Proactive Network Issue Resolution is the Key to a Great Customer Experience

By: Wojciech Dziunikowski

The telecommunications landscape is becoming increasingly competitive, forcing CSPs to find ways of improving their market position. Originating mainly from the IT world, OTT players are the main opponents, with light, easy-to-use mobile applications from companies such as Facebook, Uber and Spotify forcing customers to interact constantly with the service provider.

Because they provide access to the network powering the circulatory system of today’s economy, however, telecoms companies are well positioned to compete with OTT providers in the realm of customer experience.

It may seem obvious, but when looking to optimize customer engagement touchpoints to improve the overall experience, the most important touchpoint of all is the network itself. But a customer’s day-to-day experience of the network is like the 90 percent of an iceberg that lies below the surface of the water. Their level of satisfaction related to a CSP’s service is largely hidden from view.

Only when a major problem—such as a network outage—occurs will a customer be likely to consider a secondary touchpoint such as calling a CSR or making their feelings known on social media. By this time, though, it’s too late: the customer’s experience has been sufficiently frustrating to spur him or her to take action, and the CSP must undo any damage done.

Prevention is better than cure, of course but, technically and commercially, most CSPs tend not to have invested resources in preventative measures, a situation which, viewed objectively, appears counter-intuitive.

CSPs must therefore become proactive in finding and addressing issues before they become real problems that can have a negative impact on the all-important customer experience.

The most important touchpoint

To fully optimize the customer experience, it is important to first understand the customer journey, during which time a customer will interact with a CSP via several touchpoints. These include first contact through the decision to order a service; the service set-up, service delivery and strengthening the relationship; to service termination, and possible repurchasing of the same or different service.

Quality of experience has been defined as “the overall acceptability of an application or service, as perceived subjectively by the end-user, and includes the complete end-to-end system effects (client, terminal, network, services, infrastructure, etc.).”

This definition requires CSPs to constantly monitor the complete effects of all touchpoints to ensure that the failure of one component doesn’t negatively impact the overall experience. If it does, the CSP must react quickly to solve the problem and minimize its ultimate impact on the customer.

But while many projects have been launched with a view to optimizing each of these touchpoints, when it comes to managing customer experience, the key asset in any CSP’s arsenal is actually its network. The network will always be the first touchpoint for any subscriber using a service based on mobile connectivity. And, as owners of telecom networks, operators will have valuable detailed insight into customer use of the network, their behavior patterns, their location at any given time, and their needs.

Many initiatives aimed at improving customer experience “across all touchpoints” will address only sales or marketing touchpoints, however, without taking the network into account. Under-investing in this crucial touchpoint—and failing to properly manage any network failure—can severely impact the overall end-to-end service and, of course, the customer experience. 

The weakest link

If CSPs neglect the fact that the network is their key asset, and focus only on sales touchpoints instead, they will paint an incomplete picture of the overall customer experience.

Indeed, a customer will visit a sales touchpoint in order to access the network, from wherever they are, whenever they choose, in whichever way they choose, with the highest quality service and at the lowest possible price. The network is therefore the first and most important touchpoint a CSP can use in improving customer satisfaction. Customers require continuous access to the network and the services it provides, and so the network must always work smoothly, wherever it is accessed. If this fundamental component is not assured, initiatives focused on improving any other touchpoints are redundant.


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