The title is most likely one that would cause certain readers who happen to be service providers to experience a little negative reaction upon reading it. However, the title is not meant to be anything more than a cause for some reflection in that there is considerable amount of information about customers that is not always utilized to expose traits and trends that could be harnessed to generate increased revenue as well as to promote customer loyalty in an environment of ever-growing competition.
In the “old world” of telecom there were not as many ways as today to communicate.
Wireless voice and data services, SMS, MMS and broadband services have all stretched and will continue to expand the possible choices that a customer has to communicate with other users.
Having said that then what is it that telecom service providers can do to cope with an always shifting landscape?
In response, I would stress the importance of getting to know the customers better through active examination of everything that is available in the various types of customer transactions that occur every day.
When I started out in the telecom business fifty years ago, the only customer transactions that were actually regularly being recorded and processed were long distance toll calls and in some cases local measured exchange service.
Over the years since then, there have been changes made to cope with the implementation of interstate and intrastate switched access service that came about through Bell System Divestiture in 1984 and the arrival of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which ultimately led to local interconnection charges. Each of these regulatory actions caused enormous changes in the manner in which customer transactions were captured and processed.
Currently, the impetus for change in this regard is more likely to be a response to competition in the marketplace.
This brings me back to why we need to be much more informed about who our customers are.
In addition, to voice and data local and long distance toll consumption we need to be looking at wireless usage patterns, the various types of text messaging as well as broadband data usage. Service issues as revealed by SS7 and SIP protocol call set-up must be managed. Even records of customer movement among service providers as exposed through regular Local Number Portability (LNP) Bulk Data Download files of Network Data (including SPID, LRN, NPA-NXX and NPA-NXX-X) should not be overlooked.
If all of the customer transaction data that exists is recorded, is enhanced using standard industry sources such as the Local Exchange Routing Guide (LERG) and is loaded in well-defined tables, the user can probe this data treasure trove with well thought-out SQL queries and focused reports to arrive at a much clearer comprehension of the customer’s true identity and how one customer relates to another.
This level of knowledge is worth its weight in gold in the competitive market place.
Any service provider who invests in this type of approach will not be disappointed even though the initial outlays in time and materials in making this possible are not trivial. In the old days, such a plan would have been viewed as heresy and totally out of the real of reason.
What is the alternative now?
Let the customers go?
I do not think so.
Once a customer is lost there is never a guarantee that you will ever get the customer to return.
In future articles, I will explore some specifics of how this strategy can be implemented in cost-effective time periods.