By: Susan Campbell
Mobile service providers throughout the world are in an interesting competitive situation. The service provided is becoming a commodity by consumers. This means that true differentiation in this market going forward will be driven by customer experience transformations, such as those enabled by Alcatel-Lucent’s portfolio of Motive Customer Experience Solutions, as traditional approaches prove to be increasingly ineffective.
Market realities today are that consumers tend to avoid brand loyalty when considering services delivered and even price points when there is little differentiation. As a result, mobile service providers by competitive necessity must pay particular attention to establishing exceptional customer experiences if they hope to achieve business success. The focus must be on building trust with customers over time and increasing customer perceptions of the value of the customer experience, rather than leveraging services and products.
Alcatel-Lucent s recently shared its view on this in a piece entitled, “Customer Experience Transformation: The Mobile Customer Experience Imperative.” It highlights these market changes and what service providers need to be thinking about in order to be correctly positioned for success.
The situation is clear: potential new mobile subscriber rates are declining, consumer willingness to pay is changing, price points tend to vary little among dominate players and few advantages exist among different networks, devices or applications in terms of operator abilities to provide meaningful and sustainable differentiation.
With these challenges established, service providers cannot rely on traditional marketing strategies and tactics. The reasons are clear, new and more advanced handsets and advances in network capabilities no longer offer true points of differentiation, and complex offers are too difficult to understand and manage to be effective. At the same time, unique market positions have failed to emerge from the applications and services provided by third party developers.
But what does improving the customer experience entail? For starters it means having a comprehensive and deep understanding of:
- The different key customer segments
- Each customer touch point location and interaction opportunity
- Perceptions of these touch points and interactions
- The metrics behind customer transactional behavior
- The ability to discern the overall value of the customer experience in the context of buying decisions.
What this translates into is that service providers hoping to dominate the market will need to implement a strategy of continuous improvement that is built on actions that are designed to deliver the improved customer experience all the way through the customer experience transformation.
As mentioned above, such a strategy needs the types of tools in Alcatel-Lucent’s Motive Customer Experience Solutions which enable service providers to use an extensive set of subscriber management data products. The goal of such solutions is to retrieve, integrate, consolidate, unify and provide access to key customer data.
In an era of big data, where business insights are gained from breaking down silos of information across operations so that multiple client applications can use the resulting data for actionable insights, the benefits are be substantial by providing:
- Increased service personalization
- Simplified customer interactions
- Improved business relevance
- Reduced development and integration costs for solutions and services
All of these leads to happier and more loyal customers, along with the reduction in costs resulting from business process automation, and ultimately increased profitability.
It might be possible given all of the financial constraints of today’s challenging competitive environment to focus time and attention on incremental approaches to improving what has worked in the past. However, reality is that the marketplace is dictating that it is imperative for service providers to use emerging solutions to get a handle on what will be the major way of increasing sustainable differentiated value in the future, and that is an intense attention to the transforming the way they deliver services and interact with customers.
With customer experience transformation now on service providers’ critical path to success, having the right and best information for using business intelligence to rapidly adapt to changing market conditions and exploit new opportunities to their fullest is key. This is not just about asking the right questions, it is about getting actionable information that enables companies to be both fast and best in the market.