The one hour challenge: operators urged to knock some network intelligence into their care teams

Customers are yearning for quicker, more informed, customer service from their operators, research suggests. Operators must exploit network intelligence right now if they want to hit their customer care deadline.

The vision of enriching customer care interactions with network data is not a new one.

The vision is this. If you give your first and second line customer care staff access to network data in a way they can understand and also then communicate with customers, a number of good things happen.

First, you increase your first call resolution rate, because the operative not only knows that the customer has a problem but what the cause of the problem is and what is being done about it (if it is a network problem), or what the customer can do to fix it (if it is a device/app issue).

This in turn means you reduce the number of “call backs” to customers that you require. You also reduce the amount of calls that are escalated to third line support. Finally, and simultaneously, by putting your NOC and Care teams on the same system, information could flow back the other way. BSS and customer-centric type information could be accessed by the network operations types to optimise and build networks based on actual customer needs. And if you plug in geo-location and data analytics then you can build a network that is profit-centric, not just customer-centric.

In time, you actually bring together your network operations and your customer facing teams together, to create a Service Operations Centre. This is the fruit of CEM – the breaking down of your operating silos.

That’s a journey that seems a long way off for some – even impractical. Yet it’s one that operators can begin simply by introducing tools that allow customer care teams to access data derived by network intelligence tools.

So is there a need for these tools in the first place? Astellia says yes, and has produced some commissioned research to back that up. It says that its surveys of 2,000 consumers and 40+ operators shows that customers crave more, better informed contact from operators – particularly when it comes to network issues.

For example:

  • Two thirds of consumers expect a network related issue to be solved in an hour. Operators think they have a full day to sort it.
  • Half of customers are dissatisfied with their customer care.
  • 85% of customers want direct engagement to solve problems.
  • A third of customers think that operators don’t know enough about network issues when they ring in with a problem.
  • Half of operators think their customer care teams don’t have the tools they need to understand network issues.
  • Yet a third of all calls are related to network issues.
  • This means that 50% of network-related calls require a call back (according to operators)

The answer here is clearly to get more information in the hands of the customer facing teams, and that is what Astellia can offer (amongst many others, of course) – analysing data derived from its network probes and monitoring platforms and converting that into something customer care teams can use. It claims that this can achieve solid and immediate results without requiring the wholesale organisational and cultural change that the full CEM-aligned vision entails..

One operator to have done this is Zain, which has seen some startling results using Astellia’s tools, with a 70% reduction in Layer 2 Average Handling Time and a 21% reduction in L1 AHT. (See more here.)

One aspect that AStellia’s survey raises, and perhaps doesn’t fully address, is the requirement for direct operator engagement allied to operators’ desire to reduce outbound calls. With that in mind, an allied approach could be to automate the discovery of, and response to, customers suffering from network related problems. For example, SpatialBuzz is one company that provides a platform both for customers to report problems, and for operators to discover those reports and respond to them, and keep providing updates on a network issue. This provides another way of reducing inbound and outbound calls, but also keeps users engaged with and communicating with the operator.

Four more Resources on Network Intelligence and CEM:
The Mobile Network will be publishing an in-depth feature looking at the use of network analytics in customer care in its upcoming issue, published 1 June. To be the first to receive that issue then sign up here.

eBook: CEM Market Update: Charting the journey of network data within the mobile operator.

Infographic of Astellia’s top ten findings.

Astellia’s white paper on Customer Care expectations.