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Nov 05 2019

3 keys to getting your customer experience technology strategy right

In our previous blogs we discussed how difficult a space the telecom marketplace is to compete in, especially the challenges that operators face in trying to gain and retain customers in a saturated market.   We spoke of the need for operators to invest in using connected intelligence across the entire customer journey of interaction and to leverage automation and predictive analytics to make actionable use of this intelligence when looking forward to the 5G era.

To do this, operators have some technological choices to make as well as some decisions to evolve their ways of working. From both these perspectives, we see considerable in-place capabilities that can be leveraged and some important new tricks that need to be learned.

Leverage what works

Much of the initial 5G investment is Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), which enables operators to offer improved services to fixed residential and small business customers and begin to move away from their existing last mile delivery alternatives. In these cases, the services delivered will ride this new wireless “last mile” technology but the customer relationship will very much reflect traditional fixed-line broadband consumer and small businesses. Operators that already offer these types of fixed-line delivered services should leverage the CX infrastructure they already use to support their new FWA delivered services. In order to normalize and federate data from some new sources, it will require interoperation between some traditionally disparate technologies such as fixed-line device management provided by Broadband Forum TR-069 and mobile device management provided by OMA. Once this data is normalized, it contributes to expanding the Connected Intelligence about the customers. Current systems that already make great use of the Connected Intelligence of broadband customers will be able to utilize these new types of data going forward to support the ongoing care and satisfaction of customers.

Tap into automation programs, create chain reactions

I have observed great progress throughout the telecom industry in the project-specific utilization of automation. In various departments throughout operator organizations, many projects now include automation; some are traditional process automations that improve pace and accuracy of human processes while others leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to take automation up to new levels. As some of these point-specific projects complete, a new process baseline is established. The next step will be to leverage these point-specific automations to create chain reactions: higher level automations that only become available once we complete the initial projects.

Let’s look at an example around the topic of Net Promoter Scores (NPS). Nokia has assisted operators with ways to “auto-tune” their NPS to utilize this important metric in a more active, day-to-day way. NPS is normally a bit of a non-real-time score relying upon surveys, etc. Step one is when an operator develops a dependable way to use real-time data to auto-tune their NPS. This is an automated process that immediately delivers benefits to a real-time “finger on the pulse” of customer perception. Once in place, this auto-tuned NPS can now be leveraged to automate more functions. It becomes an ingredient in how numerous back-of and front-of-office prioritizations get handled. Feed the auto-tuned NPS into various departmental systems as the driving priority and next thing you know, more of the business is marching to the same sense of priority: customer perception! 

Take an infrastructural approach

A common IT infrastructure and DevOps methodology enables and facilitates these automation chain reactions.  Analytics are only as good as the relevant business effect they have. An IT infrastructure that mediates data sources from the multitude of disparate sources throughout a network operator ecosystem and makes the data available for comprehensive analytics treatments has become table stakes. From this point, network, industry-specific AI algorithms can be honed and applied to quickly deliver actionable intelligence. This is where much of the Nokia Bell Labs research and development is applied; leveraging sophisticated AI algorithms across broad ranges of data types in order to drive new insights to improve customer experience, drive operational prioritization and influence marketing and sales actions.

We find most operators are well underway with DevOps programs within their IT shops and more and more are extending these programs to incorporate their supplying software vendors. This means a continuum of enhancement activities with more frequent software release drops and full participation in the test and turn-up steps. Downtime is minimized – if not eliminated – by adopting a system lifecycle management methodology that incorporates 3rd party suppliers into the managed process.

Starting your 5G transition

A common theme throughout our CX blog series is that the 5G era offers considerable opportunity for CSPs and that they need to make a fair amount of transformation to be successful. We often debate various approaches and strategies, but one theme remains, and that is to keep customers first. Most operators have substantial investment already in place to support their existing customers and leveraging those existing capabilities and building upon them will offer the most consistency in how their customers remain front and center.

If you’re just starting your 5G evolution conversations with leaders now, I recommend reading my colleague, Meenakshi Lakhwani’s latest blog, Persuade your C-suite to Transform the Customer Experience in the 5G Era. In this post she lays out four CX business cases for gaining your C-Suite’s confidence to start the transition to 5G now.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #5G

About Bill Stanley

Bill drives Nokia’s operations portfolio marketing with a keen focus on how the industry needs to evolve and change as we move into the 5G era. This includes working within the standards organizations as they evolve to new 5G specifications and interpreting the implications to network service providers and how they must evolve their operations to position themselves to best succeed going forward. Having completed events in many locations in the US, he also enjoys training for and running races and triathlons overseas when his schedule allows. 

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