Today telecom networks give alarms if there is a network failure, even if the failure is so small that it has no or only a minor effect on the users. However, if all of a sudden during 1 hour, for a certain consumer segment in a certain province, customer satisfaction is degraded by 20 percent, how quickly is this information provided?

As a consequence of the degradation in customer satisfaction, the churn might increase by 20 percent the next three days. How quickly do you act and investigate why? How quickly do you rectify the problem?

It is all about customer experience

I strongly believe that in the digital transformation that the whole society is undergoing, real-time business impact information and analysis will be a matter of live or die, as I discussed in the BizOps blog.

So, how are things handled today?

Many service providers that I meet discuss their Net Promotor Score (NPS). I get questions such as how to increase NPS, how NPS is related to ARPU, and how to effectively measure NPS. The problem, as I see it, is that most organizations either measure NPS too seldom or the sample is too small and/or not representative. From the Safemetrix 2017 US NPS survey, we also see the result of measuring too seldom and not being able to take actions in real time; the telecom industry is trailing the other industries.

Ericsson future digital gearup session drive customer experience in real time 1

The need here is to be able to compute the customer experience and to be able to act instantly on data that is accurate and not 2–3 weeks old. We have an algorithm called Service Level Index (SLI for short) that predicts what users would answer if asked directly to state their satisfaction at any point in time.

SLI provides measurements continuously:

  • For every single user.
  • For every service.
  • All the time, 24/7.

Thus, SLI gives you the possibility to drive customer experience in real time.

I have seen this in operation for a network of some 70 million subscribers. Imagine the amount of data! But since you have an expert analytics system doing all the analysis, you just need to face the results. However, that might not be the issue.

All this data at our fingertips, but how do we use it?

This summer, I discussed with a CEO advisor of a major service provider how to excel in the whole business operations dimension. Today, he gets NPS results once every quarter (and weekly from Customer Care) and overall ARPU (not per segment, only per region) weekly. After the SLI discussion he stated, "we now have all this data at our fingertips, but we actually don’t know what to do with it." At the same time, this service provider had no growth, and the strategy going forward was to decrease opex and capex. (Sound familiar?)

Looking at studies from American Express and SuperOffice, we can see that customer experience not only can but actually does drive revenues.

Ericsson future digital gearup session drive customer experience in real time 2

I have seen numerous examples lately on how Engineering, Marketing, Network Planning, Finance, and Customer Care can excel in their ways of working when they:

  • Have access to real-time SLI information per segment, per province, and per service.
  • Have analysis of the root causes of a change in the SLI.
  • Manage to work cross-functional lines and co-operate, not counter-operate.

If you also create small, cross-functional teams that have clear short-term objectives, such as increase customer experience by 3 percent for segment x in province y, you get the dynamics and the creativity that are needed in order to drive your business. The relationship between SLI, ARPU, and churn, which was discussed in relation to dynamic targeted offerings in the Break the Curve blog, make this a clear business impactor.

I truly finds this fascinating and, to be frank, I am also very surprised that the whole telecom industry is not just doing this. Start implementing automated measurements, deploy processes that make use of this data and analysis in near real time, and get back to growth. If you start driving customer experience in real time now, you will be much better positioned to become a winner. Those who go for the “wait and see” strategy will continue to have declining revenues.

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Lars Sandström

Lars Sandström

Lars Sandström has been working in various positions in Sales, Marketing, Business Development and Business Management during his 34 years at Ericsson. Lars has also spent a lot of his time abroad, primarily in Asia and worked together with several Service Providers’ C-level teams in 2-3 months projects to drive their top line. Today, Lars holds a position in Ericsson’s Marketing Organization, primarily focusing on developing the business for Ericsson’s customers.

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