How data is going to revolutionise the telecoms industry
Until recently, a few major players have dominated the telecoms industry. Yet, their refusal to modernise has left them struggling with the new influx of data made available through ever increasing usage of mobile and social networks which has opened the door for disruptor firms to take to the stage. Our hyper-connected society has created a demand for the best service experience as a prerequisite, rather than a luxury, writes Chris Proctor, the chief executive of Oneserve.
Telecoms firms need to capture and action the data available to them and ensure that they can understand their customer and in turn, provide the best customer service or they risk losing customers.
Big data has been the subject of conversation across multiple industries, yet so few businesses have the knowledge to take advantage of it in order to better understand their customers. Communications service providers (CSPs) collect and store huge data sets that could provide insight into a consumer’s demographic, location and activity. Collected over time, this information can be analysed to create a pattern for businesses to gain a holistic picture of their customer picture over time. From this, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can combine historic and current data to predict customer behaviour, such as when they might run out of data in their plan and allow the company to provide a personalised plan before the customer knows they want it.
Personalisation has never been more important for the modern customer, and for an industry that is becoming increasingly competitive, there isn’t an excuse for CSPs to provide impersonal service. A bespoke service establishes a strong relationship between customer and company that has been so blatantly missing in recent years.
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Customers are not only demanding a personalised, bespoke service but also one that’s instantaneous. Technology can do what humans do, but in seconds rather than days. Typically, one would send an email of complaint, or call a helpline costing the customer a small fortune. With the new availability of data and technologies, companies can now be there for their customers 24 hours, seven days a week.
Chat bots can help customers solve their issues without them talking to a single human. Indeed, CSPs need to invest in the resource to ensure that they are not compromising on quality when installing robotic chat bots. AI and machine learning algorithms can learn from the data provided to it to understand and then predict what a customer is going to say. These bots can be powered purely through machine learning, taking the data, understanding customer key words and responses to ensure a comprehensive conversation that solves their issue. Alternatively, companies can use chat bots that are powered by an expert, where the AI will understand what reaction to say and when but will not learn the answer innately itself.
In a society that relies on the telecom industry to operate, it’s a surprise that so many hours are lost through preventable system downtime. Preventable system downtime can have ripple effects throughout the public domain causing huge upset among customers. With the rise of social media, the knowledge of a system failure can spread like wildfire and spell huge negative implications for a CSP’s reputation.
One of the most appropriate uses of the data made available to telecom companies is to predict and prevent when their system is going to fail. This can be achieved by bringing together Internet of Things (IoT), big data and AI to track activity of the machines across their systems – just as they do the customer. Dumb sensors are applied to track machine activity and the data is then sent to a central hub. These historic data sets are then analysed by AI and machine learning algorithms to detect unusual behaviour. When usual behaviour is flagged, the company can put measures in place to repair the machine and prevent any further damage.
The availability of data isn’t new, but the understanding of how to make use of this data is certainly revolutionary to certain industries, especially telecoms. Data can provide CSPs with a holistic understanding of their customer to create a personalised, loyal customer base that is based on efficiency, trust and a reliable service. All those companies that avoid jumping on board, no matter how established, risk losing it all.