Next Generation Communications Blog

A New Conversation Experience

The Mobile Customer Experience: It's all about the Journey

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

No matter where one looks these days, be it in enterprises or service providers, there can be no disputing that enhancing the customer experience has become a top, if not along with security the top,  C-level concern. 

Indeed, from burnishing the brand to enhancing customer loyalty, having permission to upsell and getting early visibility on new opportunities the customer experience (CX is now the short appellation) has become a cross line-of-business preoccupation and priority.  This has meant business units’ increased attention on listening to, analyzing and reacting upon needs arising from the “voice of the customer” (or certainly knowing more about their service usage behavior), and IT department focus on providing the tools necessary to support these requirements. 

It has also meant that businesses of all sizes and vertical markets are changing their views on what it takes to have a better understanding of the customers. This means using new metrics for success. It also has highlighted the realization that you need to look at life cycle management of customers, i.e., as the headline says it is no longer about the destination in the form of a sale but is about assuring optimization of what has been popularized as “The Customer Journey.”  

Ultimately, what it has also meant is that organizations need not only the tools, skills and strategies to optimize the customer journey but also need to be able do so quickly. The reasons are obvious but worth repeating.  Competitors are becoming more nimble and customers armed with better real-time information themselves have become more fickle. Time is of the essence.   

Illustrative of an area where there is, or certainly should be, a sense of urgency regarding having all of the capabilities to optimize the customer journey is in the global mobile services business. This is a sector rife with competition and susceptible to high churn rates.  The good news is that the information that resides in the network and various lines-of-business (LOBs), when properly mined, analyzed and acted upon can give service providers more satisfied customers and a competitive edge.

The question is, where are the places to go to get the information and tools needed?  The answer can be seen in a recent Alcatel-Lucent webinar, “LTE, It’s Not About the Destination, but the Journey,” which is embedded in its entirety below.


Analytics, Visibility are Key for Service Providers in Addressing the Connected Home

By Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

Churn can be a costly problem for service providers, particularly when it gets up into the high double-digit percentages. And that’s exactly what can happen when customers are less than satisfied with their communications services. In fact, it has been estimated that churn is 89 percent for subscribers who have a poor customer experience.

But there is an answer.

Subscribers Want Service Providers to Protect Their Devices

By: Patrick Tan, Alcatel-Lucent General Manager of Network Intelligence

A recent U.S. survey by Alcatel-Lucent Motive found that 71% of smartphones had no security protection to defend against malware. That’s a sobering stat considering the 20% rate at which mobile malware is increasing annually. The malicious activity can degrade smartphone performance, secretly pirates your data minutes, and steal personal information from you, spy on your whereabouts and track your browsing calls, texts, emails and web browsing.

Now here’s where the survey gets even more interesting: It reveals 65% of mobile subscribers think it’s the service provider’s responsibility to protect their smartphones. And the majority is willing to pay their service provider for this mobile service – up to $4.40 per month!

For operators continually on the hunt for new revenue generating services and “sticky” offers that attract and retain subscribers, device security services is a lucrative and differentiating opportunity right under their nose.

Helping Customers Help Themselves: The Era of Self-Service

By: Jessica Verbruggen, Integrated Marketing Assistant at Alcatel-Lucent Motive

While the Internet and all of the technologies that have stemmed from its creation have served to make our lives easier in many ways, they can also be very confusing and frustrating at times. In these times, people have traditionally turned to call centers to get customer support. In today’s increasingly digitized world though, fewer people are relying on this form of assisted service. Contacting a call center tends to be time consuming and, often times, frustrating. Traditional customer support is not very well-suited to handling the millions of very specific questions that arise during device usage every day. Enter mobile self-service.

There are few areas of our economy today that haven't been touched by the growing self-service industry. Many, it seems, prefer to resolve their issues themselves. People relish the ability to “do it themselves” because it affords them a certain level of control over their devices and services that was previously not attainable.

Addressing the threat from OTT voice apps with VoLTE

By: Josee Loudiadis, Director of Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent 

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and rich communications services can help mobile service providers reclaim market share being lost to over-the-top (OTT) applications.

Voice and text revenues are declining as mobile service providers (MSPs) face an unprecedented challenge from OTT communication apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and lesser known entrants, including WhatsApp and LINE. At first, MSPs enjoyed net gains because the use of these apps had generated significant data revenue. But times have changed. While still a source of revenue, these apps have begun to erode MSP’s native voice and messaging revenue.

To illustrate, let’s look at WhatsApp, who recently debuted its business model for mobile virtual network operators. In this model, WhatsApp (now owned by Facebook) provides voice and messaging services while leasing wireless services from a mobile operator. This means that MSPs are left with price per bit as their sole differentiator.

LTE Small Cells Help Public Transport Users Stay Informed in Real-time

By: Thierry Sens, Marketing Director Transportation Segment Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

It’s raining. It’s Monday morning. And the bus hasn’t turned up.

It’s a story experienced all the time in cities across the world, and is a major challenge for transit operators in the battle for passengers. When you are wet through and the bus still hasn’t come around the corner, taking the car always feels like the better option.

However, telecommunications technology is helping to readdress this balance. Research has shown that use of mobile apps which show up-to-date and accurate journey information is improving journey experience. Passengers can plan their journey better meaning the wait for the bus is no longer such a drag.

The New Facet of Customer Experience Management - Field Service 2.0

By: Rhodo Odysseos, Product/Solution Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent, and Jess Verbruggen, Motive Integrated Marketing Assistant, Alcatel-Lucent

Traditionally, communications service providers (CSPs) have treated the field service aspect of their organization as a cost center. Field technicians engaged in maintenance activities were simply a part of the cost of doing business.  More recently, the communications industry in general and the field service arena in particular, has been disrupted by immense changes in the customer profile, service expectations, and behaviors.

Field service is often the only face of the company that a customer will ever see, so it’s not a surprise that CSPs are striving to make a positive impact on customers in this realm. Achieving full potential in field service saves CSPs a lot of time and money. Productivity and efficiency reviews targeted at field service operations, done correctly, can reinforce other areas of the business by increasing customer satisfaction and improving safety and quality. 

The proof is in: Measuring VoLTE, 3G and Skype in the Live Network

By: Ed Elkin, Director, IP Platforms Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent 

There’s been a lot of debate within the industry about VoLTE’s readiness and how it stacks up against 3G voice and applications like Skype.

Now Signals Research Group (SRG), a leading field research and consulting services leader covering the wireless telecommunications industry, has closely studied the performance of VoLTE, 3G and Skype in AT&T’s commercial network and issued their report.  As we noted last week, SRG conducted that independent network benchmark study in Minneapolis-St. Paul, in collaboration with Spirent Communications. This is a market where Alcatel-Lucent provides the infrastructure, so I’m particularly glad to share this report with my friends and colleagues who’ve helped design, deploy and optimize VoLTE. 

During June and July, SRG tested VoLTE, 3G and Skype for everyday conditions, including stationary and mobile locations, strong and weak radio coverage, and under a variety of network loading and multi-tasking conditions. The tests evaluated voice quality, call setup time, call reliability, eSRVCC handovers, network resource utilization, and battery life.

DLNA CVP-2 Will Make Sharing Pay TV Much Easier

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet.com Contributor

There are two kinds of technology consumers: Those who revel in the technology, and those who just want the benefits of the technology without having to think about tech itself.

While I definitely am someone who enjoys the technological innovation as much as the results of that innovation, most consumers are not. They just want technology that works, i.e., where the proof of the viability of next generation capabilities can be summed up as “seeing is believing.”  

One example of this is the increasing popularity of multiscreen entertainment as delivered over a leading-edge multiscreen video platform such as the Alcatel-Lucent one that has become with service providers around the world. Consumers don’t want to have to fiddle with their computer or TV to get their content from one device to the next. They just want it to work; consumers want to be able to walk around the house with their shows or take their entertainment out into the world via their smartphone, not unlike we’ve been able to do with hardbound books for generations.

The WebRTC Craze

Blog post is co-written by Anne Lee, Chief Technology Officer of IMS Innovations at Alcatel-Lucent and recently recognized by the industry as a WebRTC pioneer and by Gilles Duboué, IP Platforms Innovation Marketing at Alcatel-Lucent.

The craze for WebRTC grows louder as its realization in the market begins to be marked with high profile adoptions such as in Google Hangouts, Amazon Mayday, and SnapChat’s AddLive solution. The formal standardization of WebRTC began in 2011.  Early implementations by Google and Mozilla, on Chrome and Firefox respectively, followed shortly - beginning in 2012.  And with the availability of developer versions of WebRTC on Chrome and Firefox, an ecosystem of proof-of-concept and early commercial products and solutions quickly emerged.  Open source plug-ins are filling the gap in browsers that do not yet support WebRTC e.g. Internet Explorer.  There is also clear progress being made in WebRTC standards for ORTC.  Given this, we expect that WebRTC ORTC will likely be natively available on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer within the next 18 months.

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