How cloud is shaping the future of the telecom customer experience
President and CEO, Optiva Inc.
Head of Cloud IT Telecom Solutions, Google Cloud
Editor’s note: Coming out of Mobile World Congress 2022, we are excited to share key learnings from our partner ecosystem on how to leverage advancements in 5G technologies to power customer experiences that seamlessly blend our physical and virtual world into one. The original version of this blog was published by Optiva, Inc. Please enjoy this updated entry from our partner.
Telecom operators and communications service providers (CSPs) are elevating customer experiences (CX) across the customer lifecycle. Today's digital customers' expectations, needs, usage behaviors and choices are growing and evolving exponentially. Therefore, it is critical to deliver superior and personalized digital customer experiences at each customer lifecycle touchpoint.
To succeed, you need to deliver a dynamic customer experience. Operators are embracing the mantra — next-level CX is the new currency — from onboarding and instant offer provisioning to delivering enhanced self service and supporting subscription renewals, queries and billing actions, and in-session improved experiences. There are commercial benefits to adapting to this paradigm, too, as key customer segments may see added value in enhanced experiences. With 5G, the Ericsson “5G consumer potential” report found that half of early adopters would be willing to pay 32% more for 5G services. Consider the advanced experiences that 5G is able to support, such as:
Low-latency connectivity and real-time network slicing capabilities, delivering an immersive yet reliable augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) experience. Imagine a soccer match with a rich 360-degree stadium experience from the customer's choice of location that immerses a fan in the game excitement.
AI-driven insights enabling operators to predict customer behavior patterns in real time and leveraging available network capacity to provide customers with personalized, just-in-time discounts and offers that can increase ARPU, enhance the customer experience and reduce churn.
Proactive action, such as instantly optimizing 5G connectivity network slice bandwidth when the quality of service does not meet its promised level. This could include delivering assured, lag-free network performance to an online gamer for next-level gaming intensity or it could be about providing proactive, transparent reimbursements to end customers on the fly, preventing dissatisfaction complaints. Further, 5G with dedicated network slices also enables business applications that exceed an end-to-end SLA essential to a business-to-business (B2B) subscriber.
Enabling immersive experiences across all services and touchpoints by redefining how consumers interact with offerings from anywhere, whether that’s a smartphone or tablet. What’s more, it’s about feeding intelligence gleaned from those customer interactions into a single view across all ecosystems in real time to gain a full picture of the customer.
How cloud shapes the future of telecom customer experience
Through cloud technology and cloud-native architectures, telecom operators and service providers have the opportunity to deliver such 5G use cases and differentiated offerings. Cloud maximizes the benefits and enables delivery, thereby dramatically improving and reimagining the possibilities for CX. This includes how customers connect, consume and buy services, and it strengthens customer affinity and loyalty.
Cloud and the technologies it maximizes, such as 5G, also present a wide range of innovative monetization opportunities beyond traditional telecom revenue streams and beyond connectivity. Thus, the highest priority for telecom must be on effectively and efficiently harnessing the potential capabilities for launching personalized service offerings for consumer and enterprise at a high velocity. As a result, the new customer engagement model requires agility, responsiveness and reliability to deliver these services across all touchpoints of the customer's journey.
As such, Optiva and Google Cloud are engaging in a multi-year partnership to help CSPs enable faster time to innovation, flexible 5G monetization and operational cost savings, while driving strong customer experience. Leveraging the Google Cloud platform enabled by Anthos, which supports the deployment and operation of business support system (BSS) applications across public clouds, on-premises data centers and at the network edge, Optiva’s distributed solution deployment offers telecom operators new ways to monetize 5G networks through use cases such as private 5G, IoT and ultra-low latency edge solutions.
Gaining a competitive edge on the new playing field
The solution to these new BSS and monetization requirements lies in the cloud's unique advantages. For example, to achieve agility, an essential cloud tool, the sandbox, allows operators to accelerate iterations to find optimal solutions. The sandbox shortens product cycles to a fraction of traditional timelines and empowers operators to reinvent their functionalities and service capabilities — lowering business risk and driving dramatic cost savings.
As a result, operators can increasingly explore, experiment, learn, launch and relaunch rapidly. This allows for the fast introduction of new and differentiated offerings, increased service velocity and cost-effective go-to-market opportunities. For that reason, a new competitive playing field is emerging and making the days of traditional and full digital transformations a thing of the past.
Instead, by leveraging cloud technologies, customer lifecycle opportunities and possibilities are born, such as:
End-to-end digital onboarding experiences: Hassle-free digital customer onboarding in little time by leveraging next-gen BSS with embedded automation across the different modules. This digitizes the customer registration and ordering process, including customer verification, SIM allocation, and the selection and activation of a user’s choice of plans and more.
Real-time offer optimization based on customer insights: On-the-fly optimization of offers based on AI-driven real-time insights to predict usage behavior.
Handling ultra-low latency service quality with distributed systems: Delivering and charging for ultra-fast services from the edge rather than sending and processing them at a central cloud. This enables new business opportunities by leveraging new private 5G offerings.
Assured service quality and complaint reduction through automated real-time network configuration: By consistently monitoring the network quality and application and taking corrective actions to match the SLA requirements, we can boost the user experience (e.g., if a user subscribes to an 8K video plan). Thus, if the bandwidth level drops below the agreed-upon resolution level, the service can push an update to the user and potentially offer them a complimentary added data bundle leveraging analytics, churn prediction models and insights.
Maintaining a real-time single source of truth for customer data: Having a single, distributed repository of real-time updated customer data allows CSPs to deliver customer services more smoothly across all touchpoints.
Expanding product catalog with a partner ecosystem: Leveraging open APIs to build and expand partner ecosystems to launch new products and services that enable CSPs to expand the services they provide customers and help increase their market relevance.
Cloud momentum accelerates, enabling revolutionized BSS and revenue models
Service providers are forging their paths and investing in and adopting cloud technologies. Cloud empowers operators beyond connectivity and volume offerings on data, text and voice. The technology offers more and unlocks the operator's ability to meet specific user segment experience requirements in real time and differentiate offerings based on latency, capacity, throughput, speed and device type.
As a result, operators can shift to new product-driven monetization capabilities, allowing them to configure their BSS without heavy customizations or necessitating the expertise of their IT teams. Instead, they can now empower, for example, marketing teams — with minimal steps and product-specific expertise needed — to optimize rate plans in real time based on usage and experience analytics, roll out promotions and satisfy customer demand for a delightful experience.
The new currency across the customer lifecycle — next-level telecom BSS and CX
Operators need the capability to learn fast, fail fast, launch, and relaunch in quick cycles. This capability is growing more critical as Capex and Opex become challenged and protecting ARPU and increasing subscribers becomes harder in a cloud economy. Telecom operators are picking up speed for cloudification and reimagining the potential of their BSS systems. And with 5G, innovation driven by cloud-native capabilities and automation via machine learning, operators have a genuine opportunity to revolutionize customer engagement and deliver a next-level hyper-personalized CX — the new currency of 5G cloud.