Mobile First: Bringing the Back Office Out in Front
A solid BSS infrastructure that supports multiple channels will be a critical factor for a successful mobile strategy.
As the mobile channel becomes increasingly important, many communications service providers (CSPs) are adopting a mobile first approach to customer engagement. Why? According to a number of recent studies, active smartphone users check their devices up to 150 times a day. Indeed, a study by marketing firm Tecmark showed that the average user checked their phone a whopping 1,500 times a week, starting on average at 7:31 a.m. and using the phone for 3 hours and 16 minutes per day.
While some may question the Tecmark figures, it’s clear that the combination of always on, always available and information rich access afforded by mobility is driving real behavioral changes in users. Moreover, this is becoming a global phenomenon; more affordable high-performance phones, mission-critical applications, network improvements and personalization efforts are all providing incremental gains, and emerging trends like the Internet of Things and virtualization promise even greater payoffs.
Mobile First, but Tread Carefully
Any market player that does not leverage this trend is in jeopardy of declining relevance to its customers. Realizing this, service providers are looking for ways to address the burgeoning phenomenon, with a number of them adopting or exploring this approach. But service providers that pursue a mobile first strategy must remember two important points.
- No channel is an island. Despite the importance of the mobile channel, mobile first should not mean mobile only, and the mobile channel must mesh seamlessly with other channels and ultimately with all aspects of the company, both current and future. For example, mobile customer engagement, whether it’s through a mobile app, a social media facility, a set of web pages or something else, must reinforce the company’s brand and deliver consistent content to the user in an easily digestible format, just as the online or call center channels do. In fact, mobile first should be planned in the context of an omni-channel strategy, where customers can seamlessly ‘hop’ across channels to become informed, purchase new products and services and receive support, among other things.
- BSS is critical to mobile first success. Service providers must keep in mind that a robust, agile, integrated BSS is a critical success factor for mobile first. Of course, the system must be agile enough to seamlessly handle multiple channels delivering the consistent experience that customers need and expect. It should be able to track the customer’s journey across multiple channels, including mobile, retaining important information and reducing customer effort, such as re-entry of information when changing channels. It must also deliver consistent information across all channels and customer touchpoints; savvy service providers know that Mobile First at its core is as much a data management issue as a channel engagement issue.
Robust BSS Required for Mobile Strategy
Examining these requirements brings clarity to the importance of a well-designed integrated BSS suite. Integration and consistent design ensures a common experience for customers that a patchwork of disparate applications will struggle to match. It also ensures that data definitions will be common among the applications, increasing data consistency, accuracy and integrity as well as efficiency.
Clearly service providers implementing a mobile first strategy would do well to remember that mobile first should not mean mobile only, and that the mobile ‘front end’ is only as good as the systems and data behind it.
Photo by Maurizio Costanzo with Creative Common License