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How to bring technicians into sales efforts without adding operational complexity

The Technician as a salesman: Chat activation journey Catalyst proposes to streamline telecoms onboarding processes using an activation journey based on WhatsApp, to enable technicians to identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, while also reducing complexity for CSPs, technicians and customers alike

Alasdair Riggs
14 Jun 2024
How to bring technicians into sales efforts without adding operational complexity

How to bring technicians into sales efforts without adding operational complexity

Commercial context

Countless on-site visits and remote support sessions are carried out by technicians in the telecoms sector every day, which currently focus on their primary purposes such as installation and troubleshooting. But with widespread reluctance among customers to spend time engaging with increasing volumes of sales calls and emails – or become acquainted with yet another company website – the time has come to make more of the confidence and proximity technicians enjoy among customers to support sales efforts while conducting these routine interactions. The question, then, is how this can be best achieved.

Currently, telecom service activation and lead generation processes rely on multiple complex BSS/OSS systems which require technicians to navigate multiple web-based and specific mobile app interfaces. The result is often fragmentary, opaque and inefficient processes for onboarding and activation, with time lost which could otherwise have been spent on directly revenue-generating work. What’s needed is a solution to both problems simultaneously – on the one hand, how to make better use of the unique vantage point technicians occupy to improve sales, and on the other, by doing so via the most efficient means possible.

The solution and its applications

The Technician as a salesman: Chat activation journey Catalyst proposes to streamline telecoms onboarding processes through a unified solution, using an activation journey based on conversational AI with digital channels like WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber and other over-the-top messaging platforms. The Catalyst test case is based on WhatsApp, the ubiquity of which makes it a unified channel which allows the project to consolidate the entire service activation process into a single interface – meaning technicians can use it to guide customers through every step of the onboarding journey, from product selection to installation and activation, and enable customer self-onboarding where feasible. The project team estimates that this could reduce the time needed to complete a new activation order, including onboarding and installation, to around 20-30 minutes, streamlining operations, reducing costs and positively impacting customer experience.

This approach presents not only a user-friendly basis on which to retain customer attention, but also a reduction in complexity for technicians, shortening the learning curve and reducing the need for them to navigate multiple interfaces. The outcome should be improved revenue generation for CSPs using the solution, which enables technicians to identify and convert opportunities to upsell and cross-sell in real time – while also aiding in lead-generation, by allowing technicians to target neighboring locations as early as during the infrastructure rollout phase, thus expanding the customer base.

The solution can be integrated seamlessly with backend BSS/OSS systems such as CRM, billing, workforce management, order management and more through TM Forum Open APIs, ensuring real-time access to key information and maximizing operational efficiency. This, coupled with the interface simplification for technicians, should greatly reduce the scope for errors – while also improving resource utilization, thereby minimizing the costs associated with tracking and mitigating mistakes or managing multiple systems, or indeed developing new ones.

Moreover, the targeted upselling and cross-selling technicians can carry out will reduce the strain on the CSP’s other customer service channels, including door-to-door and call center activities. Meanwhile the streamlined onboarding process should also increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, while reducing the need for follow-up calls from customers; AI and natural language processing capabilities are incorporated to support a range of functions such as personalized product recommendations and improved chatbots.

Wider value

KYC gains from the new activation flows, broadening CSPs’ sales capabilities and customer self-onboarding are just a few of the potential benefits on offer. Beyond the immediate commercial and operational gains to participating CSPs, this solution offers technicians an avenue to greater job satisfaction – by empowering them to take a more active role in accelerating service fulfilment, and building mutually satisfying relationships with customers – while freeing them up from complex applications and activation flows. The solution's alignment with TM Forum standards also promotes interoperability, reducing the complexity of integrating with various BSS/OSS systems, ensuring consistency across different CSPs and contributing to industry-wide standardization.

“By reducing the need for door-to-door, telesales, and shop-based solutions, this solution can save CSPs approximately $80,000-$100,000 per year,” explains Anil Pradeep Kumara, General Manager for Research & Development at SriLanka Telecom. “And by minimizing avoidable technician visits and equipment installations, by identifying customer needs earlier on and meeting them more precisely, additional annual savings of between $150,000 and $200,000 are also achievable.”

The potential gains are considerable across sales, productivity and customer engagement: “this solution offers increased revenue from sales of up to 500% through more personalized products and marketing campaigns while decreasing time to market,” adds Ann Gianenrica Njoki Kambo, Tech Value Realization Lead Digital Transformation Manager at Safaricom. “We also expect to see between 30% and 70% productivity savings through chatbots dealing with queries in parallel 24/7, and up to 40% NPS improvements through more personalized customer service.”

To learn more about how this solution can help technicians broaden their role into sales while reducing complexity for all involved, please see the project space on the TM Forum website here, or visit the team at DTW Copenhagen here.

Technician as a salesman: Chat activation journey