By Erin Harrison
We won’t sugarcoat it: European telecom operators are not reaching their full market potential due to a lack of leadership and customer visibility. In fact, just 12 percent of C-suite executives are leading the customer experience agenda at major operators, according to a new survey conducted by European Communications—the results of which appear in a recent special edition, “Customer Experience.”
Of concern, no one is leading a customer experience effort in 8 percent of operators. In a majority of cases, (41 percent) individual managers are taking it upon themselves, while for 39 percent of respondents, a dedicated customer experience manager has been put in charge.
While the findings cast a negative shadow on the customer experience focus by European service providers (SPs), the study’s results should be motivation for the SPs’ IT decision makers who want to turnaround their customer experience efforts and become more profitable.
A lack of coherent leadership naturally feeds down to a fragmented implementation of strategy. Although a majority of operators (45 percent) said customer experience is treated as an integral part of everything their organization does across all business units, that means a majority does not.
“A well-established customer experience strategy should be treated as an integral part of the entire organization,” said Michael Opitz, director at management consultancy Arthur D. Little who conducted the survey.
Two interesting graphics from the survey are of note: In the first one, respondents were asked if they had a 360-degree view of their customers. Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, the answer was that most did not or did not know.
In the second one, those surveyed were asked to define what attributes they felt should be included in a holistic view. As can be noted from the list, much of the information that would be necessary for a holistic approach to creating a better customer experience currently resides in databases that typically do not interact with each other. This highlights an area of opportunity where the effective use of “Big Data” could yield significant benefits. These include better internal insights into operations as well as identification of customer contact areas that need to be improved so that experiences are optimized.
As we all know, a significant part of transforming the customer experience is making a good first impression. In line with the findings and the need to take a more holistic view, Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) offers Motive Customer Experience Management solutions that can help service providers make a good impression by getting it right the first time.
ALU’s solutions can help create successful network, device, application and service set-up and activation, and also helps fuel marketing campaigns. In addition, these services boost first call resolution and cut average handle time for technical support and service management inquires – such efficiencies help service providers stand out and succeed.
While operators are slightly more optimistic about the performance of their own company when compared to the telecoms industry as a whole, according to the EC survey, overwhelmingly operators said they regarded network congestion and other quality of service issues as the biggest source of poor customer experience.
Using Motive CXM solutions from Alcatel-Lucent, service providers can:
- Improve the order to activation ratio
- Reduce the number of calls that come through to the help desk
- Reduce average handle time and increase first call resolutions for tech support inquires
- Reduce the number of no-defect-found device returns
As consumers continue to gravitate toward more complex devices and services, which are connected to fixed line and mobile networks, the effort to deliver a consistent, quality customer experience is multiplying costs for communications service providers. Simplifying customer interactions helps service providers improve quality of experience (QoE) and build stronger, longer-lasting and more profitable customer relationships.
While the European Communications survey shed a bright light on the deficiencies of Europe’s SPs, the reality is that similar studies in the past few years by a number of respected firms have come to the same conclusion globally. In one of the interesting ironies of our times those who are foundational players in enabling others to use Big Data and analytics to gain competitive edge as woefully behind culturally and technologically themselves in do so. In fact, many of the studies have also concluded that telecom SP failure to leverage the insights they have into a transformation of the way in which their customers experience their products, people and processes is leaving a huge competitive opportunity for OTTs and other third parties to fill the breach.
This is a crucial operations area. It is a survey, indeed an entire issue of the publication, that commands attention.