Customer takes center stage

Vivek Srivastava
Progress Software
Communication service providers (CSPs) must be prepared to offer new and different levels of individualized service to retain current customers and gain new customers. However, the advancements of technology, including 4G LTE deployments, signifies increased competition for operators and stresses the need to differentiate their level of service to remain competitive.
 
With wider service ranges comes even greater demands, and CSPs will need to constantly develop and mature in their networks. In 2012, customers will demand greater support services that lie outside of traditional telecom offerings.
 
Here are nine pointers for industry players this year. First, know the customer and his situation, focusing on understanding and predicting customers’ needs. To do this, operators must deploy technology that allows them to understand and cater to the specific needs of individual customers, based on customer location and preferences. The ability to offer individually tailored services that allow for situational responsiveness will become a key differentiator for carriers.
 
Second, visibility ensures a positive customer experience. As the number of bundled services offered increases, so does the number of separate business and operational support systems involved. CSPs need to be able to see across all customer-impacting activities to fully appreciate the customer’s point of view and, more importantly, to preemptively resolve issues that may arise. Complete order visibility will become the single-biggest point of differentiation.
 
Third, the exception becomes the rule. Operators can expect an increase of almost two-thirds of their overall costs tied to dealing with the variations and exceptions to their core business operations. They will sink or swim, depending on how responsive they are in dealing with the exceptions to their base operations of fulfillment, assurance, and billing.
 
Fourth, location-based promotions will go virtual. Online purchasing can be made anytime and anywhere, so location-based promotions will evolve. Virtual promotions will be even more engaging and will extend beyond just the location of the customer to also encompass factors such as the customers’ social media consumption and influence.
 

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