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Accelerating Progress: The New Norm for Communications Providers

John Katsoulis
Senior Marketing Principal, Oracle Marketing Cloud

As part of the CX marketing team at Oracle for more than eight years, I’ve watched numerous industries shift to viewing CX as a vital component of a company's business strategy that’s mission-critical in terms of future growth and success.

After attending our Future of Digital Experience in Communications Virtual Summit, I was impressed by how the industry and our customers have embraced change and what the future holds for CX in the communications industry as a whole.

Converging priorities

During the past seven years, marketing and service leaders in the communications industry have promoted CX as an agenda item. Each business line had its own unique perspective, but as time moved forward, these needs collided in what I like to refer to as the “convergence of customer experience.”

Many organizations get stuck precisely when the needs of each line of business intersect with the other, especially when you consider just how much is involved in transforming them both into modern, re-tooled, CX-driven organizations.

Change used to be like moving elephants

As discussed during the summit, disruptors have eroded the market share of communications companies, which up until recently have been slower to adopt new technologies because of the scope and risks involved (perhaps because of their size). But as time passed, the need for change became apparent.

We're all familiar with the apps, streaming services, and other communications options that have hit the market in just the last decade. While listening to the introduction, I took a step back and realized that on my personal smartphone, I have five streaming services, an encrypted texting service, a phantom texting app, and subscriptions to three local channels—and I don't subscribe to cable anymore.

This is the reality of the challenges faced by communications leaders. They’re under enormous pressure to plan for the future, which includes understanding:

  • What to accelerate and when.
  • How to append a current customer experience with the right blend of technology and human to AI interaction for an optimal CX.

And if that wasn't enough, 5G also launched in 2020, which you might as well view as the second wild west of online services. Soon you'll see "always-on" services that use data to propel self-driving automobiles and interact with games in the real world.

Data builds a foundation

For more than a decade, Oracle has had a solid nonwavering view on CX—data is the foundation for everything.

It's the fuel we need to interpret and bring together transactional, asset, foundational, and behavioral data across systems in real time. Then we apply intelligence to the data using AI and ML to better understand the who, what, where, and when, as it pertains to CX and selling products and services to our customers.

This approach eliminates guesswork from customer interactions, offering insights and actions based on predictive intelligence. And it's available today in our next-generation user interface—Redwood

Two great customer stories highlighting the art of the possible

Swisscom presented their successes via the Accenture Swisscom partnership. When you think about where they’ve taken their CX by serving customers on their channels of choice, Swisscom nailed it.

Before starting the CX transformation journey, Swisscom established a clear picture of their goals and areas of business they would impact, including net quality, performance, service, brand, competitors, and customers.

Strategy execution isn’t easy, and Swisscom and Accenture took a holistic view of the business to ensure they would be well-equipped to deal with the past year's pressing issues and the development opportunities 5G can make possible.

They’re more prepared than ever to deliver the next generation of communications services because they took a comprehensive stakeholder view of their CX processes to plan for what they called "The Intelligent Enterprise." Using Oracle CX, their plan involves driving sustainable growth and expanding 5G revenue opportunities now that their entire organization is on the same page regarding insights and knowledge about customers grounded in predictive analysis.

Lastly, they ensured that their internal and external resources, as well as their customers, could access the right tools and interfaces to deliver on their vision. After all, what good is having the data you need if your service and field employees have a horrible user experience? How could that frustration impact the service your customers receive?

Windstream, a U.S. provider of voice and data network communications and managed services, shared how they overcame challenges related to disconnected systems, whether it be in marketing, sales, or service.

The areas most critical for them: being able to use their data where it matters most, especially at the point of service delivery in the field, and tools to help customers remotely triage their support issues.

Windstream first committed to an internal content audit during which they developed a deep understanding of the fragmented messages they were often sending to their customers. For example, customers shouldn’t receive an email asking, "How is your service?" when a repair rep is on the way to address an issue with it. This was an enormous undertaking that shows Windstream’s dedication to their customers.

Windstream also talked about the new ways that communications leaders now view CX, specifically the Internet of Things (an area of growing focus for CSPs as they roll out rich 5G services). They acknowledged that soon the “customer” interacting with a CX system may no longer be just a human. It might be a car, a piece of manufacturing equipment, or some other connected device. This shift in thinking illustrates how serious Windstream is taking their CX.

Final observations

CX will prove critical to success for communications providers, allowing them to move to regain market share and ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty. In this new digital-first world, people's preferences have changed. According to Windstream, 85% of their customer interactions are now digital, which is quite a game-changer when you think of what this sentiment was just 13 months ago.

The summit shed light on just how much 5G could transform how we view communications and entertainment, much like the way the internet completely transformed the world not so long ago. Gone are the days of trekking to the library to research a question. The answers are right in our hands on our phones at all times. And the 5G transformation will likely be just as life-changing.

To learn more, view the highlights from CX Virtual Summit: The Future of Digital Experiences in Communications.

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