Sunday, 25 June 2017

Want good customer experience? Do the math

By Mary Lennighan, Total Telecom, in Barcelona
Wednesday 27 February 13

Providing a good customer experience is not all about technological advances and it does not necessarily involve huge investments from operators, according to Cable & Wireless Communications.

Advancements in big data bring the promise of some serious innovation in the area of customer experience, but the non-technical aspects of customer care are just as important, according to Cable & Wireless Communications. ″We're just in the starting blocks,″ Birger Thorburn, CIO of Cable & Wireless Communications told Total Telecom on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress on Wednesday…

Advancements in big data bring the promise of some serious innovation in the area of customer experience, but the non-technical aspects of customer care are just as important, according to Cable & Wireless Communications.

″We're just in the starting blocks,″ Birger Thorburn, CIO of Cable & Wireless Communications told Total Telecom on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress on Wednesday.

Big data technologies are enabling ″companies like ourselves to keep and analyse data in ways that were not possible before,″ said Thorburn. It's also about listening to the customer and working out what you can do with that, he added. ″That engagement will open up a lot of innovation...It will open up a lot of change.″

There are big opportunities out there for mathematicians and statisticians, and those who take a purely mathematical approach to analysing telco data will often come up with better results than industry specialists, since they do not have preconceived ideas about what they are looking for, Thorburn explained.

But Thorburn firmly believes that providing a good experience for the customer is rooted in the way operators interact with their customers rather than in complex back-office systems.

″A lot of it is non-technical,″ he said. Companies need to discuss customer feedback at the highest level. ″It's not the huge technology project...It's doing the small things and tying them together,″ he advises. ″Think about your customer,″ and engage in dialogue with him across multiple channels.

Like many telecoms providers, Cable & Wireless Communications has embraced social media as a way of communicating with and serving its customers. At the moment Facebook and Twitter are key channels, but that will change over time: the important thing is to interact with customers in ways that work for them.

But the most important thing with channels like Twitter is to pull them together with the more traditional customer care methods, so that the telco and its customer care operatives have a full view of all interactions with any given customer. And naturally that involves some investment in systems behind the scenes.

But you have to ″look holistically at the cost,″ said Thorburn. He pointed out that network analytics tools also drive investment decisions for telcos, enabling them to build out capacity where it is most needed, for example. In addition, cost-effective customer care is not as simple as discouraging customers from calling the contact centre. It could be that you stop answering the phone ″and everyone turns up in your shop!″ he said.

See the customer experience from the customer's point of view, Thorburn urges telecoms operators. ″Being innovative at that level is perhaps not as big an investment as you think.″

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