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October 2014


    Today customers are more aware, deriving leverage from exposure to a wide range of services, knowledge of product substitutes, and use of social media to share praise or blame for their products.  Having experienced excellent service from some categories, consumers now apply these standards across all service providers and demand a superior quality of engagement from MNOs.

    A critical aspect of delivering outstanding customer service in an individual-cantered economy lies in maintaining a personal connection with customers at key moments of truth during the journey. MNOs who maintain consistent and frequent interactions will grab an increasing share of consumer mind share and spending.

    A recent study conducted by Mahindra Comviva of Tier One MNOs in India and Africa, indicates operators speak to their customers for 8 minutes in a year.  Each customer on average makes 3.4 calls annually to the contact centre, lasting 110 seconds. Agents are primarily assessed on the “volumes of calls” handled and the “average call handling time”, which are measures of productivity and cost rather than quality-based metrics such as the ability to make an emotional connect with the customer.

    Given the contact centres are the primary customer touchpoint handling between 60% and  80% of total customer transactions, the absence of personalized, real-world interactions is reflective in high levels of customer attrition in most markets. Globally in 2013 MNOS lost  USD  1B on account of churn.

    For many consumers, the most outstanding aspect of customer experience is the personal human touch. MNOs need to balance the cost to serve with customers’ need for personalized interactions.  Investments in mobile self service apps can help operators improve quality of care and engage customers at every stage of the purchase path..

    A self-service app resident on the mobile device offers wide reach.  By itself the app is however just another touchpoint for the customer.   The value rests in CMOs uniting mobility with location-based, analytics and personal data and offer progressive levels of hyper-personal care   to customers.  Personalization will be based on an intersection between customer history, context awareness and intent and would essentially span four stages – “Know Me,”  “See Me”  “Understand Me” and “Be Me”.

    Know Me

    At the “Know Me” stage MNOS use KYC and transactional data to understand customers to deliver an optimized service experience across critical touch points of the customer journey – from discovery to post-purchase support. Customer data can be used to deliver enhanced customer experiences, improve service quality, target marketing efforts, capture customer sentiment, increase upsell opportunities, and trigger product and service innovation.  For example, inform users when they are approaching their data threshold, send relevant promotions and extend simple, secure options to act upon that information.

    Customer data can also be used to influence positive customer behaviour.  For example send a proactive notification informing customers of direct bank debt service to high net worth customers, who frequently default on timely payments. Rather than using personalization only to provide offers, use detailed knowledge of the customer to be responsive to their communication needs. For example, know when and when not to communicate with the customer, and how to communicate (e.g., SMS vs. Twitter)

    Another key aspect of knowing the customer is a voice of the customer program.  Since MNOs operate in a consumer-dominant economy, MNOs need to adopt an outside-in approach focused on understanding services customers would really value.  A voice of the customer program can aid MNOs canvas feedback, understand users’ opinions and drive servicer and product improvements.   A simple screen inviting customers to provide new ideas or feedback can make customers feel engaged.

    Several industries offer interesting lessons.  For example Changi airport, Southeast Asia’s biggest international airport, handled a record 53.7M passengers in 2013. Its air passenger handling capacity is expected to double by the mid-2020s. Changi airport is one of the early adopters to utilize automated feedback systems at all passenger touchpoints. Through this system, Changi airport collects over 1.5 million real-time feedback responses a month, thousands of times more than manual methods previously used. Changi airport was voted the best airport in the world in a 2014 Skytrax survey of travelers from over 160 countries. This is the fifth time that Changi airport has received this award.

    See Me 

    At the “See Me” stage NNOs can combine knowledge of customer transactions with location to deliver hyperlocal offers.  For example offer customers the option to login to a Wi-fi hotspot at a congested cell location. MNOs can also leverage information to send third party push notifications to consumers.

    Understand Me  

     At the “Understand Me” stage MNOs based on customers’ click-through streams, social media posts, and context are able to infer customer intent and accordingly tailor quality of care.  For instance send a discounted offer to a customer who spends considerable time browsing information on the merchandise section of an event ticketing site. A leading MNO in Bangladesh analyses international calling pattern along key remittance corridors to acquire customers for its international money transfer service.  In a remittance driven country, customers who call the same international number regularly are likely beneficiaries and receptive to promotional messages around the service

    Be Me 

    At the “Be Me” stage the app takes decisions on behalf of the users.  For example lodge an immediate complaint when the customer is experiencing consistently slow browsing speeds, accept contextual services and offers on behalf of the user. The app is able to act on account of built in intelligence to identify and learn customers’ behavior over time, enabling it to respond in real time.

    To successful deliver hyper-personal care and build lasting relationships with customers, MNOS needs to view care as a day-in, day-out, continually evolving service, requiring constant innovation to stay competitive.

    Many customer service organizations struggle with the gaps between the speed of change required by business and the speed of change that traditional organizational structures,  infrastructure, applications, information and sourcing — can handle.  CSPs would need to invest in the right platforms to onboard and tear down new services quickly. Likewise realising the vision of hyperpersonal care would require MNOs to adopt more fluid organizational structures where CTO, CMO, and CSD departments work together.  For example, customer satisfaction surveys act as warnings of a new issue — while the second voice (e.g., customer experience monitoring) would investigate the issue in detail.

    This needs to be a well-planned journey but MNOs who make the leap would benefit from lasting customer relationships,



    Mobile App Strategies Will Be Transformed by Cognizant Computing; Gartner; Jessica Ekholm  Annette Zimmermann



    October 28, 2014 0 comment
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    Amit Sanyal, Assistant Vice President & Joint Head, Consumer Value Solutions business, Mahindra Comviva shares his views on why Customer Experience Management is becoming increasingly relevant today. Excerpts…

    1. Why, in your opinion, has Customer Experience Management come into the limelight?

    This refers to the telecom space. From this perspective, one has to look at the current status, peppered with some perspective from recent history. In most countries, the telecom ecosystem, at least the operator sides of the ecosystem moved from being a green-field, land grab opportunity to being fiercely competitive to being ‘mature’ today. The handset was the biggest entry barrier for the user, next came the call rates. Today neither is. Telecom today is a buyer’s market, used to a seller’s one even till a few years back. I am not getting into details of how or why this change happened.

    Now that it has, what is the impact?

    • The customer has choice and the customer is Aware in the true sense.

    • The customer is always ‘connected’ or wants to be always connected

    • Choice has its own problems-it creates clutter. The customer has gone through that phase and now wants or rather demands personalization.

    • For the operator, it means a shift from deciding what experience it wants its ‘customers’ to get, to finding ways to give a different experience to ‘a customer’

    • A demanding customer represents an opportunity. If I can understand each customer, I can also communicate with each customer better. If I can understand the customers’ intent, I can convert that into a purchase of a product from my portfolio of services.

    • The best service that a customer expects is NO service. The best customer service for me is if I do not need to call customer service.

    A competitive market ensures that call rates / access rates, etc are similar. The only differentiator in the customer’s mind is the Quality of Experience. Does my service provider understand me?

    With all these, the erstwhile Customer Experience Management (CEM) paradigm is no longer relevant. Today, the world is moving to CXM where the ‘experience’ part is for each touch point where the customer interacts with the service provider when making or receiving calls / accessing Internet / getting a query, request or complaint placed or resolved or making a purchase of an additional service. Even till recently ‘experience’ used to be interchangeably used with ‘quality’ which then narrowed down to the quality of the network experience only.

    Customer Value Management today is the key. Times have changed.

    2. What are a few key global CXM practices and can they be replicated here? Why or why not?

    While so much is being written and spoken about CEM / CXM, practically this still is in a very nascent stage. There are credible initiatives done globally but you must understand that CEM is not a boxed solution. Things done elsewhere cannot and more appropriately should not be replicated as is. Each geography is different and even within a geography the preferences of customers which an operator has vary greatly with those of another in the same region. It depends heavily on whether an operator has the early mobile adopters or the Gen X or generally class agnostic users as its customers.

    The need therefore for an operator is to have a solution from a provider with whom they can work together (and not expect a solution in a box!) to arrive at the best possible CXM use cases suited for the customers it has.

    We at Mahindra Comviva do just that. While there are solution boundaries, the final mechanics of what fits best for a particular Operators is worked out together. We believe in long term partnerships and not a typical vendor-customer relation.

     3. What are the portfolio’s key pillars? Who will be your target audience? 

    Let me simplify this…forget about the pillars…what does the solution promise?

    • Helps sell more to the same set of customers

    • Helps keep customer’s longer on the network

    These are two simple promises that form the bed-rock of Comviva’s CXM solution.

    Effectively, in granular terms the solution promises a move from–


    The above is with a commitment to continuously work with the customer through our Business Consulting services.

    There is no typical ‘TG’ for our solutions. This is for all telecom operators who believe that the left of the grid above is something they wouldn’t want to be in, it does not make sense anymore. The promise is not about the ability to increase revenues by X% or Y $, the promise is that if you move to the right-that’s the right way! Customers will be happy, Business will follow.

    4. What do you consider your USPs?

    We stand by just one credo, ”We understand the Customer, technology is just something we are also good at”. That means –

    • Customer Value Management driven by analytics

    • Solutions which are designed basis how the customer will use it vis-à-vis how best we can make it

    • Features which solve business problems and not which are there to show a list which looks long

    • Ability to seamlessly integrate and co-exist with existing systems

    • Business Consulting to make things happen-together

    5. In your opinion, where does India stand vis a vis developed nations in this respect?

    There are three facets to this:

    1. Intent

    2. Ability

    3. Environment

    In most emerging markets, the intent and environment are in the right direction. However, while there is a market need to move towards the ideal-N = 1 CXM, the ability of most players to do this by themselves is limited. This is where specialist CXM solution providers come into the play so that Ability does not be a limitation anymore.

    6. Are operators managing to provide an optimal CXM experience? Why or why not?

    I am afraid not, but there is definitely an intent but limited by ability as I said before.

    As a customer, I have directly or indirectly shared everything that my service provider can use to understand me better. The operator has everything that is required. The missing piece is that ‘intermediate layer’ which helps makes sense of this data. Everyone today speaks of Big Data, it’s not how much data you have, how frequently you can refresh it or how fast you can process it; it’s all about making Sense of that data and using that for customized and real-time marketing to drive customer experience. Most operators are not there yet.

    October 27, 2014 0 comment
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