Service providers are constantly challenged to improve customer experience

|September 18, 2015 0

Sonal Desai

Jatinder Ahuja, Head, India and South West Asia Business, Amdocs, talks about the impact of transformation on the Indian telecom industry, its impact and the outcome, in an interview with CIOL.

The Indian telecom industry is in a transformation phase. What are your chief observations with respect to the current scenario?
Not just India, telecom industry globally is in a transformation phase. Some of the important observations that I have in India are:
• Service providers are facing fierce competition from traditional and over the top (OTT) players—OTT applications like WhatsApp is eating into service providers’ revenue

                                 

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• Customer expectations are changing fast –challenging service provider to deliver optimal customer experience. The customer experience now has multi-dimensions- from customer care to network quality to personalized services

• Technology and innovation are accelerating–this puts pressure on service providers to constantly upgrade their infrastructure

• Regulators are getting more involved in quality of experience—like the recent guidelines on call drops. Service providers are constantly challenged to improve customer experience.

• Movement in M&A and consolidation activities.

How do these translate into opportunities?
I would say these transformations provide both opportunities as well as pose some challenges.

The observations that I made are game changers—and they require service providers to adopt new strategies. Service providers have the opportunity to reorient themselves towards improving customer experience and creating differentiated offerings to offset and convert these challenges into growth arenas.

New market scenarios are encouraging service providers for delivering better customer experience, new and exciting innovative services and tap into new revenue streams.

What then are the challenges?
The key challenges are mostly related to changing customer experience and technology innovation. Consumers are not only looking for new and innovative services, but also want personalized and contextualized experience, and seamless connectivity regardless of device and location.

Service providers need to constantly upgrade their infrastructure and innovate to deliver superior customer experience in order to win customer loyalty while controlling their capital and operational expenses.

At the same time, OTT services like WhatsApp and Facebook, YouTube are changing the way we communicate, share information, and get entertained, which is eating into the revenues of mobile service providers. So the question would be: Does the telco want to be a bandwidth provider or a service provider? The only way for a telco who wants to be a service provider is by delivering superior customer experience and create customer stickiness.

Furthermore, service providers have invested heavily in spectrum licenses and 4G/LTE network infrastructure. They are under increasing pressure to control capital expenditure, cut IT and operational costs, optimize their application landscape, and introduce new products and services quickly and effectively.

How do you think this will impact the industry?
4G rollout and national level number portability will further intensify the competition. It will allow service providers to deliver higher data speeds, which in turn will drive the adoption of new and innovative services. Service providers now have the opportunity to differentiate their services, and tap into new revenue streams. They can offer exciting services such as HD video and TV content, tele- presence, media collaboration, connected car/home, online gaming, and much more.

On the other hand, 4G will also increase customer expectations. Experiences, such as network coverage quality, always on connectivity, jitter-free video viewing experience would be the new normal. Consumer expectations will also change on how they define customer experience.

Number portability will always keep service providers on their toes. Either they deliver superior customer experience or they lose customer loyalty. As I see it—the next big investments will happen in solutions that enable service providers to deliver superior customer experience such as big data analytics, software optimized networks, NFV/SDN, and digital self –service customer care portal solutions that enable a personalized and contextualized self-care Web/mobile app interface for a subscriber to quickly resolve their issues, without calling customer care.

What are the 4-5 tips for CXOs?
Telecom services have become the game of customer experience, and it is the primary basis for competition. Superior customer experience is the key source of sustainable competitive advantage.

• CXOs must invest in those technologies and domains that enable them to deliver superior customer experiences. Link your network investments to customer experience index.

• Focus on your core expertise of innovation, revenue growth, and identifying new business opportunities, and outsource operational challenges to a partner-managed services experts and let them offer innovative IT and business services.

• Invest in new domains such as Mobile Financial Services, which allow you to tap new revenue streams, and create more customer stickiness.

• Use outsourcing model as a strategy to break the innovation bottleneck rather than merely reducing operational costs and overheads. Create joint innovation labs and CoE centers with your partners.

• Create a time bound digital roadmap with clear deliverables. Teenagers today are customers of tomorrow. They have a certain outlook and they adapt to technology very fast.

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