As fixed and mobile finally converge for real, CEM solutions must clear a new bar
Fixed-mobile convergence has been lauded for a long time without much action. After debuting to much fanfare more than a decade ago, the industry just sort of stopped talking about it. After a number of steps in the right direction over the past several years, says Neil Lilley, head of Marketing for CEM & Analytics at Ericsson, fixed and mobile services are finally converging. This is making digital life easier than ever for subscribers. But what about the operators that have to now live up to high customer experience expectations in this converged world? In Ericsson’s conversations with customers on the subject, “easier” is not a word that comes up a whole lot. Welcome to the age of supporting quality of experience for the true multi-play customer.
More multi-play on the way
Major service providers, such as Deutsche Telekom, are transforming to offer bundles of fixed-line and mobile services. But these services are not just bundled from a billing perspective – they are delivering the ability to seamlessly switch between mobile and fixed infrastructures.
Multi-play services that are delivered across TV, Internet, home phone, mobile phone, tablets and more, are typically defined by having at least one fixed and one wireless service. Such a service might let a customer seamlessly take a call or movie in progress on a fixed device with them out of the house via a mobile device.
When it comes to supporting the quality of these services, new challenges arise. Existing Customer Experience Management (CEM) and Service Quality Management (SQM) solutions, however, focus on either fixed or wireless services, but don’t see service usage or account transactions that span both networks. Of course, customer expectations don’t change as their service moves from device to device or network to network.
To provide the best customer experience and service quality, service providers need an integrated approach to managing customer experience for the integrated omni-channel and multi-play services they offer.
Raising the bar: Integrated service quality management
The causes of bad service performance quality — and knowing what to monitor, how to diagnose problems, determine root cause, and fix problems — are different in mobile and fixed domains.
Fixed networks are difficult to monitor, manage and fix because there are many potential points of network failure and transition points between networks, as well as a variety of device interfaces.
On the other hand, with mobile there can be issues with congestion, configuration, handovers, fallbacks and more.
The industry has worked hard in this area, and there are good service quality management (SQM) systems available. However, the bar is raised for converged, multi-play services. Mobile and fixed quality management capabilities need to be integrated onto a single platform, and insightful rules that understand the dynamics of multi-play service events must be defined and implemented.
Managing the customer journey
Customers increasingly expect a consistent experience across all of their accounts and relationships, no matter where they are or what device or channel they are using. This means omni-channel customer experience management must incorporate fixed network, not just mobile channels. We need to manage the customer’s entire journey.
Customers expect a cohesive experience over time when they start researching a product at a mall kiosk, then call in with questions from their mobile phone, and then place their order from their desktop computer when they get home. They need to be able to disengage from one channel and reengage at another and still see all their saved searches and selections.
To provide the same quality of experience across the customer journey requires integrated CEM with seamless interoperability that can follow every transaction no matter what network they are on.
Introducing converged SQM for multi-play services
Ericsson’s deep expertise in SQM – which spans the most complex fixed networks and services, as well as the mobile domain – is now available as part of the industry-proven Ericsson Expert Analytics offering. As a result, operators can now manage multi-play experience from a single advanced CEM platform.
Instead of determining that the average customer in central London is having a problem with streaming video on cellphones, Ericsson Expert Analytics provides actionable insights in real time to understand how network issues impact an individual customer’s perception of their service experience. Our end-to-end, big data analytics CEM solution helps operators predict individual customer satisfaction, detect experience issues, understand root causes, and automatically take the next best action to improve experience and operational efficiency.
For instance, an operator can determine that a specific customer is experiencing slow video that has frozen five times in the last three minutes, understand why, determine a next best action, and automatically adjust the customer’s QoS parameters in the policy server to improve the customer’s experience.
With the extension of Ericsson’s Expert Analytics CEM solution to multi-play networks, the customer experience journey can be managed end-to-end, across all channels and regardless of the service or network being utilised at the moment — all from a single platform.
Yes, fixed-mobile convergence is finally here this time. And so is the right approach to managing it.
The author of this blog is Neil Lilley, head of Marketing for CEM & Analytics at Ericsson
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