Using real-time analytics to boost CRM performance

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Guavus notes the importance of analytics to CRM

Customer relationship management has always been a serious subject for mobile operators. As in most markets around the world, the wireless communications space often has more competitors than other communication segments, forcing mobile operators to remain especially attentive to the needs of their customers.

This focus has increased in recent years as the competitive landscape has changed due to growing saturation in many markets, which has eliminated the “low-hanging fruit” excuse of just picking up new subscribers to replace those that might flee. Also, network technologies have evolved with the move toward all-IP-based LTE rollouts that have allowed mobile operators to more finely parse information on the needs and habits of their customers.

More recently, mobile operators have begun to look at deploying a broader range of software solutions to help deal with CRM platforms, and are beginning to look at the benefits network virtualization technologies can provide. In addition, social media has become a new facet of CRM operations, with mobile operators now looking for more personalized interactions with their customers.

Ben Parker, principal technologist at Guavus, provided some insight into how mobile operators are currently handling the evolving CRM space and how they can turn toward real-time data analytics to better support their CRM strategies.

RCR Wireless News: What are some of the current CRM challenges facing mobile operators?
Ben Parker: (Consumer service provider) markets are saturated and customer churn remains high. Add to this that voice profits are stagnating and the cost to operate networks to accommodate the rapid growth in mobile traffic continues to rise. Mobile operators need to determine how to best generate new revenue from the potentially lucrative data boom including delivering personalized services and a seamless customer experience through a multichannel model.

In order to do this however, CSPs need to have a better understanding of their networks. By bringing together multiple disparate silos of data including network data and contextualizing it with back office and CRM data, they will have the operational intelligence to deliver a higher quality of experience and more personalized offerings.

RCRWN: What impact has the move toward IP-based network technology like LTE had on how mobile operators and the vendor community approach CRM?
BP: As the mobile industry continues to move toward all-IP networks like LTE, (mobile network operators) must manage their deployments wisely to achieve the best return on their LTE investments and ultimately to deliver a better customer experience. For example, operators need LTE because it improves spectral efficiency and it enables them to transport the rapidly growing volume of mobile IP data traffic such as (voice over LTE) and mobile video with greater cost-effectiveness and (quality of service) compared to 3G. By optimizing LTE capacity and services for video, MNOs can now evaluate the specific engineering requirements they need to achieve in conjunction with the cost implications and user experience impacts of various technology strategies under consideration.

Operators that are developing VoLTE deployment strategies can identify (radio access network) quality-of-service and other performance factors that can impact VoLTE services; track the service’s adoption among high-(average-revenue-per-user) customers; and make sure the RAN is configured on a per-cell site basis to best serve these customers. In order to do this, however, they need the streaming analytics to be able to have complete end-to-end visibility into the network at a per-subscriber, per-cell level.

RCRWN: How have mobile operators done in evolving with new CRM opportunities?
BP: As competition gets more aggressive and winning new subscribers becomes more expensive, operators are working to be more proactive in reacting to customer-care events. In some cases, operators are deploying analytics tools to both rapidly identify network outages and customer-impacting events, simultaneously scoring the impact of the event to subscribers. This gives the operator a real-time view into not only network events – reducing mean time to repair – but also alerting customer care of customers that may be at risk of churning. The operator can then proactively interact with the customer to mitigate the churn event. Customers want to be made to feel special and believe that they are getting what they pay for. This type of solution gives the operator the ability to quickly and effectively change the care dynamic in a very positive way.

RCRWN: Over the next 12-18 months, what challenges are most likely to impact the CRM space?
BP: As the barriers to churn continue to diminish, and subscribers have more of a say in a company’s brand reputation, it’s critical that CSPs provide the best possible experience. And, that experience must be seamless across multiple channels and provide immediate satisfaction. The key to creating this unified experience is bringing together multiple disparate silos of information in real time. A better customer experience will be driven by the integration of CRM, network and operational data, but this requires a new data fabric, one that brings together data in motion with data at rest and can handle data at massive scale. With streaming analytics as a core piece of the CRM strategy, MNOs can provide proactive customer assistance, implement per-subscriber policies, deliver highly personalized services and create targeted up-sell and cross-sell offers.

For more on the CRM topic please check out our feature report “Customer Relationship Management: Predicting Subscriber Health” and our accompanying webinar on the topic.

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