Brijendra K Syngal
Sr Principal,
Dua Consulting

Improving Customer Experience

“Service Providers and Operators have potential access to vast amounts of diverse data, but more analytics needs to be carried out to fully exploit this data when making strategic business decisions.”

In any service industry, the customer is king. Should one not listen to the customer, one can write theirwn obituary. This is especially true of the telecom industry because of the very fragile nature of customer behavior.  The customer is very suave, looking for both a good experience and economical  service.

The telecommunications industry is going through a tough phase and faces an ex-growth future. One main reason could be the disruptive strategy to kill competition, in the short term, thus causing permanent damage in the long term. Before predators strike, there should be strategies in place to strike back. There comes in the focus on improving the overall customer experience as a key area. The stage of commoditization of telecoms services is passé, and a move toward more personalized experience is the need of the hour. This would give a fresh lease of life to a struggling industry segment.

If we look at some of the main drivers within the CxO community that are driving their customer insight and analytics initiatives, leveraging opportunities to increase ARPU; identifying and preventing  customer churn probably feature high on the list. Supporting these two key drivers would be improving customer relationships, personalization of customer propositions, and delivering Value Added Services to the customer. And of course, one can never ignore the opportunity to reduce costs and drive efficiencies whilst driving overall profitability; by ensuring analytics is also targeted toward the bottom line as well.

There are many factors that affect customer experience. They can be broadly categorized into the customer layer, service layer, and the network layer. There are strong interdependencies amongst the layers. Within the customer layer, issues such as overall customer service experience, pricing, and service bundling probably contribute to a good or bad customer experience. Within the service layer it could be issues such as data responsiveness and throughput, stalling of video services. At the network layer, some of the above issues could be because of inadequate network capacity, bad coverage, or the lack of network optimization, that is, not being able to keep up with the constant changes due to the demands being placed on the network by new additions.

As we move through generations of technology, the requirements of good customer experience also evolve. In a 3G/4G world there is a network-centric approach to customer experience. With the emergence of rich media content in the past few years, the focus is shifting to a user-centric experience but looking at the hype around IoT, we will need to consider a more device-centric experience as well.

Multilayered data be it crowd-sourced, extracted, or big data; multi-level analytics (network, service and business); and multi-dash board visualization will enable a reactive network, proactive service layer, and predictive customer layer that can cope with the evolving needs. Leveraging the power of data, analytics, and visualization, one can start to predict the churners, having a forward-looking view on the traffic flow on the networks or the needed capacity. This will lead to a much closer coupling between the network and service layers, an increased level of synergies leading to a much better overall quality of experience.

The volume of data carried by telecoms networks has increased a thousandfold in the past 20 years with more data being created all the time. Focus needs to shift on the ability to process data efficiently to support timely business decisions. In the telecoms market, operators can use real-time network analytics for diverse purposes such as to detect fraud sooner, assess user sentiment in near real time, and target advertising more precisely at specific customer segments.

In summary, service providers and Operators have potential access to vast amounts of diverse data, but more analytics needs to be carried out to fully exploit this data when making strategic business decisions. The good old adage of the customer strikes back: provide the customer what he wants, implore him to strategize the future will help achieve this.

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