Customer service doesn’t have to be the sacrificial lamb for enterprise customers looking to virtualise
Network virtualisation is imminent. Operators are poised to migrate their legacy systems and begin deploying virtual networks and services – and some in fact are already making the move.
During this transition, says Anand Gonuguntla, co-founder and CEO, Centina Systems, some functional requirements are at the forefront of operator requirements, while others are being marked as “phase 2,” “phase 3,” and beyond. The one area where operators cannot waver, however, is customer experience and providing enterprise customers with next-generation services, but when transitioning all of the operational and business systems required to make a virtualised network function successfully, how do operators ensure that customer experience advances and improves?
By monitoring the customer experience; tracking it; analysing it and providing actionable data metrics that allow providers to understand the performance of services and can dynamically improve customer experience as needed.
Service providers need to adopt analytics solutions that closely monitor, track, and analyse customer experience as well as have the ability to dynamically adapt to changing conditions. Without an effective strategic service assurance solution of this kind, customer service will be sacrificed.
The analytics provided by a next-generation strategic assurance solution allow companies to operationalise SDN/NFV investments by providing back-end performance monitoring and automation capabilities that successfully deal with the complex nature of cloud infrastructure in new and innovative ways.
For example, providers can use real-time, location-specific reports of signal strength and performance to not only roll out quick, effective fixes, but also to shape advertising and B2B partnerships based on known areas of need.
One of the benefits of a strategic service assurance solution that is key to improving customer experience in a virtual world is big data processing and analytics. While the benefits of collecting big data are understood, analysing such large quantities of information and relating it to customer experience and network performance is a daunting task.
Introducing machine learning to automate the normalising, categorising, and analysis of that data not only boils down those mountains of data into neat and easily understood packages, it also provides operators with an opportunity to begin introducing burgeoning new applications and services into their networks.
Consequently, service providers will be presented with the opportunity (and need) to redefine their SLAs and leverage these as service differentiators. The ability to translate the information contained in big data into actionable opportunities will allow for micro-level fixes and significantly more detailed predictions of the services being provided.
As a result, enterprise customers will be able to work with providers to tailor their agreements to their exact needs, and those providers will be able to offer additional services and features to increase revenue and efficiency and improve customer retention.
Coupling these improvements with an automated, closed-loop feedback function provided by the service assurance solution will eliminate many problems before they impact the customer, thus improving satisfaction. With integration between the service assurance solution and the orchestration system, resources and services can be automatically re-routed or augmented before a customer experiences downtime or performance degradation.
Furthermore, with fewer customer problems to address, customer service will be able to evolve into a more proactive versus reactive function, and will require significantly less dedicated resources.
This domino effect will ultimately transform the relationship of service providers and enterprise customers into one that is viewed as a partnership. Enterprise customers will no longer be impacted by the time it takes to resolve service disruptions or performance issues.
With a service assurance solution purpose-built to support virtual services, service providers will be able to provide better customer experience and more flexible SLAs that will improve the stickiness of their services and an increase in their margins.
The author of this blog is Anand Gonuguntla, co-founder and CEO, Centina Systems
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