How Successful CSPs are Managing the ‘New Normal’
Operators around the world have largely weathered the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, but they need to continue to pivot and adapt in order to remain successful going forward.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the communications industry has been profound, and while overall revenues have not plummeted as some predicted, the way in which communications services are being provided and how communications service providers (CSPs) interact with their customers have required some critical alterations.
One of the most important things for operators to understand during this period is the nuanced changes in customer demand and behavior and how they can rapidly pivot to turn these challenges into opportunities. Here are three common traits shared by the CSPs turning this difficult period into a success:
The Ability to Adapt Quickly
Agility has been the industry watchword for several years, and has mostly meant the ability to pivot quickly to engage with new opportunities. Millions more people working from home – and doing everything else from home – has impacted networks worldwide, yet broadly speaking CSPs rose to meet the capacity challenge and have seen approval ratings rise as a result.
However, from a service operations point of view, the pandemic has exposed CSPs, many of which have not invested in software and processes that enable them to change their internal structures smoothly in response to such a huge change in customer behavior. Successful CSPs have modular software architectures, are cloud savvy and have evolved the majority of their OSS/BSS structures away from traditional monolithic deployments.
Keeping Customers Happy
When the world seems turned upside down, providing solid core services such as residential broadband and home entertainment has been the priority for maintaining customer experience and reducing the risk of churn. Many people were only able to communication with friends and family via video calls and messaging apps during the lockdown period, so their relationship with their service provider changed from a utility that many take for granted into a lifeline.
Successful CSPs were able to maintain unbroken connectivity service quality and engage with their customers to provide additional value-added services such as video on demand, gaming and partner offers. A highly interoperable BSS is required to collect the pertinent information about individual customers and engage with them on their preferred channel. The boom in digital lifestyle engagement over the pandemic period was missed by some operators, which will have negative consequences going forward.
Customer behavior patterns will be an extremely complex mix of people returning to their place of work and some continuing to work from home indefinitely. Many will not return to shopping in physical stores for some time. The communications industry has been studiously collecting vast amounts of behavioral data in order to better engage with customers, inform operational investments and shape product and service offerings. Successful CSPs are already revisiting all of the analysis produced by pre-COVID data and are striving to create as much new data analysis as possible to update their thinking.
Having advanced analytics baked into all aspects of a CSPs BSS/OSS structure, with the ability to centralize all of that data into actionable insights would have been hugely beneficial during 2020 and will be essential in the years to come. Establishing what the ‘new normal’ actually is and what the responses should be can be done with the information that already exists within nearly every CSP.