By Siobhan Ryley
The mobile Web is exploding. According to a recent Comscore Study, mobile Internet users will surpass desktop Internet users by 2014, and China had already reached that mark by the midpoint of 2012 (China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). The growth of the mobile Web is due in large part to the rapid consumer adoption of smartphones and their interest in apps. From games to social networking, music to productivity, consumers are app obsessed. This app evolution is an opportunity for communication service providers (CSPs) to develop their own apps to bring billing directly to the customer. By giving enterprise and residential customers more control over usage, and improving communications and the customer experience, CSPs can address increasingly sophisticated customer needs and meet increasingly demanding customer expectations of service quality.
Today’s Mobile Consumer
The rise of the mobile consumer is impacting how CSPs do business. A recent Compuware survey found that 71 percent of users expect a mobile site to load as fast as a desktop site and 57 percent would not recommend a business with a bad mobile site. Even worse, the survey uncovered that 40 percent of respondents would turn to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience. CSPs can no longer view the customer experience on a desktop PC as the primary focus. Few markets are as competitive as telecommunications, and CSPs need to ensure their customers have a successful overall experience from the call center to the mobile site. Otherwise customer attrition is a certainty.
One of the primary advantages of mobile channels is the opportunity to let consumers “self-care." Consumers today need to take care of business on short notice and increasingly they prefer to do it without having to speak to someone or wait until they get in front of a desktop PC. As a recent Forrester study found, convenience is the driving force behind mobile traffic. When it comes to mobile capabilities related to their CSP, consumers are looking to use smartphones to handle straightforward activities such as paying a bill or checking their account status as well as more complex transactions.
Operators have long understood the value of giving customers more insight and control over their service plans: Customer self-care not only reduces call-center and maintenance costs, but gives CSPs the ability to enhance the overall customer experience, ultimately creating more loyal and profitable interactions. With the proliferation of apps, many CSPs have recognized the opportunity to add mobile solutions to their self-care arsenal.
The Changing Face of the Enterprise Customer
The enterprise segment of the market is being increasingly recognized as having significant potential for CSPs to grow revenue and profitability, but only if they can master this market’s more complex demands. Enterprise accounts place particularly high importance on a provider’s billing capabilities. In an Accenture billing research study, nearly 70 percent of enterprise customers in North America and Europe said a carrier’s billing processes and procedures were very important to their relationship with the company, 43 percent indicated billing had a moderate or strong influence on their loyalty to a carrier and “10 percent of enterprise customers reported having terminated a contract with their carrier because of poor billing performance ..."