Evolving the experience with AI-driven, customer-centric operations
This is the fourth in a series of blogs on CSPs’ future mode of operations. One more to come!
Today’s digital natives have exceptionally high expectations when it comes to the customer experience. Consumers and enterprises alike want to buy things on their own terms and on their own time, and receive personalized recommendations, on-demand access and instant gratification.
To meet those expectations, service providers need to start thinking about how their operational processes influence and affect the customer experience — and how they can adopt a more customer-centric, experience-driven approach to operations.
This is especially important considering the new B2B2X business models made possible by 5G. Third-party enterprises from various industry verticals are joining and expanding the telecoms value chain, leveraging the capabilities of the 5G network to deliver cloud gaming, industrial automation, video analytics, eHealth and other services to their own subscribers.
As we wrote in our previous blog, service assurance plays a major role in guaranteeing the quality of digital services. Combining experience analytics with assurance enables insightful, customer-centric assurance with top-notch visibility into enterprise and end-user experiences and intents.
Obtaining this deep, customer-centric perspective begins with embracing “use case thinking” and “design thinking” principles in the operations: creating, delivering and assuring services not according to the network’s capabilities (or limitations) but instead according to the specific, market-driven needs and goals of end users.
With that in mind, we’ve identified three main components for bringing “experience” into operations in the 5G era, using artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics across multiple parts of the service provider business — from care and marketing to engineering and planning.
1. Customer-centric insights
To inject customer-centricity into their businesses and operations, service providers first need a data-rich, real-time, big-picture view of what their customers are doing across different touchpoints, devices, locations, networks and so on.
Collecting and analyzing data is nothing new for service providers, but the nature of the task is changing. At first, the data gathered was all about domain and network management. It then began to take more of an end-to-view of the critical issues affecting end users, resulting in the customer experience management systems we see in today’s service operations center (SOC). But service providers are now overwhelmed with too much data, so it’s time to take one more evolutionary step.
What’s needed now is the ability to visualize and act on insights in very strategic ways. This will involve going from the SOC as we know it today to a next-generation SOC. We call our next-gen SOC the Nokia Experience Center — and it can automate business-critical processes and augment agent-driven insights with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to produce smarter, faster decisions that will enhance all aspects of the customer experience.
2. Actions supercharged by AI
AI and ML represent a major technology inflection point. Together, they make it easier for service providers to extract new insights from customer data — and to translate those insights into the right actions at the right times.
This capability has evolved rapidly over the past few years, from an initial focus on big data analytics (with organizations just looking for a cost-effective way to manage massive volumes of raw data) to AI-powered cognitive decision-making.
Closed-loop logic will allow service providers to prioritize and trigger automated, insight-driven actions in areas like network/service assurance, network optimization, customer care and customer engagement without any human decision-making required. For example, if the next-gen SOC detects that the customer experience on a 5G slice has even the potential to decline, it can trigger actions to expand capacity or adjust routing automatically — before the problem is experienced by end users. (Of course, the agents being given this real-time intelligence can manually intervene at any time, if necessary.)
3. One data pool, many users
The different teams within a service provider’s organization use the same pool of customer, network and service data in different ways to create and maintain the customer experience. The networking team wants to know what issues are happening (and where) so they can prevent them from re-occurring or happening in the first place. Customer service needs that same data so they can improve the overall experience, while business teams use that information to better target upsell and retention efforts.
To make the most out of the gold mine of data they’re collecting, service providers need to “democratize” that data across their entire organization so all of their people, processes and tools can tap into it in the ways they require for their specific roles, functions and purposes. As part of this democratization, the data needs to be refined so it is high-quality, easy to access, always secure, and available in the right shapes and forms so it can be effectively and efficiently operationalized into real-life, day-to-day use.
A significant transformation
The concept of customer-centric, experience-driven operations is generating a lot of excitement among our own customers. But getting there won’t necessarily be easy. In addition to some complex technical deployments, it will involve big changes at the people and process levels, too — radically altering the way service providers use their customer data and how their people go about their work.
Whether this change is driven by a company-wide effort to improve the overall customer experience or is very focused on operations transformation, the ultimate goal of experience-driven operations is to unlock value for both the network and business sides of the service provider’s organization. “Value” can mean different things, of course, but it could include everything from improvements in Net Promoter Score and growth in campaign success rates to higher customer retention numbers, greater customer care productivity, and faster times to detect and repair network and service anomalies.
While this kind of transformation will be difficult, the potential rewards are many. So for service providers looking to fully leverage the potential of 5G, this challenge is a good one to have!
- Download the Appledore paper – Tomorrow’s Agile Operations
- On-demand webinar - A Step-by-Step Approach to Reaching End-to-End Service Automation
- White paper – Future of Operations: Why and how service providers need to evolve to enable 5G operations
For more information around our next-generation SOC offering visit our Nokia Experience Center webpage.
Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #FutureOfOperations #Telcos #Operations #eSOC