Eliminate Operational Silos for Effective CEM

by Sharon Lobo    Dec 15, 2009

The true test of customer satisfaction and customer experience is the extent to which customers generate more revenue and profits for the service provider over time. However, the challenge service providers face is relating increases or decreases in indices such as Customer Satisfaction Index to changes in ARPU or AMPU in order to quantify the financial impact of customer satisfaction and customer experience.

To take a closer look at strategies for effective Customer Experience Management (CEM) to help service providers leverage customer loyalty to build profitability, a study titled ‘Customer Experience Management: Driving Loyalty and Profitability’, was conducted by the Telemangement Forum. Subex Limited, a global provider of Operations and Business Support Systems (OSS/BSS), also participated in this study, providing a unique perspective on metrics-driven CEM strategies, which enables Communication Service Providers (CSPs) optimize their CEM investments, resulting in quantifiable increases in margins, profitability, and customer retention.

Among service providers’ primary CEM challenges is the lack of a 360-degree or end-to-end subscriber view based on products, services, profitability, revenues, margins, costs, geography and other parameters. With no comprehensive view of the subscriber, no real-time, coordinated mechanism to measure these customer parameters, and no defined KPIs to track customer experience across various touch points, service providers cannot establish and sustain a credible CEM approach. 

Typically in a service provider’s operational environment subscriber data is fragmented across various systems and data sources, and it remains un-correlated and consequently under-utilized. OSS/BSS environments generally consist of thousands of systems, from Excel spreadsheets to large legacy mainframe systems to third-party solutions. These systems, in turn, are managed by hundreds of complex, often manual, processes and this complexity results in frequent process gaps and significant data inconsistencies between systems.

This siloed approach also means that service providers have no mechanism to link customer satisfaction parameters to service provider processes. As a result there is no way to predict customer satisfaction from raw metrics such as product quality or service efficiency, giving service providers little, if any, guidance on where to invest to improve customer satisfaction.

To correlate customer data across disparate functions for more effective CEM, service providers must first overcome the various challenges presented by operational silos. Effectively analysing customer data depends on the accuracy of the processes that generate these data. A pragmatic way to ensure such accuracy and efficiency is to enable a ROC (Revenue Operations Center) strategy.

A ROC essentially functions as ‘mission control’ for a service provider’s financial health, coordinating often dispersed functions within the organization. Introducing systems that automate processes and generate subscriber and transactional information is also important for tracking and enhancing customer experience.

High-level summary data about customers (e.g., how each customer demographic experiences the service provider on average) has limited usefulness. The ROC collects data on individual subscribers to enable more effective CEM and enables service providers to identify high-risk subscribers (i.e., those likely to churn) and take corrective action. It correlates and analyses data from a number of diverse sources (data warehouse, xDRs, billing, call center). The resulting real-time insights can guide service providers’ actions and investments for sustaining an effective CEM strategy.