The Art of End-to-End Customer Experience Management


The Art of End-to-End Customer Experience Management

By TMCnet Special Guest
Andreas Havdrup
  |  November 12, 2013

No two customers are alike, which is why communication providers must reconsider the traditional one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to tariffs, offers and QoS. The one-size-fits-all strategy had its purpose in building the mobile mass market, but today, customers expect personalization. When they don’t get that, it’s easier than ever for them to churn, thanks to number portability, the availability of over-the-top services, prepaid MVNOs and the industry-wide trend away from contracts.

When CSPs once offered only a single type of service – voice in the case of telcos and mobile operators, and video in the case of cable operators – there were few differentiation opportunities aside from coverage, number of channels and price. But with mobile data and video, and triple and quadruple plays, CSPs now have far more opportunities to stand out from the pack and compete on something other than the lowest price.

One way CSPs can differentiate the offer is by superior experience. The first step in accomplishing this is to understand the customer experience that they’re providing. That’s only possible when a CSP (News - Alert) has an end-to-end view of its network – including every customer touch point and every business level – all the way out to customer devices.

Just as important, the operator needs access to all of this information in real time so it can act accordingly, such as by identifying and resolving a problem before it becomes noticeable to customers. A tier one North American operator recently implemented a customer experience management solution capable of monitoring more than 190,000 components using 12,000 key indicators. Those insights significantly increased the CSP’s ability to catch and fix problems before customers noticed.

Those insights directly benefit the CSP’s bottom line in several ways. For example, happier customers mean fewer complaints, higher ARPU and more spending on adjacent offers, so the CSP avoids the unnecessarily high cost of attracting and retaining customers that comes with a poor brand reputation. The CSP also avoids the cost of staffing up its contact centers to field a flood of questions and complaints.

A holistic approach to CEM also enables CSPs to identify and act on segmentation opportunities. For example, many enterprises are willing to pay a premium for certain QoS levels for mobile data and mission-critical services such as video surveillance backhaul.

To capitalize on these kind of opportunities, CSPs need the ability to monitor every aspect of the customer experience in real time. Achieving those insights requires an OSS and BSS that are highly granular, tightly integrated and have the ability to see all the way out to the customer’s device, such as a smartphone, tablet or set-top box.

CSPs can take a three-stage approach to CEM:

  • Prepare. Understand customer behaviors, needs and wants, and then create offerings tailored to each of those areas; deploy or configure the OSS/BSS to enable those offerings.
  • Deliver. Identify the types of services each customer wants and then recommend those during interactions, such as during order negotiation. Be proactive, including advising customers when they’re approaching spending or usage limits, and identifying problems before they become noticeable to customers.
  • Validate. Measure and analyze how the delivered experience compares to the experience goals. Big data is valuable at this stage.

One fundamental difference between CEM and CRM is that the latter doesn’t provide CSPs with experience-related information in real time. CRM’s goal is to enable internal efficiencies rather than ensuring a great customer experience. By comparison, CEM focuses on operations and processes as they relate to meeting customer experience goals. Put simply, the customer experience comes first.

CEM also differs from service quality management, which takes a holistic view of a service rather than an individual customer. SQM provides a big picture, near-real- time, end-to-end service-level view of customer-impacting events. The event view includes detailed root cause information based on network counter data such as faults, performance and trouble tickets.

CEM gives CSPs the ability to deliver specific things – promotions, new services, custom tariffs, to name a few possibilities – to individual customers or groups of customers based on information that the OSS/BSS provides. For example, a mobile customer who typically uses a lot of minutes and megabytes travels abroad and stops using her phone is probably a silent roamer, i.e. someone who curtails usage for fear of a big bill. The CSP could configure its OSS/BSS to identify that kind of sudden change and send the customer a text message with a promo for a special roaming plan. That scenario highlights how CEM can drive additional revenue and promote brand loyalty, because now the customer perceives the operator as respecting both budget and the need to stay connected rather than simply trying to nickel and dime at every turn.

A CEM strategy is also a way for CSPs to turn OTT from a threat into an opportunity. Suppose that a broadband provider uses its end-to-end visibility to determine that a significant amount of its customers use an OTT video service. It could then take that information to the OTT provider to broker a partnership. For example, the OTT provider might share revenue with the CSP in exchange for not having its videos count toward the customer’s monthly data cap. That makes the OTT provider’s service more attractive than rivals that don’t have a business arrangement with that CSP.

Advertising is another example. When a CSP has deep insights into customer habits, preferences and location, it has the ability to create advertising-sponsored tariffs. That business model could enable a CSP to pursue highly price-sensitive demographics that otherwise wouldn’t be profitable.

It’s tempting to view CEM as a way to meet customer expectations, and that’s correct. But CEM also enables CSPs to go a step further and offer customers things they don’t expect, such as highly personalized bundles, third-party-subsidized tariffs and QoS tiers. In other words, CEM is an opportunity to wow customers with an experience that makes them feel valued and even coddled, and thus loyal to their CSP.

Andreas Havdrup is the head of customer experience management within Ericsson (News - Alert) Support Solutions/OSS (

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]
blog comments powered by Disqus