This article first appeared in the Winter issue of The Record.
The telephony, internet access, television and mobile services provided by telco and cable companies today are generally considered to be commodities. These are services that, with revenues being almost flat in developed countries, have reached the peak of their revenue growth in developed countries. Even globally, the CAGR of telco and cable revenues is a modest 2%. With this in mind, telco and cable companies today can only compete on one thing: customer engagement, encompassing all touchpoints with the consumer from marketing to sales and customer service.
However, while the race is on for service providers to provide the best possible customer experience, the vast majority of players are held back by disparate systems that do not talk to each other.
These silos are a significant inhibitor to improving the customer experience. While customers expect their telco or cable provider to treat them as a valued customer, in practice it may happen that after they rang customer service about an issue with their fixed line, just a few hours later they might get a phone call from the telesales department trying to upsell them to a high-speed broadband connection. This causes frustration and a general feeling from customers that they aren’t understood.
A 360-degree view of the customer is therefore essential, linking different business functions as well as different channels.
At Microsoft, we are helping telco and cable companies such as nTelos in the US, Moov Côte d’Ivoire in Africa and TekSavvy Solutions in Canada, to achieve this through the use of Dynamics 365 – a unified platform that brings together retail, marketing, customer service, field service and social engagement. This provides everyone across the company with the same view of the customer, eliminating disconnects and dramatically improving insight.
We are well aware that a ‘rip and replace’ approach won’t work here – we don’t expect our customers to change their wings while flying! Instead, the Dynamics platform can connect to existing systems, providing the unifying layer that is required in a cost-efficient, non-disruptive way.
By putting their customers at the centre of their business processes, these companies will be far better equipped for the future – a future where, according to a new report by Walker, the customer experience will be increasingly important, and by 2020, even more important than product or price.
Rainer Kellerhals is director of business development in Microsoft’s Worldwide Communications and Media Industry Organisation
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