While Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) talk a lot about the importance of voice quality when it comes to buying connectivity from wholesale operators, is that really an aspect that trumps price when it comes to the purchasing decision - especially when the MNO is concerned about margins attributed to the voice component expense for bundled offerings?
A recent survey that Atlantic-ACM’s Charlie Reed presented at the recent IPX Conference in London seemed to support that notion. The survey results were very insightful; one of its findings indicated that the top purchase drivers for wholesale services included network performance followed closely by price competitiveness. Below is the total listing of drivers:
In that same presentation, Charlie interviewed Jonathan Bremner, Head of Global Capacity at Deutsche Telekom. The topic of their conversation was about whether or not customer satisfaction is the most important aspect of the wholesale buying decision. And while they see network security and customer care continuing to grow in importance, and price and performance shifting around in priority among customers, the interesting discussion that ensued was basically a deep dive into the motivating factors behind these trends based on the results of the survey.
In the telecommunications industry, word of mouth among operators on vendor performance carries a lot of weight, and suppliers get noticed based on opinions from trusted colleagues and peers. And as a supplier, you want to make sure you have more fans than detractors. This is what the concept of the net promoter score is all about. In determining a vendor’s net promoter score – whether it’s an equipment vendor or termination provider – it’s all based on whether or not a consumer would recommend a vendor’s services to someone else. So when asked what factors were most correlated to an operator’s likelihood to recommend a wholesale provider’s services to its peers, the two highest categories were customer service and sales reps. When it comes to those two areas, what did the study reveal on the areas where wholesale carriers underperform? Two interesting areas were:
- Sales’ ability to provide consultative, proactive selling, and
- The responsiveness of the wholesale operator’s customer service organization.
So the takeaway is that operators want high performance and low prices from their wholesale providers, but there’s more to it than that. They want the experience in dealing with the wholesale provider’s sales reps and customer care organization to be meaningful and responsive.
This is a tall order especially when you have to deliver razor thin margins and cope with the pressure to reduce OPEX. As a wholesale operator, how can you provide seemingly high-touch service at commodity pricing? How do you enable your sales and customer care teams with the ability to cost effectively manage the customer in the way to make them fans and not detractors?
This is where technology comes in – it’s all about intelligence: intelligence with context on traffic trends and usage, intelligence on performance, intelligence on quality, and the list goes on. Think about how effective a sales force would be if it could brief their customers on how well they are being provided service, or how the SLAs are being exceeded to show the value the customer is getting. What if they could provide customers with analysis on ways to improve overall quality or save money or be proactive by arming them with information to help them point out where and when customers need to add or adjust coverage. What about customer service? If customer care reps were armed with information, not just data, on customer specific performance or quality issues, it would help accelerate the trouble resolution process and give their customers a better experience along with the confidence that problems were being addressed in a timely manner.
Automating the process of getting the right data to the right person at the right time ultimately requires a switching infrastructure that delivers the various service specific measures and dimensions needed by sales and customer service groups to respond efficiently to their customers, and do it in a way that helps contain costs. Not all switching platforms provide the level of visibility into trunk and VoIP connection level performance metrics such as answer seizure ratio (ASR), call attempts, failed call attempts, max trunks busy, redirects, call duration, SS7 statistics, as well as packet loss, jitter and delay on a per-flow/per-carrier basis. However, with a platform that can provide the right CDR-based intelligence and native reporting capabilities in near real-time, you can make your sales team and customer service reps look like rock stars in front of the customers. What do you think? Is your switching infrastructure helping you with your Big Data needs to make fans out of your customers? Tweet us at @Dialogic.