07 December 2017
| Jason Mcgee-Abe
Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are set become increasingly valuable to subscribers in the New Year through intelligent engagement and automation, says Tweakker report.
Mobile connectivity and online care provider Tweakker has released its annual outlook for the MVNO market covering the year 2018. The firm sees the market continuing to grow and diversify in 2018 with many new players – from device manufacturers to over-the-top (OTT) players - entering the virtual communications space.
In August, Softil Innovative Communications, which claims to be the “world’s leading provider of enabling technologies for IP communications”, launched to roll out carrier grade solutions. The company also bought Spirent’s two device intelligence businesses, Mobilethink and Tweakker.
“In 2018, virtual service providers will look for more intelligent ways to streamline their business operations and become more valuable to subscribers,” said Pierre Hagendorf, Tweakker’s CEO. “It will also see many smaller players joining the global MVNO pack, all needing cost effective, cloud-based customer-interfacing solutions.”
The following is an extract from the MVNO Outlook 2018 report:
Automation – overcoming the manpower conundrum
More MVNOs will begin to reap the benefits of automation. In 2018, automation will play a central role in optimising an MVNO’s daily operations, boosting revenue uptake in the process and helping operators to better serve their customers. Freeing work time for employees by offloading activities to machines is just one of the payoffs of automation and eliminating human error in the care chain will help MVNOs boost revenues. No MVNO team has the manpower to support one-to-one customer relationships. Automation ensures that MVNOs are able to cope with the frenetic pace of onboarding requests each day and enables them to reach out to every customer with personalised, relevant messaging and finally, scaling-up their efforts in boosting service adoption.
Personalisation – less churn
Subscriber personalisation will play a more relevant role in 2018 with MVNOs striving to better engage with customers and maximise the customer experience. The year will see mobile subscribers looking for deeper, more personal relationships and becoming tired of service providers that fail to meet their expectations. Subscribers know what they want and will churn for better targeted offers and customised services. Virtual operators will therefore look to new channels for better communications based on complete subscriber profiles, location updates and milestones within the customer journey.
Digital-only journeys – 76% of the market now ready
It’s a fact - 76% of telecom customers are already ready for digital-only journeys with their providers. In 2018, increasing numbers of MVNOs will begin streamlining customer journeys from the ground up for digital delivery. From signing up for their services, adjusting their subscription, e-payments to interacting with their provider for customer support – end-users will start enjoying an end-to-end digitised journey in 2018.
Customer care goes to the cloud
The year 2018 will see more MVNOs moving customer care out of brick walls into the cloud and adopt online self-care tools for easily available 24/7 support. Gartner predicts that calls to centre agents will drop from 41% in 2017 to 12% over the next five years. Several virtual operators have already integrated self-service platforms into their websites combined with live chat or chat bots. In the fast-moving omni-channel world, having access to support anytime, anywhere helps MVNOs differentiate their businesses turning customer service into a positive key component of their value proposition.
Adopting a cloud-based online support platform raises the efficiency level of MVNOs’ customer care centres. Visual, comprehensive troubleshooting guidelines ready to be shared with end-users will help agents reduce response times by solving calls with just a few clicks. Not having to deal with repetitive enquiries will spare up agents’ time and let them focus on queries that take longer to solve.
E-SIM – who owns the customer?
The introduction of E-SIMs has brought a seismic change to the telecoms industry and has deeply impacted the MVNO landscape. In 2018, more MVNOs will ditch plastic SIMs for virtual ones giving their customers the flexibility to jump from one network to another. The same “have e-sim, might walk” philosophy applies to mobile devices. E-Sim will become a game changer in 2018, making the de-facto loyalty game redundant and raising questions about customer ownership and financial business forecasting.
Artificial Intelligence – time to bot?
In 2018, MVNOs will start to explore the benefits of AI technology and look to integrate it within their everyday operations - from improving online chat interactions with the help of customer service bots to voice services to customers.
Fast-learning bots have come a long way and are more helpful than ever through their machine learning capabilities and use of natural learning language processes (NLP). This helps them better understand language intent, create context and provide useful responses.
With the goal of enhancing the customer experience and increasing the efficiency of operators’ communications channels, bots are ready to automate repetitive tasks, perform predictive analysis, provide self-care and answer end-users’ online enquiries. Deemed by many as internal game changers, bots are expected to scale and be a big cost saver for operators’ businesses, but shouldn’t come at the expense of human interaction.