It’s a wonderful time to be a shopper, isn’t it? The world of retail is literally at our fingertips. Despite the downside effect on our credit card statements, online retailers such as Amazon, have completely transformed what it means to be a customer. As a result, our expectations have never been higher. This is great news for consumers, but it’s a challenge to traditional businesses such as communication service providers (CSPs) for mobile, broadband and cable services.
New Analysys Mason report confirms: Agility and flexibility will drive CSP’s adoption of SaaS-based customer care systems.
Like many challenges, it’s also an opportunity for CSPs. At a time when it’s difficult to differentiate their offers solely based on technology, perhaps it’s even good news. By improving customer satisfaction, CSPs have room to do something more than slashing prices to win and keep their customers.
To get a leg up on the competition, CSPs need to do several things. They need to get more nimble in launching new services, offering greater variety and tailoring their offers to market niches. Customer interactions need to be more personalized and troubleshooting more precise. Ideally, device issues, whether mobile or premises-based, should be solved before the consumer is even aware of them.
One of the significant hurdles to achieving this is the speed and cost associated with modifying or installing modern customer support systems. It isn’t trivial installing a complete new CRM. Many IT managers still have scars from the last couple of tries.
The good news is that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems, such as CRM, are now maturing. The subscription model associated with SaaS-based systems offers CSPs an opportunity to run their business in a lean and agile manner. It frees them from the lock-in model of licensed software, services and maintenance commitments, and enables them to align incurred costs with direct operational requirements.
Customer care departments in other industry verticals, such as retail and travel, have truly embraced SaaS-based solutions. Analysys Mason estimates that SaaS-based systems will become the preferred delivery model for all CSPs by 2021. Furthermore, CSP spending on these systems will rise at a CAGR of 26% over the next five years, and will account for 9.2% of CSPs’ spending on customer care-related software and services in 2021, up from 3.1% in 2016.
CRM systems will probably lead the adoption curve for SaaS in the CSP space — it’s already a very mature offer. But others will soon follow. Social media platforms are already there, of course. In order to quickly launch new services and bundle them into their packages, CSPs will need to turn to other SaaS-driven systems.
Device management is a good example of the kind of SaaS solutions they will need. These systems will be key for managing the growing number of mobile and customer-premises devices. And they will be especially critical to managing Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the numbers of which are set to explode. From delivering software updates and diagnosing issues, to remote control and security monitoring, CSP spending on these systems is likely to ramp up quickly.
These are challenging times for CSPs. But at the heart of the current disruption, new opportunities are presenting themselves. Being nimble and agile will be important. SaaS solutions, such as CRM and device management, will help them get there faster.
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