|B/OSS Insider Blog|
Using Customer Portals to Improve Customer Experience and Reduce Churn
By Anand Gonuguntla
With consistently increasing competition to acquire and retain enterprise customers, service providers must continue to find new ways to add value. Offering enterprises a lower price point is no longer the sole driver of business, as operators must now diversify their services and provide greater visibility to meet the needs of these special-needs customers.
There is a rising demand for enterprise customers to access more detailed information about their services. This detailed information includes real-time availability and service-performance reports. It also means providing an end-to-end view of the service so enterprise clients can ensure customer experience, monitor service provider SLAs and identify potential problems before calling customer support.
Assuring services is no longer just making sure calls don’t drop and data is not delayed. Assuring today’s services has real financial implications, such as reducing customer churn, reducing support calls and upselling customers to higher levels of service and SLAs.
As a result, portals are becoming an increasingly popular way of providing this kind of information. Traditional carrier-assurance solutions offered simple alarm panels and static performance charts. Today, thanks to advancements in next-generation service assurance, operators are able to offer easy-to-configure customer portals that offer customers a more comprehensive look at their services.
Today’s new information portals provide operators the ability to offer their customers real-time data and reports, alarm views and topology maps in one single view. The value proposition to enterprise customers is this: Better visualization of all-inclusive information will dramatically improve customer experience and increase profitability.
Though the front-end user interface should be customizable, the customer portal should not require complex back-end programming. Service providers need to be able to offer a seamless, integrated solution that can be deployed or modified quickly with minimal configuration. Service providers do not want to endure expensive, time-consuming rollouts, and instead require a portal where they can easily implement changes when and how they see fit, in order to meet the real-time demands of their network and enterprise customers.
For service providers, offering the preeminent customer experience must go beyond simply providing high quality service. They must provide visibility to real-time service status as it relates to contracted SLAs. Clearer visibility into the network, and providing this information through an easy-to-use portal, needs to be a part of every service provider’s strategy if they are going to succeed in an increasingly competitive landscape.
With more than 15 years' experience in the telecom industry, Anand Gonuguntla co-founded Centina Systems. Prior to his current role of president and CEO, Anand was the director of systems and software engineering at Xtera. Anand also held management positions in software and program management at Fujitsu where he worked on FLM and FLASHWAVE product lines.