Customer Experience Management - A Complex process with a simple Outcome

Date:   Sunday , July 01, 2012

On a recent overseas trip, I landed at the airport and my phone struggled to latch onto a local network. I had grudgingly bought a local SIM from India for use in this foreign country and plugged that into a backup handset that I carried. It took me through a complicated procedure to get latched on and finally I was able to make a call back home, but with all types of ‘special’ characters and codes added to my home number. I now had a loaded home phone with all my contacts and data that I could not use and a simpler one that was moody! Of course, I had turned my data roaming off, due to high rates. I was not a happy traveler – I needed my phone to latch onto the local network and I wanted to get a sense of being connected even though I was in a foreign land. I wondered why this process could not be seamless.

A recent Ovum study indicated that over 68 percent of mobile operators named Customer Experience Management (CEM) as their highest business priority. If you are surprised with that statistic, consider the American Customer Satisfaction Index score for the wireless telephone service industry – it has remained flat at about 70/100 while Internet portals scored 80/100. And this in the world’s most advanced mobile market!

'Wow' is the one exclamation that mobile operators want to hear from their subscribers, but rarely do. Achieving high levels of CEM is not a simple task. It involves a seamless integration of network, IT, marketing, product management and support functions of an operator to create, monitor, analyze and react to subscriber experience situations both in home networks and visited networks. It is a multi-operator, multi-regional, multi-functional problem. Here are some challenges that operators face in managing subscriber experience.

Providing service information to inbound and outbound subscribers in a timely manner is critical. Visited region operators wish to educate inbound subscribers about services like home short codes, MMS, incentive schemes and services like customer care etc. Home region operators want to maintain contact with their outbound subscribers by spreading awareness of roaming rates, services available from different roaming partners and even real-time/ tailored news and event promotions that could be of interest to roamers. Subscribers on the other hand are looking for better user experience in terms of Quality of Service and right information on their current location, roaming services and tariff details. A traveler arriving at a new destination is typically unfamiliar with amenities such as restaurants, recreation, lodging, etc. available at the destination. This information can be retrieved by subscribers on demand if the visited/home operator provides location based services.

The need to be able to Design a Subscriber Experience and build it with intelligent rule-based engines is what will be the key differentiator for operators in times to come. Building this experience will require a lot of work both on the backend as well as interfaces with the customers. Backend operations like running realistic experience tests in home network and visited network environments with the experience and monitoring subscriber experience post-service launch from the network and on the handset in real-time do help in improving the customer experience. With regards to the customer interface, all one on one interaction with the subscriber over a variety of topics from promotions to resolutions of their problems is critical factor differentiating between a happy and unhappy subscriber experience. Finally, the creations of a real time experience for subscribers where they see their issues resolved instantly and see offers tailor-made for their needs being shown to them instantly makes a lot of impact on the end customer.

While, this is easier said than done, with an integrated approach to CEM, we can see this happen and look forward to hassle-free communication irrespective of where we are.