Real-time CX and the Customer-Adaptive
Future of Service Charges

By: Chantel Cary

The communications industry has changed drastically over the last decade, from the introduction of mobile apps to the shift toward a digital-first economy and the explosion of data that has followed it. The way communications service providers (CSPs) charge for services, however, has not evolved much over the years. Today’s consumers are typically charged based on the amount of data (or minutes or text messages) they consume or pay a flat rate for unlimited plans. In the modern era of the communications industry, this model has become untenable for CSPs and consumers alike.

The challenge with consumption-based models is that they don’t take into consideration the intent behind customer usage. No one purchases buckets of data for the sake of having it. Rather, it is what we do with that data and the experience of using it that is most important. A consumer using data to browse the Internet or check their email, for example, has a very different intent and expectations on network performance than a user playing an online group video game or hosting a webinar. Yet these users are all charged the same for their data connectivity and receive the same quality of service—the network’s best efforts. Without consideration for how or why consumers use the network and by not factoring these differences into how consumers are charged for services, the value of the network—and ultimately service providers—has diminished greatly over time.

In the grand scheme of things, the industry’s inability to deliver clear value beyond connectivity has proven itself to be a challenge that must be urgently addressed. Decreasing brand loyalty from consumers, demands for more personalized customer experiences, and increasing competition from Internet communications providers (ICPs) like Amazon, Apple, and Google means that it is now harder than ever for CSPs to keep customers engaged and keep revenue growing at a healthy rate.

With the industry now quickly approaching 200 global deployments of the 5G network and lingering uncertainty around how CSPs will monetize it, now is as good a time as ever for the industry to rethink its charging approach.

The real-time CX engine of the future

The introduction of 5G presents a unique opportunity for CSPs to begin to reframe their approach to managing the customer experience and monetizing the network. In fact, new and enhanced capabilities within the 5G network—such as new configurable network attributes—will enable CSPs to better focus on the types of experiences they deliver to their customers, while also monetizing these different experiences.


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