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I recently attended a Light Reading Marketing Roundtable event where Phil Harvey, Light Reading's Editor-in-Chief, discussed the top trends he's seeing in the Communications industry.
I was expecting him to go into traditional, hardware-based trends such as the emergence of 4G/LTE equipment, packet optical networking, and 100 Gbps fiber-optic transmission. These technologies were mentioned, but only in the context of how they are enabling Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to "create, manage, deliver and monetize new services". To Phil, and to the readers of Light Reading, interest is shifting from hardware advances (which are now largely expected) to some of the unique applications that can be delivered across a CSP network, including mobile finance and video, telematics, and utility optimization via a smart grid.
The ultimate success of these new applications depends on a positive end-to-end customer experience, including:
That's why trend #1 that Phil discussed was the need for CSPs to "become experts in Customer Experience Management (CEM)". CEM, in his opinion, is how CSPs will differentiate their services from those of their competitors.
CSPs possess a tremendous amount of information about a customer, including service and billing records, support/customer care history, and location-specific device usage details. Unfortunately, most of this information is stuck in disparate Business Support Systems (BSS) and Operational Support Systems (OSS), disconnected from each other and from the bigger, strategic picture.
Strategic Analytics allow a CSP to bring together everything they know about a customer, and combine it with third-party demographic and firmographic information in a common analytics environment. This allows them to assign individual customer experience scores, which are an indicator of a customer's overall satisfaction and a predictor of whether they will continue service when their contract is up. This score can be used by many organizations within a CSP:
Not surprisingly, many of the carriers who have the lowest churn rates in the industry rely on Strategic Analytics as the critical component of their industry-leading CEM programs.