A balanced approach

Staff writer
Clarence Luo, Huawei's director of service solutions for global technical servicesClarence Luo, Huawei's director of service solutions for global technical services, outlines the critical success factors for CEM projects and explains the importance of understanding both the network side and the operational processes.
CEM Supplement: Why are telecom service providers starting to embrace CEM?
Clarence Luo: The fundamental reason is that power has shifted to consumers. The shift of power started with deregulation in the telco sector, and was accelerated by both number portability and internet proliferation.
Consequently, to maintain and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, service providers are trying to understand their customers better. This leads to the first main driver for CEM, which is "assurance" of the customer experience. Keeping a customer will tend to be much cheaper than acquiring a new customer, so "assurance" of customer satisfaction, and hence loyalty, is well worthwhile. The second main driver is "monetization": understanding the customer so well that new business models and services may be developed to increase revenue from the data pipe.
Having said that, the Asia market consists of many diverse service providers that, depending upon the state of their business, have deployed various different CEM initiatives.
Can you give some examples of CEM initiatives in Asia?
In emerging markets service providers have just launched mobile broadband services. Customer problems with services inside the data pipe are often more numerous and difficult to investigate. Many operators are forming dedicated service management groups to cope with these new waves of customer complaints.
In more advanced markets, some service providers have completed CRM modernization programs to allow for customer interaction through social media such as Facebook, or local blogs.
On the marketing front, many service providers are aiming to understand customers' interests and behavior by zooming into the data pipe, and then developing service or content offerings that are relevant to those customers.
Asian markets also have a large percentage of prepaid customers. The prepaid credit top-up represents the payment stage of customer experience, and errors are common. Minimizing these errors and securing the transaction is of utmost importance, and is a focus of many CEM initiatives.