The winning ingredient: customer care

Joseph Waring
23 Apr 2010
00:00

For every retail buying decision, the consumer has a choice from whom they will buy, so unlike operators, retailers have to fight for every transaction and cannot lock their customers into contracts.

"But the trend going toward is a model where customers will have the choice for every service they want. Operators need to develop a much better understanding of their customers so that they can personalize services to incentivize them to buy from them," he said.

For the past three years, 22% of respondents said they are struggling with systems integration and process automation but no action has been taken. Some 49% said it's a concern and action is being taken (up from 44% last year, but down significantly from 58% in 2008).

The question is why have more than a fifth of operators been unable to address this problem? The issue of integration has been the cause of escalating costs and indeed the cancellation of projects as long as OSS and BSS have existed, Suard explained.

"Integration is typically more complicated than operators, vendors and integrators think or admit. Typically, OSS and BSS systems touch on many other systems, some very old, some undocumented, some on completely different hardware and software platforms, some simply not designed to be integrated with."

He said that with costs scrutinized carefully, you would expect integration issues to be looked at carefully and potentially radical action taken.

Trust in the cloud

With people using cloud-based data storage as an economical and simple way to access their information, the issue of security is currently a hot button. Business customers store sales, management and production information while consumers upload personal content.

Asked how secure they'd consider this information, the results shows almost an even split between "not convinced it's secure" (32%), "well-protected and have no worry" (31%) and "secure but concerned about access" (30%). Another 8% said it would be "easily accessible by anyone that wants it bad enough" (see chart below).

Making the equation more personal by asking if they would store personal content or their company's data to a cloud-based site, almost 50% said "yes for some things but not for sensitive or strategic data". A total of 19% said "no, this is not something to do under any circumstances" while another 19% said "no, the data would not be secure enough for our purposes". Just 12% said the data would be secure.

Some 36% of those surveyed said real-time charging is very important for cloud-based services so they can charge on a per-use basis. Twenty percent thought it was extremely important. Just 11% felt it wasn't important at all while 33% said it was somewhat important but not essential because most cloud-based services are offered as regular subscriptions, not on a per-use basis.

To support cloud-based services, more than three-quarters of respondent said they need to improve or replace their billing and customer care offerings while 64% said that service delivery and activation need attention before they could launch cloud services.

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