Digital Dodgeball: Making the Right Moves with Preemptive CEM

By: Jesse Cryderman

Communications service providers (CSPs) are in a pinch. As a result of competitive pressure and market demand, they must move faster than ever before or risk losing relevancy and customers. As we all know, however, velocity is not the first attribute associated with these mammoth organizations. In fact, it’s not even the fifth, or the tenth. The need for CSPs to transform in order to rapidly launch new services, quickly adapt to changing market conditions, and adopt a “fail fast” mentality has given rise to a focus on agility in the telecommunication sector.

Agility is perhaps illustrated best in athletics. When playing soccer, teams constantly adjust their plays based on the movement of their competitors. In track and field, hurdlers look down the track to prepare for each obstacle, and plan out their steps ahead of time. In contrast, many service providers contact  put in a network service order or contact a customer after a metaphorical hurdle has been knocked over, or a race lost. Agility, it seems, is more than just moving quickly. It also means anticipating future challenges and implementing actionable strategies based on these insights.

Next to agility is another buzzy telecom trend: customer experience management (CEM). As networks and devices become commoditized, the customer experience becomes the primary differentiator. CEM is all about embracing a customer-experience-first perspective throughout all levels of an organization. Combine a focus on agility with a CEM angle and you get pre-emptive CEM. Like a game of digital dodgeball, CSPs can make the right moves, avoid being hit, and stand victorious at the end of the game with a pre-emptive CEM strategy.

Picking the right team

Imagine picking a dodgeball team without knowing anything about the player pool. If you’ve attended the same school as the players for many years, you know which kid has a rocket arm and which one usually takes a ball to the face on the first play. However, in this example, you’re the new kid. You don’t know Jack from Jill, and chances are you’re going to lose.

This is what it’s like for many CSPs who enter new regional markets, seek to court customers from a new segment, or launch new products. Without insight into the customer pool, CSPs are building and marketing to a new team blindly. Picking the right team requires data analytics and market modeling that can preemptively inform a CSP of the best players, that is the customers who are most likely to actively engage with services, stick around, and tell their friends.

Heading off the hits

After a bad breakup, usually initiated by the discovery of some unsavory character flaws, people often say, “If I just could have only known then what I know now.” The same is true for CSPs, and with pre-emptive CEM, it is actually possible to bet on the future. New tools are on the market that quantify the risk of taking on a particular customer or sub-set of customers, and can predict things like fraud potential, bad debt probability, and propensity to churn.

Although “net sub adds” is still a commonly discussed metric in telecom, it is no longer simply a subscriber numbers game. There are costs associated with acquiring and servicing new customers, not to mention handling customers who commit fraud or fail to pay. In some cases, the costs associated with adding a specific customer or customer subset might actually deliver a net-loss.


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