Telecoms operators have understood for some time now that quality of the experience is the key factor in engaging customers and keeping them onboard. By some accounts, it’s arguably the only factor that matters. The customer experience affects everything from loyalty and revenue to share price, directly and indirectly.
Forrester analyst Michael Gazala put it this way in a blog post in April: “What’s the top imperative at your company? If it’s not a transformation to make the company more customer-focused, you’re making a mistake. Technology and economic forces have changed the world so much that an obsession with winning, serving, and retaining customers is the only possible response.”
He was talking about all businesses, but it’s as true for telcos as it is for McDonald’s. That’s why many operators have been investing in technologies that ultimately aim to make the customer experience better. That includes network-focused technologies that increase capacity, throughput, efficiency and flexibility, and – of course – customer experience management (CEM) solutions to help operators better understand the actual experience the customer is having, and how to improve it.
In the last couple of years, a new tool has appeared in the CEM toolbox: big data analytics. Telcos are already sitting on tons of data generated by customer activity – big data analytics provides an opportunity to crunch that data, make sense of it, and gain a more detailed understanding of what customers want, what they’re experiencing, and how to bridge the gap between the two and improve the customer experience even further.
Which may sound somewhat hyped – and that’s because, to a point, it is. But there are already plenty of case studies out there demonstrating the potential power of big data as a customer engagement tool that could also turn CEM into a revenue generator in its own right.
The key word there is “potential” – and that’s the catch. Like any tool, big data only works if you use it right, and for now there’s no “right” way to use it, although we know there are plenty of wrong ways, especially when it comes to CEM. Overall, the basic trick is how to leverage customer data efficiently and effectively – and across many organizational silos – without stepping over the line in terms of privacy.
Oh, and those silos? You’ll need to get rid of them for all of this to work.