Publisher’s Outlook

New Tools and Data Help Carriers Address Customer Care

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC  |  May 22, 2012

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine.

Wireless carriers spend millions on contact center calls related to device questions from their subscribers, and to lean more Amdocs (News - Alert) recently commissioned a survey that shows that while 83 percent of the 2,900 consumers surveyed are aware of self-service options, only 37 percent of consumers use them.

Why? You may think it’s because they don't have access to a PC, or perhaps they have an Apple iDevice and are afraid the answer will be in Adobe (News - Alert) Flash and all they will see is a series of question marks. Well, if this is what you thought, you'd be wrong on both counts. The reality is that they expect the answers to be wrong or inaccurate.So perhaps, you are thinking, social media is the solution. Nope, 75 percent of users did not find a satisfactory answer there.91 percent of respondents requested a single repository of information that would keep them from having to rely on Google (News - Alert), Bing and/or another search provider.Peter Bernstein has a piece on TMCnet that goes into considerable depth, analyzing the study and making important recommendations about how to reduce call center call volume and the associated cost. Wireless service providers should really read the piece.

On a separate but somewhat related front, Aito Technologies is working to help carriers leverage sentiment analysis.

As you probably know, in the U.S., some of the most challenging times for carrier sentiment had to be when comedians and shows like SNL poked fun at the iPhone for not working properly on the AT&T (News - Alert) network. And in such situations where the carrier’s network was slammed with traffic and the company was not able to come up with a solution quickly, there probably wasn’t much the company could do to change public sentiment.

But in many cases a reactive carrier can reduce churn due to customer dissatisfaction. And this is one of the goals of Aito Technologies, a company in the customer experience analytics space. In a recent meeting with CEO Anssi Tauriainen (News - Alert), I learned the company combines business and technology, allowing operators to see a comprehensive picture of customers that includes devices, faults and revenue. Moreover they deliver results quickly with integration times in weeks not months.

The company touts its products as being able to help carriers increase revenue. For example, by actively targeting customer groups, a customer has seen 30 percent better response rates. Moreover, data mining requests have dropped as much as 95 percent at some carriers, and churn has dropped by 1 percent in another example.

Recently the company added Device Insight, which includes a database of 2,200 devices with their capabilities; for example OS, screen resolution, memory and connectivity. Moreover there is also Dynamic Segmentation, allowing a carrier to determine quickly top data customers facing a degraded experience or VIP customers who frequently use data.

Another new addition is social network analysis, allowing carriers to see changing sentiment on major social networks. This data, in turn, can be linked to customer acquisition and churn to determine correlations.

Additionally, there is an increased focus on profitability and revenue, allowing you to see gross margin by customer and lifetime customer value. This information, in turn, can be compared to acquisition cost, which is about 150 euros in Europe. There is also the ability to link with Google maps, allowing carriers to see user behavior by geographic region.

As I wrote about in my recent Acme Packet University post, communications is becoming more complicated whether we like it or not. And this complication manifests itself as myriad and ever-expanding log files, which eventually turn into databases. Aito Technology can help mine these databases for treasure.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi