SmarTek21 Makes Chatbot Resources Freely Available For COVID-Affected Organizations

Telecom & Media

Transformation Agenda: Five Key Strategic Initiatives for Every Service Provider.

To meet the needs of the changing marketplace, service providers are creating initiatives for the development of new customer experiences, products and businesses. The goal is to leverage all of their assets to create products and ser- vices that can provide customers with integrated solutions that address their wireless, wireline and broadband needs.

Establish Data-Driven Customer Analytics Capabilities

Telecom providers have to look for new ways to generate revenue, and so have begun launching initiatives to monetize their data assets as a service offering.

As most companies are learning, the ability to gain a 360-degree view of the customer (within the bounds of consumer privacy laws and regulations) allows marketing, sales and other customer-facing functions to make more precise, data- driven decisions that cut down on guesswork and wasted resources.

Studies have shown that high-margin telecommunications companies tended to outperform peers when it came to data mining and otherwise gaining insights from collected customer information. As revenue for voice calls and texting declines, and as competition for broadband and mobile internet service increases, telecom providers have to look for new ways to generate revenue, and so have begun launching initiatives to monetize their data assets as a service offering.

Telecom providers generate and manage a wealth of customer profile, demographic, usage, network and location data. Apart from using these data for marketing, customer segmentation, and other internally oriented purposes, these data are also of value to external organizations. Figure 9 illustrates the rich set of structured and unstructured data that telcos have access to and are looking to monetize.

Digitize the Order Management Process

Because of their interactions with online companies such as Amazon, customers have come to expect speed, simplicity, convenience and accessibility in the purchasing and payment process. Companies in all industries are therefore seeking to replicate such a self-service account opening or order management experience, which involves centralization of data and automation capabilities.

Customer/Machine Data

  • Location Data
  • SMS Data
  • Weblog Data
  • Call Center Logs
  • Video and Images
  • Network Logs
  • Network Fault and Alarm Logs
  • Network Performance Counters
  • M2M Data
  • DTV and Set-Top Box Data
  • Telemetry and Sensor Data
  • IoT
  • Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)
  • Social Data
  • Machine-Generated Data

Data

  • Call Data Records (CDRs)
  • Session Data Records (SDRs)
  • Customer Data Records (xDRs)

Application-Level Data

  • Sales Data
  • Trouble Ticket Data
  • CRM Data
  • Payment Data
  • Churn Data
  • Order and Fulfillment Data
  • Billing Data

The top-performing telecom companies, for instance, are using automated order management systems to link everything from the initial capture and validation of service requests to fraud checks, payment authorizations, bill- ing and customer communications, quickly and cost-effectively.

Many telecom companies, for example, have introduced full-service smartphone apps that can guide customers to the best product, pricing or bundle given their needs and behaviors, and can automatically order and activate the new bundles. Adoption of these guided selling apps has led to a significant decrease in customer churn and in the cost of serving customers through call centers.

Innovate Around the Customer Experience

The top-performing telecom companies are also adding new capabilities, like predictive fraud analytics, which detects the likelihood of fraudulent behavior. Predictive analytics analyzes consumption patterns and internal and external data to determine the risk factors and levels associated with each service user, so that audit managers can be alerted to risky behavior.

Customer expectations are rising. Customers want ease of use and simplicity. Being able to get it right the first time without placing multiple calls or accessing multiple fragmented web portals is key to boosting revenue and profitability. Digital technologies have made it easier than ever for customers to engage with companies, yet harder for companies to track, manage and analyze those interactions. Consider that in 2010, less than a quarter of all shoppers used the internet to gather information for purchases; today, that figure exceeds 80%.

The growth in multichannel access puts a premium on effective customer relationship management (CRM) systems. CRM systems are used not just to track customers’ digital footprints, but also to reduce order fallout and revenue leakage, enhance customer satisfaction and improve brand advocacy in social media. Improvements like paperless billing and statements have helped the top-performing telecom operators achieve greater cost efficiency and customer satisfaction.

The use of chat, social forums and lists of frequently asked questions, for instance, costs the average telecom com- pany just 10% of its typical call-center baseline while providing customers with a convenient source for answers and advice. Guided service via community forums, sophisticated search capabilities and now natural language voice que- ries make it possible to address the majority of customer questions.

Learn how SmarTek21 Reinvigorated Sales Performance Management for a Nationwide Wireless Carrier

Streamline the Application Landscape

Aging and complex legacy IT applications are among the biggest obstacles for companies seeking to compete against nimbler digital players. The core systems (CRM, billing, provisioning, fulfillment, inventory and so forth) have typically been built up over many years and comprise a landscape of sometimes incompatible stacks of technologies. Decisions about what to retain and what to upgrade become more complicated as IT organizations map all the inter- dependencies between functions and systems.

Growth in 4G device adoption is driving increased data and video usage. In turn, new messaging and video platforms are being engineered and integrated with existing applications to create seamless service orches- tration. Innovation has always been critical to remaining competitive in the telecom market, but today it needs to be delivered at speed, at scale, and it must quickly yield results.

The top-performing telecom companies are also adding new capabilities, like predictive fraud analytics, which detects the likelihood of fraudulent behavior. Predictive analytics analyzes consumption patterns and internal and external data to determine the risk factors and levels associated with each service user, so that audit managers can be alerted to risky behavior.

Telcos everywhere are racing to streamline their application portfolios, removing redundant platforms, automating core processes, and consolidating overlapping capabilities. Through this difficult undertaking, service providers have made improvements that free up full-time employees. In addition, service providers are now able to gain a unified view of customer billing, resolve customer issues faster and reduce the rate of service errors.

Standardize and Automate the IT Infrastructure

Inefficient IT design, build, run and change processes and infrastructure supporting ordering, provisioning, activation, billing, customer care and channel applications are impediments. They obstruct companies seeking to digitize operations to successfully compete against the new breed of cloud and mobile companies.

 

As companies collect more customer information and content, and as they leverage real-time analytics across applications, they require more storage and computational power. But rather than add more capabilities and components to an already complex system, companies would do well to pursue consolidation and automation of what they already have. They can even use a variety of “infrastructure-as-a-service” strategies to shift the economics from capex to opex.

Indeed, the top-performing companies have pursued simplification and automation of various backbone IT processes and systems: for example, DevOps, server provisioning, load balancing and service-ticket management. These changes have not only generated significant cost efficiencies for those companies, but also given the operators much greater flexibility in terms of service capacity and load volumes.

In emerging markets, some fast-growing telecom operators are adding as many as one million to two million sub- scribers per month. Their ability to automate capacity, server throughput and storage has allowed operators to focus on business growth rather than forcing them to scramble to augment their IT infrastructure.

Summary and Next Steps

The telecom provider industry is experiencing rapid change as digital technologies transform the landscape. Innovations in messaging, mobile video and OTT services offer consumers an array of new choices for their communications needs and allow for new entrants into markets served by entrenched players.

Relentless product innovation is key. In order to grow and remain competitive, service providers will need to adapt to continuous changes in technology, enhance existing offerings and introduce new offerings to address customers’ changing demands.

Consumers, especially millennials, want innovation, faster access and richer services. Service providers are expected to meet these customer needs at every touchpoint. At the same time, they must meet future challenges from com- peting technologies, on a timely basis and at an acceptable cost. If they fail, they will be disintermediated and will lose customers to competitors.