Telcos must embrace CEM across the board

Customer experience management (CEM) is as much about operators as it is about customers, in terms of understanding what CEM is and how it has to matter to every division in the company.
That was a recurring theme at a roundtable discussion between industry experts tackling the CEM issue at the Mobile World Congress this week.
Any conversation about CEM tends to split into two areas: reactive – for example, customer care -, and proactive - utilizing technologies from network optimization to analytics to provide good service that pre-empts calls to the contact center.
The challenge for operators is understanding that reactive and proactive CEM measures are two sides of the same coin, said David Ffoulkes-Jones, chief executive of customer experience specialists WDS. “They’re part of the same thing but not all operators look at it that way. They see it as two different things,” he said.
A related problem raised in the discussion is the organization structure of telcos and the tendency of different departments to be focused on their own missions, which leads to the attitude that CEM is the responsibility of a specific division or person.
“Customer experience is a process, not a technology or any one individual or group,” Ffoulkes-Jones said. “It’s about how the customer is marketed to, from the time they take the device out of the box to the time when they give it back. You have to manage that end-to-end lifecycle.”
Ffoulkes-Jones added that while different divisions naturally have different concerns, they are all interconnected when it comes to CEM. “Operators have to change their business culture and understand that CEM is everyone’s problem, and they have to connect those dots if they’re going to implement it effectively.”
Northstream chief Bengt Nordstrom agreed, adding it all starts with the CEO. “It won’t work until the CEO realizes that change has to be made. If you empower someone to manage CEM, the effort has to be made from the top.”
That’s not to say the challenge of CEM stops with the operator itself – roaming services introduce additional challenges because operators approach roaming differently, said Mary Clark, senior vice president of roaming at Syniverse.
“In Asia, for example, operators tend to be very strategic about roaming – having it tightly integrated into the service and working to give customers value,” she said. “But globally, it’s a very fragmented approach.”
Clark pointed to a Syniverse study released this week found that over half of roamers don’t use voice services, and up to 70% don’t use data services, which adds up to $1.2 billion (€905 million) the mobile industry won’t be making this year. Syniverse’s proposed solution is using real-time intelligence to better monitor and manage the roamer experience.
She admitted another aspect to the problem has been the historical tendency of operators to see roaming as a pure money generator. “More operators are starting to move away from that and seeing an obligation to be customer-focused - thinking about the experience roaming customers have when they hit the ground and how to ensure that in an integrated way.”