An end-to-end approach to CEM

Customer experience management (CEM) is a complex correlation of metrics including operational measures, QoS measurements and the emotional dimensions of customer expectations. These nuances are not easily captured in operational statistics or measurements. CEM takes into account all the facets of the interaction between the service provider and the customer, across every customer touch point - sales, customer care, billing, collections, provisioning and assurance.

CEM consists of two major components, one customer-facing and the other network-facing. Customer-centric service assurance ensures that each customer receives the expected QoS and measures how business processes need to be adapted to support customer-centric operations. Network-facing parameters, meanwhile, catalyze online assurance capability by measuring and providing preemptive assurance capability for subscribers through the entire life cycle of their provisioned services. 

Enhanced experience = increased ARPU

In a Yankee Group global survey of more than 100 service providers' C-level executives, 95% agreed that improving the quality of the customer experience increases ARPU.

But while most service providers are focused on enhancing customer experience, we believe the only way CSPs can provide a holistic customer experience is to also concentrate on network and software solutions upgrades.  Unifying and automating a complete end-to-end CEM process would help service providers deliver a differentiated customer experience.

CSP strategies need to reflect customer demands and take into consideration customer impact. Key performance metrics must reflect customer satisfaction metrics, which need to align with process excellence. Measures such as activation time, call-center response time and trouble resolution time, therefore, become critical to a complete customer experience management capability.

CSPs today struggle from complex back-office integration issues, which can be tied directly to a lack of a unified service model. Siloed infrastructure and back-office systems can prevent CSPs from efficiently managing services and assurance, and make it difficult to migrate to more efficient infrastructure.

CEM can bypass these hurdles by presenting a single and central view of subscribers, their provisioned services and their interactions with network resources. Tier 1 carriers are placing more emphasis on establishing such a unified view. It therefore becomes critical for them to consider customer interaction from the moment a new service order is initiated, provisioned and activated. At the operational level, the solution should pinpoint where a particular service has incorrect data based on any inconsistency found in underlying systems, allowing operators to choose a better course of action by resolving bottlenecks and thus not disappointing the customer.

A unified service model enables service correlation across subscriber services, service resources and supporting network configuration according to carrier needs. In case of problems, efficient and automated service modeling helps to identify, isolate and resolve them faster. Service assurance and service management will be critical components for the success of next-generation architecture.

Ari Banerjee is VP of next-generation software systems at Yankee Goup

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