Sponsored by: Amdocs
Nobody likes to second guess. But when it comes to responding to customer demands, service providers have always been one step behind. They analyzed trends and responded to them.
But the time lag was significant, and often costly. Artificial intelligence (AI) turns this paradigm on its head, ushering in a whole new era for our industry. It promises to transform the way companies operate, the services they offer, their relationship with customers and the ability to make decisions.
Indeed, the emergence of AI is nothing less than a major disruption for our industry and was recognized at the World Economic Forum 2017 as the driving force behind the fourth industrial revolution. Gartner’s Top Five Disruptive Trends for CSPs, Worldwide, 2017-2022 report further substantiates this argument, stating, “Service providers move from data to analytics to actionable cognitive intelligence. The combination of analytics, artificial intelligence and automation will have a disruptive and transformative impact on service providers’ care organizations.”
Service provider empowerment
AI is unique in its ability to extract and apply insights from data in real time. This enables the ability to automate and optimize decisions and actions, and at the same time, deliver ongoing improvements through self-learning and automatic tuning. AI can therefore serve as a powerful tool to evolve business process efficiency and effectiveness, drive new revenue streams and deliver a “wow” customer experience. The result is a growing trend among service providers to incorporate AI, together with machine learning, and cognitive computing into all of their core business processes in order to improve processes relating to customers, networks and operations.
Seizing AI opportunities for communication & media service providers
As revealed by Ovum 2016–17 ICT Enterprise Insights survey, CSPs are struggling with personalization and creating personalized customer experiences is one of their biggest business challenge. This can likely be explained by a lack of sophisticated data analytics, meaning that any customer insights are superficial at best. Another major challenge lies in fusing together a wide variety of first-party and third-party data in real-time in the quest to build a single unified view of the customer.
Furthermore, while today’s consumers engage with service providers across multiple channels (e.g. websites, email, social media, messaging platforms, and mobile apps), marketing interactions with customers lack integration and usually based on static segmentation. Yet such complexity is only set to increase, as the variety of touch points – including wearable devices and technology, connected cars and appliances, and more – proliferate. This means engaging with customers in a personalized, consistent way across multiple channels, and across an increasing number of touch points.
To achieve this, service providers must find the means to unlock every meaningful piece of customer information at their disposal from both internal and external sources. The end-goal needs to be a strategy that enables:
- Adaptive customer journeys driven by a visualized map that allows the planning and management of customer experiences and journeys in their channel of choice.
- Personalized and contextualized engagements that are tailored in real time to each customer’s preferences, needs, and behavior
- Proactive engagements that leverage a 360-degree view of the customer to predict risks such as churn, as well as opportunities to sell, and to engage at the right moment with the right action
- Real-time ad customization by adapting ad content and bids to paid media, based on the full ad context and a complete view of the customer
- Continuous optimization of the message, offer and channel
68% of senior industry executives cite customer experience as their number one strategic priority. As operators look to boost loyalty and spend, higher levels of customer service allied to greater service personalization are seen as critical levers. (EY Global telecommunications study: navigating the road to 2020)
When it comes to our industry, we’re still firmly behind the eight ball when it comes to providing the level of care that customer demand.
This is because for most service providers, customer care is still built on a reactive rather than proactive strategy. The source is a reliance on complex CRM interfaces that use predefined responses linked to narrowly defined scenarios. Agents often have limited access to actionable customer data, and without a contextual view of the customer, there is little scope to provide a personalized response. While digital self-service models can be highly effective when executed well, even here the dominant approach, based on automated interactive voice response (IVR) systems, is impersonal, cumbersome and frustrating for customers.
Intelligent strategies to customer care engagements need to leverage a paradigm based on predictive and proactive responses. They must harness the efficiencies of non-human-assisted channels, while optimizing human-assisted channels by empowering their agents with the information they need to serve the customer. The result will be a far superior customer experience through:
- Anticipating customer needs and intents, and proactively engaging at the right time and in the right channel
- Personalizing engagements by leveraging machine learning to quickly and effectively address needs on assisted and unassisted channels
- Guiding agents on assisted channels, empowering them with real-time data, which will enable them to personalize care, accelerate resolution and avoid repeat calls
The rise of the chatbot in the telecommunications and media industry
From raw data to actionable insights
Implementing such a strategy requires systems that enable access to relevant, accurate and high-quality data in real-time and then transform them into actionable insights. This is the basis of AI.
AI-powered automation can fill the gap where human interaction or intervention is simply not possible due to the speed, scale or complexity of the data that needs to be observed, analyzed and acted upon. It can enable a machine to understand a situation, assess a range of options based on available information, and then select an action or response based on probability of best outcome.
But the challenge still exists of correctly interpreting the business context of the data; i.e., the understanding that helps identify the most compelling and relevant data insights. For example, one of the most powerful uses of business context is its ability to develop predictive capabilities, which can be an invaluable tool in sales, technical support, customer care and many other interactions.
So how do you source the data, while ensuring it is both valid and of sufficient quality, and then combine it into a format to use as a source for AI?
Many heads are better than one
Service providers have access to a wide range of first-party data from their own systems, which can be powerful. But to gain a fully contextual, holistic view of every customer, they need to extract actionable insights from this data and combine it with actionable third-party data from social media and other sources. AI-powered solutions improve with exposure to data, which in turn enhances data intelligence – a virtuous circle in action. Such solutions maximize the ability to achieve a genuine 360-degree view of the customer. This in turn, informs and guides the processes that optimizes the customer experience, while simultaneously making every interaction as effective and efficient as possible. It includes everything from avoiding repetition or rekeying of information to viewing customer history, establishing context, and initiating desired actions.
aia, Amdocs intelligence platform
To enable service providers to extract the maximum from their data, Amdocs aia delivers a wide set of capabilities that are integrated across the service provider portfolio, to realize the vision of injecting intelligence into all parts of the business, processes and the customer lifecycle. It combines machine learning, artificial intelligence engines and cognitive capabilities from global partners and from recent acquisitions, along with Amdocs’ real-time data management platform and extensive domain-specific market expertise.
The result is a synergetic and comprehensive solution that enables service providers to make a meaningful, quantifiable, and differentiating impact in real time across all areas of the business. Solution benefits include –
For service providers:
- Optimized customer engagements: predictive, proactive, contextual and personalized engagements, adaptive journeys across all channels, highly efficient human-less care and empowered agent-assisted care
- Improved network management: resource allocation optimization, automatic remediation, network orchestration & operation and proactive service management
- Efficient business and operational processes: data-driven and optimized with auto detection and correction
- New revenue streams: generated from more accurate, personalized packages that drive higher uptake rates
- Competitive advantage: gained through improved customer loyalty and advocacy, increased revenues and decreased operational costs, driven by more efficient and effective processes
- Personalized engagements that are tailored to their needs, with the offers and support they need most, delivered when they need them most, and on their channel of preference
- Better performing networks that don’t drop calls and enable them to enjoy a data plan without interruption or slowing down
- Increased satisfaction and reduced frustrations around back office processes such as pricing, billing, and more
Ultimately, the value of AI lies in extracting the most of the data that service providers already have in their possession. By incorporating the right AI solution, they can be confident that through the actionable insights extracted from that data, they’ll be exposed to a view of their customers that is fully aligned with the customer’s own view of themselves – relegating the need to understand customers by second guessing their intents and expectations firmly into the past.