Telcos rely on stale data where customer experience management is concerned

via Flickr © KamiPhuc (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © KamiPhuc (CC BY 2.0)

  • New Openet report says crisp fresh data beats desiccated old info hands down
  • Focus on digital transformation has allowed other players in
  • Constant refreshing of real-time, in-context new data is the answer
  • Real-time systems can save telcos money as well as making users happier

You wouldn't want to eat a sandwich made with stale bread and mouldy cheese, but telcos routinely continue to rely on stale data to inform their customer experience management systems. Fresh data is better than old data; it provides greater value, applicability and relevance.

So says a new publication from Openet, the Dublin, Ireland-headquartered 5G and cloud technologies company acquired in July this year by Amdocs in a €180 million deal. The new report is entitled "Real Time data: Taking Customer Experience Data to New Levels" and is a welcome and timely contribution to the ongoing debate about the dreadful levels of customer service that pertain and are maintained throughout the world's network operators.

Last week TelecomTV reported on Netomi's September 2020 Customer Service Benchmark Report of the Top 1000 global telecoms service providers showing that telcos and CSPs continue to deliver some of the worst 'customer service experiences' of any industry on the planet. The Openet report analyses how real-time data improves customer experience, care and personalised marketing.

The Openet thesis is that as both telcos and vendors have struggled for more than six or seven years now to digitally transform themselves, cloud providers have stepped in and changed the dynamic where customer experience management is concerned. They have done so by demonstrating to users that via genuine "Customer First" initiatives (as opposed to the lip-service paid to the concept by 'traditional' telcos) subscribers can get quantifiably more from both their fixed line and mobile experiences, and are all the happier as a result. It's hardly surprisingly then that digitally native upstart service providers with new business models continue to eat into the the revenue margins of the established players.

ARPU (average revenue per user) that old measure of the worth of a customer to a service provider has gone the way of the rod, pole or perch (an arcane British standard of five and a half yards or seventeen and a half feet that some of us had to learn to measure in at school back in the days of the first Queen Elizabeth and was immeasurable useful to us in our later lives).

Today it's CLV or "Customer Lifetime Value" and that says it all really. CSPs and DSPs want to hook users and keep them on the line, literally and metaphorically, until they drop off the perch, (or rod or pole). If subscribers churn away to another provider CLV calculations are thrown into disarray, market expectations are not met and heads roll - sometimes. Not usually big ones though.

Key to subscriber retention is real-time customer experience management and that management can only be optimal when the data available to inform and direct it is continually refreshed. That means the complete digitisation of customer care and making the customer experience the over-riding priority in the transformed network.

Real-time, in-context customer data is the key

The Openet report emphasises that real-time information is just "more immediately ‘actionable’ when it comes to proactively managing customer experience. The data points on which the information is drawn are current and o any business insight gained is more valuable as it pertains to existing events as they happen."

However, traditional established telcos have a treasure trove that the newcomers can't get their hands on; long-established and deep insights into subscriber history maintained in extensive proprietary data sets which could be and should be leveraged if only the telcos can get their acts together and look after their customers properly.

Historical data as applied to new real-time data can enrich the mix and allow for proactive interactions to minimise or even negate problems before they impact on the user. Managed in this way so-called "care interactions" can be transformed into new commercial opportunities to present to a happy and thus amenable and receptive subscriber.

The Openet report concludes that as the immediacy and availability of connectivity becomes increasingly widespread subscribers are increasingly reliant on real-time responses to their problems and interactions. A service provider with the ability truly to "know" a subscriber in a real-time, dynamic environment and the capability to parlay that knowledge instantly would propel it into a different league to others still reliant on static customer profile data.

Simultaneously, once a real-time data system is in place and working to make subscriber interaction and customer engagement much more effective, the cost of providing it should fall. For years now, telcos have been determined to drive down the costs of traditional customer care channels.

They are expensive, but as an avalanche of empirical evidence shows, cuts and reorganisations have all too frequently been so deep and far-reaching that customer relationship management has deteriorated to the point that subscribers truly hate having to contact customer care agents because they know that the chances of having a problem quickly resolved in one interaction is just about zero. And things have got even worse since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The Openet report concludes that "What’s good for the customer is good for business. The customer is always real-time, so customer service must match the pace to deliver a truly differentiated customer experience." One day, Rodney. One day.

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