This article originally appeared at Wireless Week
Today, people are buying more smartphones than PCs. More conversations take place through social media portals than through standard voice calls. More people are consuming video content on mobile devices than on traditional broadcast television.
This increase in data consumption is putting a strain on networks more than ever before, and network operators are now looking at customer experience management (CEM) as more than just a means of meeting customer expectations and hitting Quality of Service (QoS) standards. CEM is becoming a way to claim back some of the revenue opportunities being neatly pulled from under their feet by Over-the-Top (OTT) services. By leveraging CEM, network operators can further understand customers, evaluate business processes and launch innovative services to increase customer loyalty and revenue sources.
Network operators must consider the three “L’s” of CEM to get back the same sort of agility that the providers of OTT services demonstrate and go to market with innovative services targeted at specific user segments. The three “L’s” of CEM will allow them to innovate and evolve their businesses, services, and offerings, helping network operators grasp and secure lost and new revenue streams.
Operators are the first to put their hands up and admit to having under-utilized their own network usage data in recent years. Rapid broadband growth and huge demand for online services which it made possible took many by surprise. Too much network and service management data is under-utilized, sometimes used for no more than keeping QoS up to the mark.
The key factor here is visibility. The complexity of the network landscape – factors impacting OSS, BSS and the network itself – hasn’t changed too much in the past several years. But everything that’s feeding information into it has transformed drastically. By closely analyzing user data, network operators can gain valuable insights into subscriber behaviors and translate them into actionable intelligence to evolve their own CEM processes.
Approaches such as an integrated dashboard makes it easy to gather hard facts and data that might wake up many network operators to the fact that they’ve been taking the easy route. They’ve gotten comfortable with the notions that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This type of mind set ultimately leads to missed opportunities through the lack of business evolution. Most legacy networks aren’t made to handle the massive amounts of data being consumed today. As such, network operators are now realizing that consumer demand is forcing them to “fix what ain’t broke.” Network operators are beginning to recognize that they don’t have a choice but to adapt their networks appropriately to handle immense data traffic or else they risk missing potential revenue opportunities.
If you look at it holistically, you have all the different things that consumers are looking to do in their day-to-day lives that impact the network. This is what’s driving network investments to keep up with the demand. When the back-office solutions are in place, networks can handle more consumption and innovation, leading to even more data consumption by consumers – simply because they can. And the cycle begins again. CEM initiatives cannot remain siloed anymore; they have to reach the consumer and device level in order to learn and adapt to shifting consumer behaviors and demands.
CEM has come of age as more devices and new services are launched to market. No longer is CEM about meeting customer expectations or QoS standards; it’s becoming a key area to delivering greater value and increasing ARPU by creating service offerings targeted at specific customer segments to finally deliver what the subscriber wants and not “here’s what the network can deliver.” The beauty is that this approach enhances not only customer loyalty, but also revenue streams.
Network data is saturated with insights and actionable intelligence, which is why network operators are turning more and more to analytics to make sense of the wealth of information they can use for understanding how to adapt and evolve their services and offerings. However, mere analytics does not an experience make, especially if the device experience is not being captured. There has to be a meaningful intersection and correlation of network data, service usage, device handling and subscriber behavior.
Gone are the days when personalization was the bells and whistles; it is now the Kelley Blue Book standard of customer experience. More than ever, subscribers are interacting with service providers and providing information about their preferences and usage habits by being empowered to take care of themselves through automated and online services. This is a huge opportunity for network operators to leverage this information and provide a richer customer experience. It’s a compelling market driver, shaping new dynamics and putting a spotlight on innovation through CEM. Networks have to understand their own capabilities to leverage the opportunities.