Setting the Foundation for Telecom Innovation

By: Manjeet Dhariwal

The telecom industry’s future is filled with opportunities and risks in equal measure. Telecom service providers must cope with increasingly demanding customer bases, siloed processes and systems, and IT budgets that may not fit business aspirations. Moreover, there is no guarantee that telecom companies have the experienced IT staff required to either meet their technological and strategic goals or implement new solutions and advancements fast enough.

Communications Service Providers (CSPs) that are able to successfully navigate these challenges, however, will achieve stronger operational agility, open up new revenue streams, and increase customer engagement and satisfaction. By putting the right building blocks in place, service providers can position themselves to successfully execute and capitalize on telecom innovation strategies.

Building block #1: ‘Single-pane-of-glass’ portal

A number of telecom service providers have successfully branched out from their core capabilities to offer customers additional features and packages. In many cases, these efforts are hampered by their execution and siloed setups. In particular, service providers separate their various offerings into distinct customer-facing portals, requiring their clients to manage multiple platforms and move between them to access every single tool included in their contracts.

This type of arrangement could have a significant negative impact on the customer experience, creating friction with telecom clientele. In today’s telecom environment, that friction could be devastating for service providers.

Enhancing the customer experience is one of the most important competitive advantages an organization can give itself. In fact, according to an Ovum survey, the majority of respondents reported that improving user satisfaction was their “most important strategic response” to increasing competition and customer expectations. High user satisfaction creates loyalty, reducing churn and driving greater profitability.

Uniting disparate services and condensing them onto a single, accessible platform can have a profound impact on customer satisfaction. Rather than forcing customers to navigate between several interfaces to change various aspects of their accounts or manage their menu of services, telecom companies can offer a single-pane-of-glass portal to handle every request.

Cloud-based portals dramatically improve the customer experience, allowing users to manage all of their telecom services—including on-demand bandwidth, SD-WAN and firewalls—through one interface and without requiring assistance. And telecom users are growing more interested in self-service tools to manage requests and customer service issues. In 2018, Forrester Research listed self-service enablement as one of the most important forces in customer service, as traditional points of contact wane in popularity. And another survey stated that 85 percent of global respondents believe that their top business driver is to deliver an improved customer experience, which will lead to positive top- and bottom-line growth.

In addition, such portals enable service providers to roll out new features to their customers faster than ever before. A 2017 Frost & Sullivan study revealed that 90 percent of telecom providers believe that integrated, cloud-based platforms accelerate time to market. To support that further, according to a recent 2018 Deloitte study, “companies are 2.6 times more likely to prefer acquiring advanced innovation capabilities such as AI through cloud-based services versus on-premise solutions, and three times more likely to prefer as-a-service to building these capabilities themselves.”

The combination of accessibility, ease-of-use and faster service release will increase customer satisfaction levels for telecom companies, providing a critical competitive advantage over other players in their markets.


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