Customer Experience Management: like running shoes, a good fit is essential

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In this guest post, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) argue that customer insight and personalisation are the keys to delivering a great customer experience, supported by two real-world case studies. They draw the analogy that it makes no more sense to offer every customer the same package than to offer every runner the same shoes.

Mobile internet quality used to play only a minor role in customer retention, but this is no longer the case. Network coverage and voice quality were rated as the most important criteria in 2010 and continue to be among the top criteria to retain customers in 2011. The importance of Messaging and Internet Quality increased even for the average user. Customers who are classified as 'high value customers' now rank mobile broadband quality alongside voice quality and network coverage in determining to leave or stay with their mobile operator.

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In particular, heavy users of advanced services, a customer group that has grown by 34% between 2010 and 2011, care about Messaging and Internet quality. These customers are typically young and the majority of them are high spenders. But are they loyal to their operators? The answer doesn't look promising. These customers have already switched operators far more often than average, and nearly 40% of them will change their provider within the next year. Even worse, overall satisfaction with the mobile Internet has hit rock bottom. Together with unfavourable contract conditions and the high cost of devices and voice services, poor mobile Internet quality received the lowest satisfaction ratings globally.

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Would you accept a one-size-fits-all shoe?

So what can operators do about it? Providing services that fit individual needs is an important first step. Personalization is a clear megatrend across the entire market. People are used to adapting all kinds of user interfaces according to their personal preferences. Many products come in a huge variety to serve even the smallest segment.

Take running shoes. You can buy ultralight marathon running shoes, sport shoes with built-in electronics, or even trainers you can custom design on online portals. This range of choice is just one example of how customer preferences vary from individual to individual. Does it make any sense to offer every customer the same package and the same data rate?

For operators, the capability to personalize their service packages translates into an opportunity to both create new offers and earn incremental revenue. Only a select few customers need hiking books to trek 20 miles a day. Only a select few mobile users want to download five full-HD videos a day.

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Nokia Siemens Networks' A&R study shows that traditional services such as sending/receiving emails, browsing/searching the web, instant messaging and chat and picture messaging are on top of the customer priority list right now. In the future, GPS and security packages will become increasingly important. In practice, these changing needs underline the importance of targeting precious bandwidth to customers who really need it, and are willing to pay for it. Hardly anyone needs a giant pipe all the time, and operators need tools to enable them to personalize and move away from "one-size-fits-all."

Insight & action provide a personal communication experience that fits

How to personalize their services is the next question that operators need to answer. Insight is crucial here, based on data collected from multiple sources-the network, the service, the device, the usage, the subscriber and the customer experience. By analyzing this insight and creating a feedback loop on a flexible network, they can support their customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle rather than stepping in too late to salvage the customer relationship. In fact, many operators are already taking this approach to improve the overall experience with new personalized offerings, with Telkomsel Indonesia and Bharti Airtel India providing two good examples.

Telkomsel implements right now the recently launched CEM on Demand portal which will provide one single entry point to view real-time experience metrics. This will allow Telkomsel to have a unified view of customer data, along with continuous reporting of customer insights that help it to improve its customers' experience and generate new revenue streams. Bharti Airtel chose us for a pan-India deployment of our CEM platform which will maintain and store real-time experience metrics for every subscriber in the network enabling Bharti Airtel to proactively cater to customer needs.

To successfully personalize service offerings requires the capability to share insight across different operator departments and organizations. For example, operations may already know that there is a problem with a cell in a crowded shopping mall, but this information has yet to be shared with service desk agents.

To bridge these silos, operators need not only real-time insight, but also the capability to take proactive and automated action in response. In short, they need a holistic Customer Experience Management solution.

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With insight about why a connection has failed or a specific service is unavailable, for example, they can inform their customer that they need to upgrade the operating system of their device to support the service they have requested.

Insight about customer preferences makes it possible to offer single sign on to various web services or an even easier sign on process using just a mobile number. Device and security settings can be updated or corrected automatically. Special rates or offers can be promoted to heavy users of specific services. Real-time information can be provided to help-desk agents to help them resolve problems in an instant. Customers can manage and create their own service packages and interact with friends about their service preferences on self service portals.

Taken together, Customer Experience Management solutions enable operators to deliver a highly personalized communication experience that provides the best possible fit with subscriber needs, expectations and preferences. Not unlike those specialized running shoes tailored for speed, performance and satisfaction.

This post was written by Iris Heinonen, Head of CEM Marketing, Nokia Siemens Networks.