Mobile operators have rarely been considered to be gold standards in terms of customer service. But the move to mobile broadband is imposing a new set of rules.
Increasingly, cellcos need to deliver not just better customer experience to keep the best users. For their own profitability, they need to tailor that experience and level of care to groups and even individuals.
The steps to CEM will feed into three overall trends in carrier thinking, especially among the tier-one or post-paid-centric players. One, to move away (very slowly in many cases) from measuring by customer numbers to focusing on value, identifying the most profitable users and retaining them with excellent experience while offloading the rest.
Two, to implement different levels of quality of service and overall experience with different charges, and ensure the top layers are very competitive in terms of network performance, customer care and applications.
Three, to move a step beyond that to highly personalized bundles, services and tariffs, targeted to the individual and, eventually, giving the subscribers themselves the ability to control and change their usage on a real-time basis.
Operators believe that these three stages will enable them to increase profitability by focusing resources on high-value and loyal users, and reduce overall cost of data delivery in the meantime.
All this is creating a new pseudo-science - CEM. CEM, in its full form, spans many very diverse network and IT activities, each with its own databases, teams and processes. These include customer care, subscriber data management, billing and charging, policy management, device management, service assurance, OSS and network analytics.
No longer is customer service just an element within a BSS/OSS framework centered mainly on the bill, but it is becoming the hub around which all the other operational tasks must revolve.