Choreographing a next-generation customer journey

Competition among communications services providers is at an all-time high, while consumer expectations have evolved well beyond what the traditional business and CRM platforms of yesteryear can provide. Consumers now expect frictionless, end-to-end personalized experiences that center on the customer’s needs, not the business processes.

Telecom operators know they must transform their customer service experiences to avoid losing customers to competitors. That’s easier said than done: updating and replacing legacy BSS/OSS and CRM systems are risky endeavors that often take years to complete. In today’s fast-paced, digital-driven world, operators risk losing customers if they can’t keep ahead of the technological curve, or their competitors.

By delivering superior customer journeys, service providers can boost customer acquisition, increase retention and build loyalty. The best way to improve customer experiences is by starting at the customer end: refocus on the customer journey, rather than on the legacy systems and the behind-the-scenes business processes that drive those experiences.

Rethinking the customer experience

Excellence in customer experience has become a competitive imperative for communications service providers. What’s more, operators need to be able to respond quickly to changes – not just in the market itself, but also to shifts in how consumers interact with the products and services offered. The fast-paced digital world requires an agile, flexible platform that can respond to developments as they emerge.

Imagine a scenario in which a potential customer receives an email about a generic offer. When the customer clicks on the offer, he or she is taken to the operator’s Website, where an entirely different offer may be advertised. After spending a few minutes on the Website, comparing packages and the minute details between them, a frustrated customer may now opt to just visit a retail store or call a service line to receive help from a sales representative. The sales representative is naturally unaware of both the initial offer sent to the potential customer, and the frustrating process the customer has just gone through trying to compare different options on the Website. As such, the sales representative may ask potential customer start over from scratch – or may even try to sell a third, completely different service package to the potential customer.

Delivering a personalized, omnichannel customer journey requires a more intelligent approach than what’s described above. Engaging with customers in meaningful experiences requires managing each customer interaction end-to-end, without introducing any redundancies for either the customer or the agents.

Operators typically approach updating legacy BSS/OSS and CRM systems from the backend to the frontend: by building out a business process and then bending the customer journey to fit within that framework. A better approach is to start where the customer starts, and work backwards. Using an agile, intelligent customer engagement platform, operators can begin building out end-to-end customer journeys. By doing so, operators are able to develop the business capabilities, processes and applications needed to support new and improved customer experiences.

Pegasystems’ CEP helps operators choreograph new customer experiences

Pegasystems’ Customer Engagement Platform (CEP) is an agile software layer that wraps around legacy BSS/OSS and CRM systems. The CEP enables service providers to engage customers in new experiences by decoupling the legacy systems from the customer journey; and it enables service providers to choreograph new customer experiences by combining key data and applications from legacy systems with agile and omnichannel marketing, sales and service actions. The platform offers a number of out-of-the-box solutions for industry-specific applications across marketing, sales automation, CPQ, customer Service, field service and fulfillment.

The CEP is able to mimic a one-to-one customer service experience using AI-driven processes that guide both customers and support agents step-by-step, across scenarios ranging from customer acquisition to technical troubleshooting. The platform acts like an “always-on” brain that’s able to pull all the relevant information across channels – whether that be account history from legacy BSS or customer interaction data gathered from mobile apps, Websites or truck rolls – analyze that information and deliver key insights and decisions at the right moments, enabling service providers to deliver a personalized, consumer-centric customer journey from start to finish. And the brain imbues each interaction with a holistic understanding of interactions across the customer’s entire lifecycle, helping operators keep track of what’s been done in the past and what’s been promised for the future.

What does a transformed customer journey look like using Pega’s CEP? Returning to the customer acquisition scenario above, the initial direct mail offering is precisely targeted to a particular potential customer, linking to a micro-site that’s been tailored for that specific customer. If the customer is interested in further personalizing the offer, the CEP is able to ask simple questions to better understand the customer’s needs, and use AI-driven analytics to refine the recommendations. And perhaps most importantly, each of these steps along the customer journey is kept track of, so that if the customer wants to speak to a sales representative, that agent will have all the information about the customer’s engagement with the platform, ensuring that the agent can pick up the conversation exactly where the customer left off.

Using Pega’s flexible and responsive CEP, operators are able to quickly respond to new developments, avoid customer relation pitfalls by analyzing relevant data and adapting accordingly, and use inputs to make decisions in real time and execute those decisions. The customer benefits from the new, personalized and consistent experience, and consequently the operator benefits from a boost to the bottom line.

This article was created in collaboration with the sponsoring company and our sales and marketing team. The editorial team does not contribute.