Digital Transformation & Maturity

Success starts with the right mindset

It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people fall at this first hurdle, and it’s nothing to do with the technology: your IT modernization project will only succeed if you have full clarity on what is the problem or problems you’re trying to solve. You need to be crystal clear on the specific problem.

The process will fail if you don’t know exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve, because if your mission statement or target is too broad, there will be too many decisions to make and too many processes that won’t be aligned.

In our case, at U.S. Cellular, the aim behind our recent project was to ensure “no customer left behind” by effectively implementing technology – more specifically, smart automation technologies –  to ensure that the customer experience at the point of sale is streamlined, and that we get the customer engagement right every time on first contact.

This means getting the customer interaction right every time at first contact on any channel with no room for mistakes, regardless of when and where the customers are – that’s no small challenge when you serve as widespread an area as we do. We also need to be much more efficient and focused on our targets, constantly assess operational costs, while serving customers with innovative services and products.

In my session at TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World this month in Nice, I share how smart back-office operations have significantly helped innovate and reinvent U.S. Cellular’s customer experience (and the key processes that support it), highlighting the fact that success starts with the right mindset.

By mindset, I’m talking about execution and not just a psychological phenomenon. I like to describe executing the right mindset as a four step process – clarity, alignment, collaboration and creativity. To succeed, you need to get all four of them right.

Once you have clarity on the problem you’re trying to solve, it’s then essential to ensure all stakeholders are fully aligned on the problem you’re trying to solve. Then, and this is vital, it’s important to realize you can’t do it all on your own and you need a partner – in our case Amdocs – to bring external knowledge, expertise and innovation, and solve the problems inevitably encountered along the way. And finally, you need to be creative, to find the innovative solutions that suit you.

With a 30 percent reduction in overall customer tickets, and a staggering 84 percent of issues fixed proactively (before the customer even noticed!), among other success metrics, this approach to our IT modernization project certainly paid off, both for ourselves and, most importantly, our customers.


    About The Author

    VP, Information Technology - U.S. Cellular

    As Vice President of Information Technology and a member of U.S. Cellular’s leadership team, Kevin Lowell ensures that the company’s information systems support a great wireless experience for their customers. His organization provides the foundational capabilities necessary for both frontline associates to serve customers and for delivering products and services, and Kevin oversees all areas of information technology, including application development, infrastructure, enterprise architecture and delivery. He joined U.S. Cellular in 2003, and prior to his current position he served as Vice President of Engineering and Network Operation where he was responsible for ensuring the superior quality of U.S. Cellular’s high-speed network to provide their customers with the best possible best wireless experience. Prior to joining U.S. Cellular, Kevin held various leadership positions for Sprint PCS, including Director of Network Field Operations.

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