Telcos Are Sitting on Data Gold Mines: It’s Time They Gild Customer Experience

In this special guest feature, Stephen Smith, Vice President of Strategic Industries at ClickSoftware, discusses how the amount of data telcos collect is quickly moving from exabyte volumes to zettabyte volumes. In an industry armed with mountains of historical data, the lift for telcos is lighter than others. A key differentiator will be how effectively companies use this data. The most successful providers will enlist the service of field service solutions to make sense of big data and use it to optimize the actions of service professionals. The result? Happier customers. Combining data analytics with human intellect to optimize customer experience from A to Z will increase brand loyalty, customer retention and overall CX in an era of unprecedented competition. Stephen has over 15 years of experience defining and delivering Mobile Workforce Management solutions covering vertical markets that include Telecommunications, Utilities, Insurance, Home Services, Medical Equipment, Capital Equipment, and Oil & Gas operations. Aiding service organizations to optimize the use of their field resources, improve operational awareness, streamline process, and establish controls while ensuring flexibility and variability are enabled within their operations. Prior to his current role as VP Strategic Industries, Stephen managed ClickSoftware’s global solution consulting team exposing the benefits of MWFM to new users and helping increase the benefits of existing users across the globe.

It’s no secret that today’s telecommunications companies are sitting on a gold mine of data that is quickly growing from exabyte to zettabyte in volume—data that has unending value into business insights. This vertical in particular is in an advantageous position as their subscribers are connecting to their networks through voice, text, and other smartphone applications at greater rates than ever before. And while every telco (and company across every industry) is looking for effective ways to leverage this data to impact the bottom line, this has proven challenging for most.

The data that lives within telecom companies provides a unique opportunity over other industries because of the sheer volume they have to work with. That said, data is worthless without the systems and policies in place to gather it, and tools to process and analyze it, and determine what previously unearthed information it offers. There are myriad ways to apply these insights; in the coming months and years, the most successful providers will enlist the help of field service solutions to collect data and use it to optimize every aspect of the business, beginning with optimizing the technicians’ job from scheduling to identifying the most efficient driving route. This data can even be used to identify fraudulent behavior by using call records. It also contributes to increasing marketing effectiveness by offering insight into customers, insight that is then used to deliver a relevant—and exceptional—customer experience. The result is simple: happier customers and increased revenue. Combining data analytics with human intellect to optimize customer experience from A to Z helps improve brand loyalty, customer retention and the overall brand experience in an era of unprecedented competition.

Where telcos are missing the mark

There has been much hype around “big data” and the promise of advanced analytics, but few organizations have actually allocated the necessary resources for the valuable insights it holds. A recent study of 273 executives from leading telecom companies revealed that while most of them are considering investing in big data and analytics, only 30 percent have actually made those investments. Why? Many are unsure where to begin.

But the urgency to access this data is imperative. Telcos today are operating in one of the most competitive markets out there. Carriers are consolidating, combining resources, expertise and offerings just to keep pace with the best in the business, and for three of the four big wireless carriers, revenues decreased over the past year. Customers are simply harder to find and retain than in years past. In this highly competitive environment, it’s vital that telcos find a way to distinguish themselves from everybody else—and this can only be achieved by leveraging the mountains of data available to them and devote resources to analyzing that data.

How telcos should use data

Innovative field service management (FSM) technology is the key ingredient for telcos who are looking to exploit the data they are sitting on to streamline the service experience for customers using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. It begins with the infrastructure they’re working with and the quality of service they provide. For instance, a cell tower equipped with IoT sensors is likely to  be recording the tower’s performance data, consistently sending signals to a control center in real-time. When something malfunctions, these signals trigger a series of events—beginning with a dispatcher locating the closest, most skilled technician, optimizing their route so they arrive as quickly as possible, to arming them with the details and material they might need to diagnose and repair the problem. FSM technology, accessible via mobile devices, streamlines this process and introduces a level of organization that benefits the telco, the technician and the end-customer. Win-win.

In addition to advancing the maintenance of physical infrastructure, FSM technology also has a positive impact on employee satisfaction, by arming techs with the tools they need to be successful—every time. This is critical because technicians are often the only interaction customers have with the company—and a satisfied employee makes for a much better brand ambassador than one who’s ill-equipped and frustrated by their job. FSM solutions are the answer to effectively addressing these logistics, serving as a major differentiator for telcos.

Better service = happier customers

Given the enormous amounts of data that telcos have access to, there’s no excuse for anything short of exceptional customer experience. In a landscape littered with competition, this view of the customer represents the difference between customer retention or attrition. The data analytics that result from using the proper technology in service (and so many industries) are key for delivering added business value across the board—but not enough telcos are capitalizing. On average, data-driven insights only contribute to 2.9 percent of a telecom company’s profit. It’s time for telcos to stop using yesterday’s processes and realize the major impact data-powered FSM technology has on the bottom line.