How can Telecom Companies Improve Customer Experience

The telecom industry is witnessing an explosion of competition and an era of hyper consumerization. The most immediate impact has been an increase in customer churn. As a consequence, telecom operators are investing more in retaining and maintaining a customer. The price point of delivering services to those customers, however, has remained the same, leading to stagnant revenues. It is a tricky situation since the demand from customers for multi-play services– such as broadband, cable TV, IP TV, mobile wallets, data and content–can actually boost revenues if customers can be retained. Fortunately, the answer to both challenges, retaining customers and increasing Average Revenue per User (ARPU), is the same: creating exceptional Customer Experience (CX).

While the industry has had a successful “customer first” management approach for the last decade or so, customer needs and sentiments are changing rapidly. To keep pace, operators must take large technological leaps. Fortunately, with the growth in touch points, the opportunities to improve CX have also grown. For operators determined to address CX at each moment of truth in the customer’s journey, the rewards are ample and quick.

Essentially, operators are focusing on three business areas that impact CX:

  • Fulfillment or the cycle time to take an order and ensure accurate delivery of services
  • Service Assurance or managing services and customer expectations to keep consumption high and cost of support low
  • Billing and Revenue or how to make billing accurate, on time and focused on customer convenience

Each of the business areas listed above is characterized by its own challenges and solutions. The discussion that follows for each of the areas is a starting point. Every operator must apply a layer of innovation to offer truly differentiated CX.


Assume an operator can activate a new SIM for a customer in six hours. What if that time can be reduced to an hour? Every hour of delay in provisioning and activating a service means an increase in cost to serve. Similarly, the execution accuracy of an order determines how swiftly revenue can start flowing into account books. But, more importantly, at the other end of both processes is a customer whose patience levels are being tested and who could, without warning, switch to competition. Streamlining real-time prioritization of customer needs should be high on the agenda of operators. This means combining and analyzing customer data, service requests, service parameters, network capacity, inventory, billing, support availability, exception management and finally mapping them to regulatory restrictions.

Service Assurance

Customer expectations are growing. They want voice, text, data, TV on mobile, hosted services, applications, payment mechanisms, flexible plans for download speeds and volumes, etc. In addition, the number of channels for customer interactions is growing. It is difficult for operators to acquire a unified view of the customer across channels and develop a reliable understanding of the customer. As a consequence, CX is being hurt and the cost of customer support is going up.

Operators have not made the investments in technology that help them understand customers through real time analytics. They are handicapped by the fact that they are unable to reduce the touch points or ensure that hand offs between touch points are accurate and faster.

Billing and Revenue

An operator’s margins depend on accurate and timely billing. When an invoice is not accurate, it hurts the operator’s business. But more damaging is the fact that over billing has an adverse impact on CX. Poor billing processes have other adverse effects. For example, a customer may be a subscriber of multiple services from the same operator. But back end customer acquisition, provisioning, support and billing processes are configured separately, resulting in the operators seeing the same customer as different ones. This means multiple invoices, payment reminders and transactions that are unnecessary.

The platform mix for great Customer Experience

The complex requirements of CX demand a mix of platforms that combine technology and process. These platforms understand the customer, predict events and needs, make decisions, ensure consistency in CX and – important from an operator point of view – bring down costs. These platforms can be broken down into four components:


Advanced Customer Experience Platforms

that uses data and analytics to accurately anticipate customer needs – even before the customer begins to articulate them and provide personalized attention. Such platforms would prepare operators to manage and solve problems even before they become evident. This involves creating a unified view of customers across channels, acquiring data on customers and their usage to pro-actively reach out to them, thus cutting down on actual calls from customers or providing them self-service options – both of which reduce support effort, time and cost and improve CX. In exceptional cases, where both fail, such platforms provide customer service agents with personalized prompts and step-by-step actions. They do this by stitching together customer data and leverages decision trees based on business rules. These help resolve customer issues faster and more accurately, manage churn and facilitate cross-sell / upsell opportunities


Order Provisioning Platform

that orchestrates end-to-end order management and service provisioning. Imagine a Command Hub that picks up orders in real time, completes all order requirements, coordinates with the provisioning and activation engine of the business and tracks orders until they are closed. The Command Hub, which is another term for an Order Provisioning Platform, covers the end-to-end customer journey and allows accurate first-time-right order orchestration and jeopardy management. The platform has real time dashboards that bring complete visibility into every internal and external process that impacts CX. Business rules embedded in the platform trigger reminders and alerts to keep CX on track. The nature of the platform provides it the ability to look at revenue opportunities during the fulfillment cycle. This is a capability that allows the operator to build capacities, inventories and skills to meet forecasted demand.



that replaces repetitive work with zero-defect management going well beyond Lean and Six Sigma with 24X7 availability, increased service standards and reduced costs. The Order Provisioning Platform is an interface to the robotic processes. By reducing human intervention, robotic processes speed up provisioning and improve CX. Delays in provisioning cycles can be devastating. They can compel a customer to leave the operator even after a service has been provisioned. When this happens, the operator also incurs a cost over cancelling the service.


Telecom Analytics

that brings together data from across the enterprise related to procurement, operations, post sales, financials, customers and partners to deliver business insights. If the Order Provisioning Platform and the Advanced Customer Experience Platforms are the heart of the operations, Analytics is the brain. There are very few models in place that identify the customers to approach for retention based on external and enterprise data. Telecom analytics introduces the element of intelligence — mapping operations, finance, network and customer data to take business decisions to retain the right customers, focus on strategies, actions, products and services that increase revenue, improve customer retention through CX enhancement, while keeping an eye on regulatory requirements.

Where to begin?

While these are powerful tools and technologies aimed at improving CX, the broader question is: does every operator need everything? The answer depends on the maturity of the operator and the markets being served.

What is essential is that the operator begins the process to keep CX as the primary driver of business. The ideal route to doing this is to work with a technology partner that can break down each of the tools and technologies into smaller components that fit into a larger picture when required. If the operator has a deeper and more urgent need to address CX in the areas of voice or data or value added services, the technology partner should be able to implement only those components that are most immediately required – with the provision that components used later will easily fit into the overall CX jig-saw.

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