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Supporting changing customer needs at the speed of a pandemic

Family working from home

As countries around the world reacted to the threat of COVID-19 by implementing social distancing and lockdown rules, communication service provider (CSP) teams were forced into action:

  • How can we make it easier for our customers to adapt to this situation?
  • What additional services and service features can we offer while avoiding network and system overload?
  • And how quickly can we implement all this and reach out to our customers?

In this post we will share some insights into how Nokia’s customers are dealing with this unprecedented situation.

CSPs were faced with radically shifting service usage patterns. The need to work remotely and to attend virtual classes created a surge in video-conferencing use. The desire to connect with friends and family resulted in an upswing of voice calls. And the appetite for entertainment produced a significant uptake of content streaming and cloud gaming. This dramatic usage change meant that existing service plans were often ill suited for the new needs of consumer and business customers alike.

Service providers reacted quickly to help their customers to adapt to this unprecedented situation with a wide range of promotions and offers.

Commercially, many CSPs are now offering more flexible payment options and waiving late fees.

Most service providers, especially in North America and EMEA, implemented promotions to temporarily boost certain service options. Some of the most popular examples for consumer customers include:

  • Offering free phone calls in support of the resurgence of voice traffic, either for certain customers segments (for example, healthcare and medical staff) or free international calls to selected countries.
  • Giving larger usage allowances for volume limited residential and mobile data plans, or hotspot use of phones (tethering).
  • Increasing throughput for speed-limited tariffs.
  • Zero-rating access to health care web sites, social media apps or streaming services are popular options, and even free access to news and premium content services such as Netflix or Disney.

For business services, popular promotions include temporary increase in data consumption, as well as free access to office and video-conferencing applications.

While many CSPs created such offers, there were big differences in how quickly and how easily they could define, launch and promote those offers. Service providers saddled with complex legacy Business Support systems (BSS) often launched less sophisticated promotions and took longer to bring these offers to market. Those that had invested in flexible and agile business systems were at a definite advantage.

  • For example, a Nokia customer in the US was able to implement changes to the charging system affecting over 20 million customers in under four hours.
  • And a customer in the Middle East was able to plan and launch their “Stay at home” promotion in just over 3 hours, making them the first service provider to reach out to their subscribers in their market.

While restrictions will be eased over time, it is expected that the current situation will have a lasting impact.

This strongly underlines the need to rely on nimble business systems that offer the agility and flexibility required to respond quickly to changing market needs and to provide omni-channel customer support across the entire customer journey. At the same time business systems need to be ready to enable innovation with dynamic charging models utilizing ML/AI, to leverage ecosystems for outside-in innovation, all while supporting 5G e2e slicing and edge computing.

To learn more about how Nokia’s Monetization solution can accelerate your journey to become a digital service provider please visit https://www.nokia.com/networks/portfolio/monetization/ 

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #innovation #Monetization #COVID19

Steffen Paulus

About Steffen Paulus

Steffen Paulus is the head of monetization product marketing at Nokia Software. Over the last 25+ years, Steffen has worked in various technical, sales and marketing roles related to telecoms software. He is currently based in Toronto, Canada.

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