Optimizing Mobile Broadband Profits through Enhanced Customer Care

Next Generation Communications Blog

Optimizing Mobile Broadband Profits through Enhanced Customer Care

By Mae Kowalke

For today’s service providers, the most important—and often untapped—source of revenue is mobile broadband. The challenge is that, as the market continues to mature, this very source of revenue is becoming commoditized and providers are finding it more and more difficult to differentiate services and keep those offerings profitable.

The simple truth is that competing on price and network capacity alone no longer cuts it. What’s needed is a return to the basics of maximizing overall customer experience.

“With strategies that leverage their unique customer intelligence and deliver it where and when it’s needed most, service providers can turn their customer support operations into profitable assets that transform the customer experience,” said Alcatel-Lucent in a new white paper about mobile broadband.

Understanding what will really create loyal customers means taking a long, hard look at the typical client experience, and then finding a way to remove all negative aspects of that experience and build on the good aspects.

“Many customers encounter complex problems from the moment they begin using their mobile devices,” Alcatel-Lucent points out in its white paper. “Customers need guidance on practically every aspect of use, from connectivity and device configuration to billing, data usage and e-mail setup. But when they contact service provider help desks, they often reach agents who can’t help them solve their problems.”

The resulting frustration is not good for anyone involved.

In its white paper, Alcatel-Lucent cites TeleManagement Forum’s definition for customer experience:  “the result of the sum of observations, perceptions, thoughts and feelings arising from interactions and relationships between customers and their service providers.”

Customer experience is formed from every touch point, direct and indirect, adding up to an overall perception of the provider, which impacts the customer’s loyalty. Research firm Convergys estimates that four in ten customers consider switching to a different provider after a bad experience.

On the service provider side, managing mobile broadband is typically a very complex affair, involving diverse infrastructures, equipment, systems, operational silos and departments. Any weak link in the chain can bring the whole thing to halt. It’s such a large, complex web that even though providers own the systems, the right hand often doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

“Breakdowns in the flow of information create problems for everyone,” notes Alcatel-Lucent in its white paper. “Customers and Tier 1 technical support agents feel the effects first. These effects can trigger wider-ranging problems, such as growing customer frustration, eroding customer confidence, increasing churn rates and higher acquisition and support costs. The end consequence is lower overall profitability.”

What’s needed is better technical support, systems for making mobile broadband easier to use, more efficient operation of networks and services, and an overall focus on eliminating barriers to success. All of this requires carefully-though-out information management.

The good news is that providers aren’t starting from scratch; they can use their customer, device and network information to create success.

“Service providers have the basic tools they need to enhance their mobile broadband service offerings,” Alcatel-Lucent said in its whitepaper. “To succeed with mobile broadband customers, however, they need solutions that will enable them to use these tools to simplify and improve the customer experience.”

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