facing volatility including the telecommunications sector in compliance, operational, strategic or financial segments. While volatility can denote positivity when it comes to applying principles of innovation due to technological advancements, the telecom sector must ensure it capitalizes on volatility.
The biggest challenges to the sector are Low Average Return per User (ARPU) and high churn. The voice business is almost at the end of its lifecycle and data services are becoming hard to differentiate, given the number of new players entering.Technological advancements, easier access to knowledge and transparency are allowing new entrants to compete seamlessly, while consumer expectations rise.
Today it is not enough to provide traditionally expected consumer needs such as billings, technical support, customer service, network fixers as companies are expected to provide differentiated customer services. A need, that cannot be taken lightly in the digital age where reputations can be mitigated.
What compels Telcos to adapt to Changing Times?
One-size-fits-all strategy is redundant, in volatility
Consumers care about experience: Purchasing a telco product is not restricted to the product but the experience that differentiates it from other products. When products are homogenous, it is ‘service experience’ that retains and enhances your consumer base.
Analytics to guide in consumer psychographics and solutions: Data analytics is allowing companies to make unprecedented. Analytics helps accurate assessment of churn propensity and cross sell/up sell index, thereby directing timely customized offers to relevant customers. The shift is from ‘Data’ to ‘Big Data’. Multi-level analytics on customer interactions, transaction, behaviors, preferences, demography, buying patterns helps in deriving the Next Best Actions (NBAs) for resolution, retention and sales offers.
Technological Advancements: Due to technological advancements there has been a rise of the omnipresent consumer. With Digital innovations organizations are continuously evolving their support models to accommodate an omnipresence space that the consumer is active, from customer service links new digital channels (mobile, social, kiosks) and traditional channels (contact center, branch/stores). A cohesive customer experience is one that is unified, universal and proactive, independent of location, time, medium and method. Even from a service and support perspective, enabling automated and ranked real time NBAs during trouble- shooting eliminates service delivery challenges mitigating agent discretion.
Blending Dichotomies: From interlinking of customer service and sales, CSPs need to work in tandem. In addition customers expect a one stop shop. A user interface made of customizable pods integrated with CRM, knowledge base and knowledge tools gives instant access to desired information. A 360° view of customers across all channels of communication along with personal information, open tickets, recent communication, lifecycle stage, and satisfaction scores is most desired. And this information is valuable to customize interactions.
Increasing Competition allowing Customers have a Wider Choice
Rising competition amongst CSPs and non-traditional players offering mobile services offer customers wider options, giving the customers the right to demand enhanced service, customized products prompting the industry to constantly evolve.
Sustainability of Business Model
It’s true that CSPs are bending backwards to retain customers with new products and services almost every day. However, to keep it sustainable, it is important for CSPs to improve customer experience, maintaining and increasing their revenues while innovating to find reduced cost to serve through technological advancements or enhanced strategy.
Sustainability requires a holistic approach that includes strong hiring practices, robust business practices backed by continuous investments in technology led innovation for improving customer service operations. A good way to start is to find the right Business Process Services partner who can lead the way with next generation platforms that have Analytics-driven engines for customer insights and give you flexible and customized solutions to manage your customer interaction lifecycle. Your true partner is the one who takes ownership and drive these efforts to completion, puts skin in the game, makes it exciting by throwing in a gain share model and makes the right investments in technology platforms.
Great customer service is built around customers however a sustainable model cannot be discounted. The last few years have seen CSPs investing in technology, contact channels and enterprise data management. A regulation-heavy environment coupled with customer expectations for personalized services require simplified customer service systems, enhanced business strategy, technological advancements and Analytics-backed decisions. While Automation is changing how telcos can look to service providers for better managing Service Assurance, the humane element in providing service is enhancing. Industry heavyweights have competition from new entrants and the need to evolve is essential for all.