Establishing an effective customer engagement model in the midst of the evolving digital economy landscape is critical for CSPs to ensure they are not bypassed in the value chain, according to Analysys Mason.
Communications service providers (CSPs) worldwide are actively exploring ways to defend against the competitive threats of digital economy players, while capitalising on their strengths and network infrastructure to become a more integrated part of the digital economy and the associated growth opportunity. The rise of Internet giants such as Amazon and Google has caused notable changes to customer behaviour and expectations. Customers expect real-time, personalised, customisable experiences for both digital and nondigitised services.
The first step towards creating an exceptional customer experience is to map the customer journey. Consumers want control over their customer journey, choosing their own paths with complete flexibility. There is a need to provide multiple journey paths that customers can take as they become aware of an offering from a CSP, research the offering, choose an offering, and (hopefully) become public advocates of the offering. The platforms of the future will allow customers to choose how they interact with CSPs while guiding the customer journey subtly to ensure appropriate engagement and desired outcomes for CSPs.
Broadly speaking, a typical customer journey can have infinite outcomes or limited guided outcomes. Designing an infinite number of potential customer journeys is complex, and effective customer engagement within this model can be time-consuming and expensive. Guided outcomes offer CSPs more effective control over customer engagement. By limiting the number of customer journeys, CSPs can focus on providing compelling customer experiences.
Uber started operations just in 2010. Valued at over USD50 billion today, it is one of the most valuable company in the world. What’s the secret of such success stories? The resounding answer is a customer experience. Another interesting observation is that the extreme complexities that transpire behind the scene are never brought to the foreground with the customers who are presented with presented with an interface that is clean, contextual, convenient and consistent.
Just like Uber, CSPs can attempt to cross the chasm of experiential engagement with customers by offering an easy-to-use interface. Most large CSPs have multiple interaction channels, many of which are silos and inconsistent in their messaging. However, today’s consumers demand consistent real-time control over their services, comparable to online services from Internet firms. In order to provide a more engaging customer interaction experience, CSPs should focus on deploying a customer experience unifying platform. CSPs are best advised to engage with vendors and experts who have deep domain knowledge across business support systems (BSS) to design and deploy such a platform.
While CSPs have all the ingredients to become much more than a dumb pipe in the digital economy value chain, they need to ensure customer engagement is relevant, consistent and exceeds expectations.