By: Dan O’Donnell
I have worn glasses since I was ten. It started when I could not read the blackboard from my desk. I asked to be put in the first row. Then I would scoot my desk up closer to the blackboard a little at a time so no one would notice. Eventually, I was so close to the blackboard that everyone noticed and my teacher recommended to my parents that I see an eye doctor.
On the way home from the eye doctor, fitted with my new glasses, I was amazed at the world around me. The full moon was not really a fuzzy, white ball. There were edges and shadows that I never saw before. My view of the moon was skewed and I did not know it. I saw the fuzzy ball and I believed that was the moon. However, the moon was actually quite different than what I saw and believed.
Today, Communications Service Providers (CSP) typically use surveys from customer contacts with various departments such as Billing, Support, Service and Sales. These surveys are compared to Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and attempt to gauge customer satisfaction and retention likelihood. There are questions with this methodology including the accuracy of the survey data, the timeliness of the reporting and whether the data truly reflects the customer experience.
Accurate measurement and true understanding of the customer experience is the most critical component of CSP business management. Delighting customers with a positive experience every time is the key to customer retention, selling new services, increasing the customer base and growing revenue. Here comes the exciting news…a better way to see and understand the customer experience is being developed.
CSPs have a very rich source of customer experience data at their fingertips. It is their network. The problem, heretofore, has been accessing, capturing, retrieving, analyzing and presenting the massive amounts of data on the network. There are billions of calls set up and torn down every day. There are petabytes of data passing through the network every second. Surfacing KPIs from live data can provide a clear, timely and actionable picture of the customer experience.
Through a collaboration sponsored by the TM Forum and championed by Telecom Italia, Network Critical, Ventraq, IBM Netezza, and The Now Factory are developing a CEM solution that integrates data analytics to better understand and improve the customer experience. Phase I of the project was presented at Management World Americas in Orlando last week and received keen interest from the CSP community.
This ground breaking work allows massive amounts of data to be analyzed and crystallized into manageable, understandable indices for executive reporting and follow-up action. This is not just network performance and dropped calls. This system will also analyze protocols and applications that are beyond network control yet have a significant impact on the customer. It will also help CSPs understand how their network is being used. Are people downloading music, playing games, checking email, connecting with others over social media? This data goes beyond network level performance and provides critical information for network dimensioning and helping the CSP manage the user experience.
Advancing CEM using data analytics puts the focus on the customer first. It allows CSPs to see a new, clearer view of their customers that was not possible before. The fuzzy, white ball that was the customer is now a very sharp circle with shadows, hills and valleys. With the customer in clear focus, the opportunities to enhance the customer experience are endless.