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Several imminent trends for the cable market should pressure operators to build a more coherent customer journey management strategy.
July 17, 2018
No delivery organization faces scrutiny around customer services and experience like the cable industry. As an industry that requires infrastructure from a core facility to the edge and then deep into the home, the delivery and support of broadband and media services need to be smooth. If they’re not, customers may end up calling a toll-free number only to battle an IVR system to get to a live agent, oftentimes going around in circles. This is just one of many different processes customers may undertake during interactions with a cable provider. Web-savvy customers are more likely to head online or use a mobile app to establish a more efficient way of addressing problems. Whatever process works the best and fastest for customers is likely the process they will turn to thereafter.
If that’s the case, then cable providers are better off knowing well in advance what processes customers use and optimizing them to proactively engage with customers and improve experience and satisfaction. In general, the more visibility, the better.
Why is this so critical today? Three trends show us why.
1. 5G is Coming
It may be years away, but the promise of increased wireless bandwidth via 5G networks creates an entirely new competitive threat. Fixed-wireless access becomes a particular threat to cable, creating an opportunity for the wireless operator to simply displace the cable provider with a wireless access point outside the home and an in-home wired or wireless CPE that creates upwards of 4 gigabits per second available for consumption. That amount of bandwidth is easily able to stream 4K content to one or more televisions in the home with ample to spare for all mobile phones and tablets. Wireless operators will also gain the ability to provide bundled pricing across voice, video and data services, creating new value-based bundles that cable providers simply won’t be able to offer.
2. Cord Cutters and Churn are Serious Concerns
A recent Forbes article highlighted the fact that paid subscribers for cable or satellite TV services dropped 3.4 percent in the US in 2017. The article stated that 79 percent of U.S. households purchase services today, down from 88 percent just eight years ago. With a broader range of service options coming from hardware-centric sources like Apple, Google, Sling, Roku and others, the ability to bypass the cable provider for anything outside of connectivity is now easier than ever.
At the same time, however, other studies have shown that many households that purchase streaming video services from OTT providers are still subscribed to cable services. This isn’t a major win for cable, but it does show that cable and OTT can coexist and potentially help each other.
3. Customer Demands Shift Faster Than Most Providers Can Evolve
Today’s digital consumers are savvier than ever, are empowered by connectivity and can access information easily. Figures on churn demonstrate that customers are willing to jump ship and change providers if they don’t get what they want. With most consumers owning between three and seven devices, all of which will be connected, the time for operators to be able to address the convergence of device, service and experience is now more important than ever.
The Perks of Advanced Customer Journey Management
The cable customer journey is no longer linear, but multidirectional and multichannel; the line between traditional and digital services is blurring faster every day. In this shifting environment, cable operators must adopt a new strategy to attract digital consumers and keep them hooked and happy. Knowledge to make the right decision is a critical aspect of both service delivery and customer retention. Since many cable and media providers today lack the visibility to understand the impacts of various service issues on customer journeys across different channels, the consistency of experiences vary. This should pressure operators to adopt a more advanced customer journey management strategy.
Building a customer journey management strategy starts with visibility. It leverages data sources that provide critical insight to define and guide journeys, personalize customer experiences and engage customers across multiple touchpoints. By using a unified data management strategy across critical business systems, cable providers can gain a more visual perspective of how to guide specific customers down the right path at the right time.
As more cable companies look to broader content offerings and online assets to increase service value with their customers, the ability to truly understand how to meet customer expectations is valuable for both the customer lifecycle and the revenue lifecycle. Cable companies that can address customer experience challenges will see a positive financial impact.