While many Web-based companies are chasing new opportunities (ex. communication, collaboration, location-based information, music, print media, etc.) by delivering services over-the-top of any Internet connection, the actual telecom network service providers have been slow to follow for many reasons.
Telecom network services providers that wish to become more relevant to end-users’ broader needs must rethink their service strategy and refocus on developing customer-driven value propositions, satisfying particular problems and issues of specific customer groups, while leveraging their unique assets.
Before the growth of the Web, telecom service providers were the main suppliers of communications and IT services. During this time they developed long-standing customer relationships, and have built-up a unique set of assets that are hard to copy.
Service providers need to use their unique assets as competitive ingredients when designing the next generation of customer-driven offers. These assets include:
- Company brand – High brand awareness in current markets, an established brand promise, an existing customer base and significant market power.
- Billing relationship – A trusted client-provider billing relationship, including existing real-time transaction capabilities, credit guarantee mechanisms, purchase history and buyer profile data.
- Customer relationship experience – An established, personal customer relationship experience across a variety of touch-points, including dedicated customer representatives, retail stores, contact centre and customer Web portals. This covers the personal relationship experiences before, during and after becoming a customer. It may also include a documented customer history combined with an implicit knowledge of the local market context.
- Subscriber data – A collection of customer metadata including service registration details, user preferences and profiles, usage statistics, address book, geographic location (in real-time for mobile services) and purchase and payment history.
- Service policy management – The ability to define and actively manage network policies (ex. Uptime guarantees, SLA parameters, traffic prioritization), application policies (ex. Allowed services and options, service limits, conditional parameters) and subscriber policies (ex. promotional tariffs, usage rewards), on a per-customer basis.
These assets are a combination of hard and soft attributes and are beneficial so far as they can be used to enhance future customer propositions by offering appreciable added value over competitive offerings.