3 Key Steps to Implementing a Fully Integrated Customer Experience Management Strategy

Chris Keogh

The final part in the series of articles uncovering the secrets to customer experience success within the telecoms industry from Chris Keogh, Head of Client Service Management at eir Business.

Keogh has delved into every aspect of customer experience management (CEM) in telecoms in recent week. He has covered how telcos can deliver a high-quality service as a differentiator in a competitive market as well as the major challenges facing the industry, and today he finalises his advice series with three key steps to implementing CEM.

There are three key steps to implementing an integrated CEM in your telecoms organisation:

1) technology enablement to provide integration of the data silos;
2) analytics to provide access to key data along with insight to develop products and solutions to meet demand; and
3) cultural change to empower employees and customers to deliver a consistently high quality service.

Ensuring Integration With Technology Enablement

You can select specific tools and vendors based on the need to address an immediate issue. Although this approach satisfies a short term need, it often leads to amass tools that overlap in capability, which fail to integrate and that place a burden on IT to maintain, as new versions become available. So for CEM to work within the IT function of an organisation you have to think integration. You should view the toolset as a key component of an integrated supply chain which delivers effective CEM.

In most cases, the tool environment used in day-to-day work is a suite of tools from several different vendors. When you select a strategic toolset, remember to consider the tools and the integrations available. If you have to build or buy missing integrations, the cost of the overall strategic tool architecture can increase substantially and will ultimately fail to deliver CEM. When you select a strategic toolset, also remember that the successful introduction of any toolset goes beyond the cost of the tools.

Look for a transformation partner, not simply a technology provider. The first step is to remove the complacency of the organisation to stay with the current state of things. Most organisational change initiatives fail at this step and the adoption of a strategic toolset is no different. The second step is to generate short-term wins. Belief in a CEM vision does not last forever; evidence that the introduction of a strategic toolset delivers tangible results is the only way to ensure that people stay committed to make the changes.

Organisations are running hundreds of applications, each in its own box; draw a picture of how many lines need to be drawn to connect those boxes and it’s one big scrambled brain cramp. When one app needs to be changed, every connection to that app must change which ensures that development and maintenance costs can be high.

Middleware creates a layer between applications. This receives the data of many application sources, translates it, and then sends it on its merry way to a new presentation layer e.g. data warehouse, CRM tool or a self-service portal. The middleware now holds a potential wealth of information from previous silos of application data, thereby not only allowing presentation into a single presentation pane but building a growing big data warehouse to be explored and exploited to an organisation’s benefit.

SEE ALSO: Market Report: How to Capitalise on the Digital Disruption Impacting Customer Experience

Accessing Key Data With Analytics

In order to drive effective CEM we must understand the customer’s experience of the organisation and its services.

CEM is a long-term strategy with the aim of transforming the business to be less network-centric and more customer-centric. This is achieved by combining data sets in the network with service and customer contextual data, which yields improvements in customer satisfaction and strong revenue growth.

This will enable a unified business service level view to create the ability within the organisation to be able to mine the necessary data sources in order to provide supporting information on customer usage and behaviour analysis; insights into how the organisation can retain, grow existing customers, and help to direct relevant services and resources to customers to improve their customer experience.

This allows a shift from Reactive – Proactive – Predictive service engagement. It will allow patterns to help shape products and services of the future both short and long term. The correlated data is a building block to a self-service portal. A big data predictive analytics solution can help reduce firsst line customer incidents and allow accuracy in predicting customer incidents within the next service period. Customers buy solutions to enhance their internal services or solve problems to avoid risk. Analytics will identify unsolicited revenue opportunities through enhancements or fixes to potential risks.

Good data is the foundation for making smart decisions. Managing and implementing infrastructure for this data may require some time and effort, people, processes and technology. An organisation will need a dedicated analytics team that understands the business objectives and understands what analytics can do, and that have the technical skills who can implement analytical tools.

In order for analysis to be of any value to an organisation it must first have data quality management in place. A partnership between the business and technology groups is essential for any data quality management, as the business is responsible for establishing the business rules that govern the data input and quality.

Changing the Organisational Culture

The delivery of CEM must be viewed as a way of life within an organisation, not just an additional KPI. This means engraining it into the culture of the organisation so that CEM just becomes business as usual. The organisation at C-level will identify the higher purpose of the organisation and the behaviours required to consistently achieve this. It also means looking at the systems, processes and leadership in place to sustain a culture of CEM excellence.

The number of interactions between customers and employees is infinite, and the chances to get things wrong or right are innumerable. The only change of ensuring a higher success rate of getting these interactions right is to develop a shared cultural understanding of what needs to be done and why. With a great company culture, employees will act consistently. Their motivation will come from within and reinforced by all of those around them.

To build an organisational culture that supports CEM excellence you will need to set the core values and behaviours to achieve these; review your hiring criteria, training, and ensure that you’re constantly checking in that all is being done to support the culture you’re working to build.

Complexity to Simplicity to Value

The shift to true customer experience management is not quick, simple or natural; it is an evolution of the various DNA cells that make up an organisations customer experience. It is telecoms organisations’ version of open heart surgery under a local anaesthetic.

However, it’s important to be brave as the investment in the complexity will lead to the outcome of simplicity in CEM that will be sustainable for the lifetime of the organisation. Customers will have a willingness to purchase more, be reluctant to switch suppliers and become a promoter for your organisation and its services – all showing that the attention to detail in the complexity can deliver simple cost effective additional revenue to an organisation by making it a differentiated leader in telecoms.