Loyal customers may be a carrier’s most valuable asset, and network equipment vendors are acknowledging this with an increased focus on customer experience management (CEM) software. “When you call [your service provider] there is nothing more frustrating than having to explain everything to an agent,” says Alcatel-Lucent’s Greg Owens, the company’s senior marketing director for customer experience solutions. Owens wants to empower carriers’ customer service reps to know what a caller is experiencing before the conversation even gets started.
Software that gives operators more visibility into their networks not only improves customer experiences; it can also inform spending decisions when analyzed properly. Analytics enable service providers to “turn insights into action,” says Alcatel-Lucent’s solutions marketing manager Ajay Pande. “You are really talking about the business transformation.”
Service providers are “making this transition from managing networks to managing services,” says Ericsson vice president for strategic development Ray Bariso. Bariso is a veteran of Telcordia, a leading provider of IT services for carriers that Ericsson acquired at the beginning of this year. He says that now Ericsson has set its sights on helping carriers use CEM to rethink their business models.
“The retail industry has taken customers experience management to a whole other level,” says Bariso. “Apple and Amazon are examples. They know what their history is, everything their customers do next is a monetization opportunity to sell them something else. The carriers need to go the same way.” Bariso says that Ericsson wants to give operators a “360 view” of each customer: where they are geographically, what apps they spend time with, and what time of day their usage is heaviest. “We can monitor all these and provide insight … for a company that has operations in many countries,” says Bariso, citing an example of a carrier that wants to look at how its voice-over-IP service is performing for customers in a certain country, customers with a certain device, or customers within a specific enterprise.
Carriers have always had access to large amounts of data generated by their networks, but CEM software is driving a shift in priorities and a sharper focus. “We present the data [to the service provider] not from a network point of view but from a service point of view,” says Bariso. “We were getting feedback from CEM reps and THEY notify the network operations center when a network is down,” adds Alcatel-Lucent’s Owens. Owens adds that Alcatel-Lucent’s goal is to implement its policy control tools to automate corrective action in those situations. “When certain things happen certain action is taken automatically,” he says.
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