Digitalisation has the power to transform how CSPs deliver their products and services – how does this affect their BSS/OSS strategies and what must they do to create a customer-centric digital experience?
To remain competitive in the digital era, with so many disruptive technologies and businesses making waves at a rapidly increasing pace, communications services providers (CSPs) must be continuously transforming and updating their services to survive.
But when embarking on any Digital Transformation project, short- or long-term, it’s essential to have a clear vision, ensuring that your structures, processes and staff are all working as one towards a well-defined organisational goal to incorporate and drive innovation.
Cerillion’s Digital Vision is that every customer journey should start and end in a mobile app
– this is the engagement platform through which all customer service is to be focused. It is not the only channel of customer service, but it should be the primary channel for a digital business.
But what exactly does digital
mean? It must be much more than just having a slick mobile app – in fact, we believe that there are four underlying principles that must be observed to drive customer engagement and transform services:
The principal goal for a digital business is that customers should be encouraged to self-serve wherever possible, be that through a mobile app or more traditional web portal, IVR, USSD or kiosk – a digital-first strategy.
Customers do prefer to self-serve, instead of queueing in a shop or waiting for a call centre agent, until they don’t, at which point they still value human interaction to resolve more complex issues. The digital experience must live up to the expectations set by other digital native businesses such as Amazon and Uber, but CSPs can exceed those expectations by also making it easy to speak to a customer services rep when needed or preferred.
For self-service channels to work effectively, a high level of automation is required to ensure that at least 80% of customer queries and interactions can be handled automatically with no human involvement.
This means playbooks and AI digital assistants that guide users as far as possible along the customer journey, answering frequently asked questions, helping them to execute common tasks such as top-ups, upgrades and renewals, and capturing any information needed by the workflow to fulfil a service request.
Data-driven insights are crucial for analysing customer behaviour and identifying service improvements. One of the big benefits of digital interaction is that it generates vast amounts of data across all touchpoints. So, for example, you can pinpoint how customers use your mobile app – which features are popular, which are ignored, how often is it used, what triggers them to use the app, and so on.
This information can be further combined with data from your web portal, digital assistant and feedback surveys (NPS) to build consolidated customer profiles, applying machine learning to proactively identify patterns of behaviour and notify users automatically when there is a deviation from the norm.
Adaptation is the final step, closing the feedback loop by using the analytic insights and machine learning to drive continuous change and improvement in all areas, with no-to-low human involvement. Triggers and notifications can be used to streamline playbooks, optimise profiling and segmentation, and update other systems using standards-based integration such as TM Forum Open APIs.
Some digital engagement is reactive – responding to customer queries, complaints or requests; some may be more promotional in nature, using in-app notifications to up-sell, cross-sell or request customer feedback; whilst others can be more about the customer experience, offering proactive notifications and engagement around service updates, faults and engineering work.
However, the key to successful digital engagement is that customer interactions must be natural and conversational – a dialogue
instead of a monologue, triggered by either customer or service provider – and on the customer’s chat platform of choice, whether that be in-app or on another messaging service such as SMS, Telegram or WhatsApp. In fact, we’ve seen recently how WhatsApp Business is changing its pricing model to be based on conversations
because this is how customers perceive the value in their digital engagement – once again a native digital business is leading the way and showing how CSPs need to think and engage with their customers.
We envisage that the digital customer journey
is composed of five stages:
Engage – To encourage customers to start or join a conversation, a two-way dialogue, on their preferred digital channel.
Query – To handle enquiries through playbooks and digital assistants.
Act – To automatically respond to the majority of queries, whilst retaining the option to hand off to a human if needed or requested.
Resolve – To solve customer requests immediately, or through automated workflow for more complex service changes, with update notifications at each step in the process.
Learn – To gain insights into the customer experience from NPS surveys and digital engagement metrics, feeding back into system learning and tuning.
It’s now more important than ever that CSPs invest in their digital strategies and keep up with ever-evolving standards and best practices. When it comes to customer engagement, digital first and last is better for customers, better for CSPs, and better by design.
Cerillion are Bronze Sponsors of the Total Telecom Congress 2021 in London, where our Business Development Director, Richard Doughty, will feature in a panel discussion: Delivering a digital experience for the customer of the future, at 12:20 on 26 October.
Book an appointment now to arrange a meeting there with one of our expert consultants.