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Connecting With Your Customers: Linking OSS and BSS Information

By Scott Bryden

In today’s world of the telecom service provider there is a dizzying mix of maturing technologies, evolving business strategies, changing regulations, competition, and complex service offerings. New providers, in addition to current operators, are appealing to specific customer needs, and enabling consumers to have even more choices, especially from the customer-savvy Virtual Network Operator (VNO) market. As many markets begin to reach a saturation point, our industry is quickly evolving to a world about profitability, not just market share.

The real money today isn’t just about a network connection as in times past; instead it’s a fight between traditional network operators, VNOs, and other entertainment outlets for the consumer’s discretionary spending budget- e.g. gaming, identity services, video downloads, and a host of other content-specific services. It is this change in how consumers see communications services that is forcing all network operators to rethink their time-proven business strategies and to “get more real” about placing the customer first.

Retaining customers in today’s competitive environment requires the development and management of intensive customer relationships including the need to continuously deliver an acceptable service experience. This has led to an emphasis on Customer Experience Management without which, operators can only guess about how well their customers are getting along. Most are painfully aware that their customers have a choice and will exercise their option to choose the service and/or content that meets or exceeds their expectations.

What is Customer Experience Management?
Customer Experience Management in and of itself is a methodology that implies a change to the traditional network-centric business model with a new one that places the customer at the center. A key for service providers implementing Customer Experience Management is a much stronger link between customer information and the network/service management tools now used today. Detailed direct measurement of the customer experience defined through key business measures and analytics brings a strong focus on all aspects of customer service performance, creating an overall system of Customer Assurance.

How Things are Done Today
The traditional Service Provider approach has focused on managing a set of products delivered via an operator-owned network. Management of this network has been accomplished via multiple Operational Support Systems (OSS) each of which were focused on connectivity: The same Operators also have a set of Business Support Systems (BSS) that incorporate billing, accounting, customer care, and marketing support systems. Generally speaking, the BSS are...


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