Proof of concept

Real-time customer journeys are required if you want to be a DSP

When it comes to customer experience, reacting after an event is too late. Predicting is good, but things don’t always work out as planned. Real-time customer experience management (CEM) means making customer journeys living things that automatically adapt as necessary.

This is what a TM Forum Catalyst proof-of-concept called Accelerating the shift from communications service providers to digital service providers, which will be demonstrated at Digital Transformation World in Nice, France, next week, is trying to achieve. The team believes this shift to real-time CEM is necessary to transform from communications service provider (CSP) to digital service provider (DSP). They’re using customer journey analytics, data from the network and ethnographic research to get there.

Infrastructure and architecture

“This is really important right now,” says Avtar Chaggar, Customer Experience Transformation Specialist in Telecoms & IT, Cognizant, who is part of the Catalyst team. “We spend a lot of time talking to chief digital officers and CEOs at telecommunications companies, and customer experience seems to be the number one priority. It’s a strategic imperative.”

He adds: “Next in importance is organizational agility. You can only fix an experience if the technology and the infrastructure and architecture behind it can work together in real-time. Now is the time, because we have the technology to bring it all together.”

The Catalyst focuses on delivering a fluid customer experience. “What we mean by that is the ability to optimize the customer journey in real-time to provide a personalized user experience across every single digital touchpoint,” Chaggar says.

This will have applications beyond traditional communications services. As part of their preparation, Cognizant interviewed people to try to understand what they really want from an ideal customer experience. One takeaway, for example, was that consumers want one contract and contact for the myriad services in their homes. If telcos and their suppliers can get these customer journeys right, they will be able to access many more opportunities in growing areas such as smart home and connected car.

“It will enable service providers to lower their operation costs, attract and retain customers and generate new revenue,” Chaggar says.

Designed for humans by humans

The team’s solution connects customer experience design and internal journeys, and brings the information together with network analytics onto a big data analytics platform. Via the platform, deep learning, machine learning and AI algorithms can be applied together with human insight to generate the right resolution in as close to real-time as possible, meaning journeys are no longer static.

The “human insight” aspect is essential, according to the team.

“Customer design is absolutely essential from day one, but then it’s continuously optimized to improve the customer journeys as we go through,” says Manju Kygonahally, Communications, Media and Technology Industry Lead, Cognizant. “Instead of asking a bunch of good designers to come up with the customer experience, what we have done is put in enthnographic researchers, who really understand the whole human behavior and interaction to develop the customer experience part of it.”

Connecting the dots

There are two key roles in Catalyst projects. The Catalyst champion is the company seeking a solution to a business problem – in this case it’s BT. Participants contribute to solving it, each bringing their expertise to a particular piece of the puzzle.

Cognizant is providing the experience design, and using technology from Software AG called Aris. Chaggar says: “That makes sure that every ‘moment of truth’ is captured from a human perspective and designed to be frictionless.”

Bulb Technologies provides network analytics, showing the customer experience from a network-centric point of view – e.g. dropped calls, bad calls, availability, etc. The proposed solution uses a digital BSS overlay for fast and efficient provisioning of new digital services (including IoT services for industry verticals); a microservices layer for agility and scale; and contract and order management and digital product catalog tools from CloudSense and Salesforce.

The solution maps processes to TM Forum’s Business Process Framework and also uses aspects of the TM Forum customer centricity toolkit. The team’s findings will feed back into developing these tools further for the whole TM Forum community.

“In terms of real-time optimization of customer journeys, this could become an industry standard,” Chaggar says.

Watch this video for more insights into the Catalyst’s aims:



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    Sarah is a freelance writer and editor with an interest in new technologies and how they impact our everyday lives.

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