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Assuring service is one thing, satisfying the customer quite another

Communications service providers (CSPs), like many other businesses, have for many years focused on providing services and products to drive demand. These are usually offered from a catalog and are either static or not easily tailored to individual customer requirements or wants.

Similarly, the majority of the service provider’s attention has been placed on making sure the service is delivered promptly and available constantly, and at a pre-determined level of quality. This type of operation is termed service-centric.

Wikipedia defines the practice of service assurance as enabling CSPs to identify faults in the network and resolve those issues in a timely manner so as to minimize service downtime. The importance of service performance is also reinforced by research that states that two-thirds of subscribers will stop trying a new service after two failed attempts with that service.

It’s not easy

When we talk about the customer-centric organization we mean those where the approach is about creating a positive consumer experience at the point of sale and post-sale. Of course, as mentioned above, service assurance plays a critical role in keeping the customer happy and enhancing the customer experience but it is not proving easy for many CSPs to be both service and customer-centric.

In order to address this challenge a group of TM Forum members have banded together in a Catalyst project called Customer-centric service assurance. Catalysts are rapid-fire, member-driven proof-of-concept projects which both inform and leverage TM Forum best practices and standards, connecting service providers, technology suppliers, and global enterprises to create innovative solutions to common industry challenges.

There are two main roles in each Catalyst — champions (usually an organization seeking a solution to a problem) and participants (organizations contributing to solving the problem). Here the champion is Eir. Participants include: Galileo, Monolith, Liverpool John Moores University and MICTA. Working together, these players create an agile, accelerated environment to come up with a solution that everyone can benefit from.

The next step

This Catalyst will show how service providers who have successfully migrated from a network-centric to a service-centric operational model can achieve the next step: Customer-centric service assurance. The contribution of this project is to develop a best practice around creating a customer-centric approach to service assurance based on the Business Process Framework (eTOM) and other TM Forum assets.

The Catalyst has been inspired by Irish operator and champion Eir. The company has multiple services in one service center including TV, broadband, voice, etc. with the goal of driving service delivery from customer demand rather than the traditional method of offering ‘vanilla’ services and pushing those to customers and expecting them to be taken up.

One example could be if a customer is consuming a premium service and decides to move to another location, the operator would know if the same service could be provided in the new area. If not, the customer could be immediately offered an alternative service available at that location.

The Customer-centric service assurance Catalyst will be demonstrated at TM Forum Live! 2016 in Nice, France, in May.

Watch this video interview to find out more about the Catalyst.



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About The Author

Catalyst Evangelist

Tony Poulos is TM Fourm's Catalyst Evangelist. He freelances for several industry publications and is video anchor and a columnist for Telecom Asia. Tony is a regular speaker and moderator at conferences worldwide and has worked as a contributing analyst for IDC.

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