Never mind the bandwidth, feel the quality

27 January 2015 | David Hill

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David Hill

Blog Author | Spirent; VP EMEA


Mobile customers experience drives churn, but how can the service provider get a handle on something so utterly nebulous?

Mobile customers experience drives churn, but how can the service provider get a handle on something so utterly nebulous?

Churn is proving to be the mobile operator’s greatest nightmare. It has been estimated that each new customer costs six to seven hundred dollars – a hidden capex that takes months or years to win back in operating tariffs. And any attempt to nail the customer to the floor with cast iron contracts becomes yet another reason for them to opt for a rival service.

Acquiring and retaining customers is said to represent 36% of a wireless SP’s costs so, for a typical Tier-1 carrier, any 10% drop in customer churn and network troubleshooting could equate to over $75 million savings in a year.

So how do we manage the customers’ experience? We can begin by getting those operating numbers right: we have long been providing “Fit for Launch” testing of handsets to ensure they will perform under every sort of operating condition. However, those capacity and performance figures give only a partial idea of the actual user experience.

The new approach to customer and experience management (CEM) places the emphasis on experiential factors that were previously almost impossible to evaluate. 

Whereas the best that the operator could do until now was to optimise the network and monitor device performance, now it is increasingly possible to measure and optimise customer experience and service perception. Instead of a massive spend on acquiring customers, there is a more focussed investment in retaining them. 

Today’s CEM solutions use an intelligent rules engine, able to sort vast amounts of such data in near real time and provide suggestions on how to resolve issues and optimise business based on a combination of ongoing data analytics and historical data from other customers. Being able to prioritise issues on the basis of customer impact and the number of customers affected makes it possible to anticipate complaints, avoid them and reduce churn.

In the case of proactive churn management, our system can take inputs from customer demographics and billing history, from things like customer surveys and complaints data and from service performance measures adjusted for their relevance to customer satisfaction – all regularly updated. The outcome can be customised to form a clear graphical image.

Old-school network and device testing will remain the bedrock for establishing and maintaining services, but now we also have the ongoing customer oriented analytics to make those services truly responsive to customer needs and demands. Mobile operators are no longer in the dark.