Omnichannel experience — beyond bridging telecom’s islands

Providing Omnichannel experience is on every telecom operator’s agenda. However, little progress has been made over the past few years.

So what is Omnichannel experience? Why is it so important? And why are operators so gung-ho on achieving it as quickly as possible?

“Omnichannel experience is the ability of customers to have a conversation with their service provider without breaking the context across devices or channels.”

This has obvious positive impact on customers;

· They are not frustrated by the lack of context in their repeated multiple attempts across multiple channels to achieve complex tasks

· They are more likely to continue any discussion longer than currently possible leading to mutually beneficial exchanges, which may mean more business for the operators.

· But mostly, the perception that the operator is listening, and that it knows who the customer is, hits home from retention and customer lifetime value point of view.

In short, achieving omni channel experience is a major win-win for operators who have seen their brand value erode in post growth telco markets.

A recent survey on customer trust in European markets reveals operators went down significantly while internet companies gained a little bit. The gap however is still large in the favor of local telecom operators as they continue to be more trustworthy than Apple, Facebook or Google.

European Customer Trust via Analysis Mason

A major source of this drop has been lack of consistency and top of mind in digital conversations happening between customers and their operators especially when compared with their internet counterparts.

Now that Telecom operators see value in Omni channel experience, the question arises as to why it has taken them so long to realize this?

To begin with, Telecoms have always wanted to achieve Omnichannel capabilities. The efforts have largely been marred by delays and complexities brought on to them by technology that made up BSS/OSS layers.

For the past 10 years, Internet technologies especially in the social and ecommerce evolution, have proven to telecoms that alternative technologies exist to achieve a number of outcomes that are still fairly complex and hard to achieve in the telecom tech stack.

These are: customer information management, ordering, privacy, support via textual conversation, multiparty listening, notification and campaign based engagement

And it turns out that these domains are largely well funded in telcos with at least 10X the amount of investment and operational costs incurred compared with agile Internet companies.

But costs aside, the benefit of ‘always on’ relationships with the customers is the real Omnichannel experience which goes beyond integrating everything available in the old telecom backend and hoping to achieve similar results.

We know why telecoms are in a hurry to go Omni, and we know why they have been so late despite technological choices being available. Next, lets see what it takes beyond technology to achieve the ultimate goal of having always-on customers

A very potent phenomenon largely ignored by the telecom industry has been gaining traction as a great way for enterprises to roll out complex, well integrated internet of the future; Cross platform integrated cloud services. Today, a host of independent platforms talk to each other in the cloud and in real time bringing information to us in the right context.

I am not talking about Google. I am talking about a form embedded in a website that can capture information, transform it based on rules, trigger a CRM to get in touch with someone based on the inputs and then alert and schedule events in an app. And many other complex interdependent but now possible cross platform outcomes.

And going by current standards, this is pretty basic stuff. And this basic stuff is about to become pervasive and reset our expectation with technology and how it is used to engage with us. Always up to date and to the point.

So why are the telecoms not using such technologies to improve their Omni channel efforts? Well the explanation is simple:

1. Cloud technologies need to be embraced by telecoms and this requires a new look at the edge of the telecom networks for acceptance and integration. New effort, new trend takes longer.

2. Telecoms still believe that integrating and upgrading their existing backend stack is the key to Omni channel capability and this is where all of their focus seems to be right now

Imagine, how risky it is for operators to get it wrong this time around as the pace of OTT and Cloud picks up in the next few years.

At Servup we are staunch promoters of the minimum effort integration for enabling omni channel experience. we believe the time to go for omni channel experience is now. Before you wait for the old BSS to go away.

We believe Telecoms need to create a cloud based layer at the customer edge and integrate independently with it on needs basis to achieve a world class engagement capability.

Most selfcare efforts around the world have failed to achieve the requisite engagement to induce customers to stay or buy from telecoms. There is now a need to create smart platforms in the cloud that can boast of new technologies like GraphDB and machine learning to engage customers positively and improve responsiveness through automation.

The technologies are available but the approach needs to go beyond in-house establishments to best of breed engagement solutions that help improve the quality of data in CRMs and the behemoth Datawarehouses operators boast of.

At Servup we enable engagement through network effect, service brokerage, self care and notifications. A system of engagement that allows operators to get massive returns from brand value enhancements to customer care and new revenues streams. We provide ordering that helps IoT efforts materialize with simplicity and convenience for customers. All of this requires far fewer integration hooks and costs. Let us show you how here.

I welcome your comments on this conversation. Next, we will discuss the roadmaps that operators can develop to achieve Omnichannel experience right now.