CSPs: getting the basics right

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third-party contributors to submit analysis on a key topic affecting the telco industry. In this article Gordon Rawling, Director of EMEA Marketing at Oracle Communications, discusses how delivering a reliable service can help communications service providers avoid churn and secure new business in a competitive market.

Making the customer experience fit for the digital age has become one of the main focuses for communications service providers (CSPs). Across the UK, and in fact around the world, CSPs are racing to differentiate themselves with new digital services and features for the people and businesses they serve.

Despite their efforts, however, churn continues to present a growing danger for these providers. According to Ovum’s recent report on mobile service quality, nearly half of mobile users in the UK will either switch providers or are actively exploring their options.

These findings support figures from an Oracle Communications customer satisfaction survey, which revealed that only 9% of mobile subscribers are staying with their current CSP because they are satisfied with the level of service they receive. Tellingly, 39% of respondents admitted that the only reason they have not switched providers is that they believe service levels from other CSPs will be no higher than those they currently receive.

Clearly, there is a disconnect between what CSPs believe customers want and what subscribers today actually expect. CSPs need to take a step back from their future-gazing and revisit their customer experience strategy to ensure it is relevant to consumers – many of whom don’t believe their standards for reliability and effectives are met by CSPs, especially with a growing array of data-enabled devices.

Dropped calls used to be customers’ main concern. Now, it’s the gaps in data service that have become equally as frustrating for users. Another Oracle survey underlines this reality – 80% of respondents reported they have struggled to get a data connection at a time when they really needed it . If this state of affairs persists, the seeming apathy among mobile subscribers that have not yet switched CSPs may well give way to churn on a wide scale.

How to turn cynics into champions

For CSPs looking to attract new customers, and keep the ones they have, the time has come to break users out of their state of cynicism and seeming indifference. . To do so, CSPs need to focus on redefining their customer experience strategy to credibly differentiate themselves among their poorly-regarded competition and remain relevant to today’s consumers.

Findings from a recent Analysys Mason report further underscores the value of providing a satisfactory level of service above all else to protect CSPs’ existing subscriber-base while attracting new business. According to the research, CSPs can reach 27% of their customers and reduce churn by as much as 18% if they can meet subscribers’ needs when it comes to customer experience.

Reliability is king

What consumers expect more than anything else from their CSP is a reliable service. While new functionalities and technologies no doubt have a “wow factor”, people can only appreciate these perks fully if they are underpinned by a reliable and stable service.  Across all communications platforms –mobile, broadband, landline, and pay TV – the key to improving customer satisfaction for CSPs lies in tools that allow them to maintain high standards of quality and dependability. To add to this, customers often expect the freedom and flexibility to customise their policies as they see fit.

The Oracle Communications Customer Satisfaction Survey  demonstrates the value that service quality has to customers today, with 42% of subscribers citing the promise of reliable and stable service as having the biggest impact on their choice of CSP. Clearly, even amidst the flurry of innovation in the mobility space CSPs need to take a step back and make sure they are delivering a dependable service across all subscribers’ connected devices.

While stepping up innovation will of course be integral to keeping up with a fast-evolving market, CSPs that want to reduce customer churn and secure future revenues must complement these developments by investing in their customer experience frameworks at the same time. With 4G LTE networks now the norm in numerous mature markets and many providers offering 4G for no additional up-front cost, the time is ripe for CSPs to differentiate themselves by providing a customer experience that gives users the flexibility and ultra-reliable service they need.


Gordon RawlingGordon Rawling is Oracle Communications Product Marketing Director, and  has over 18 years of experience in IT service delivery and marketing. He joined Oracle Communications in early 2008 and oversees marketing activities in the region to enable its market success in EMEA. Prior to Oracle, Rawling worked for Amdocs in a variety of delivery and marketing roles, including building the strategy and positioning its portfolio, and in developing Amdocs’ Integrated Customer Management product strategy. Prior to Amdocs, Rawling worked for 11 years at EDS, performing management consulting, relationship management and delivery roles.


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