What I learned at CEM in Telecoms Americas

What I learned at CEM in Telecoms Americas

CEM in Telecoms Americas in Washington DC is THE place to discover the latest and coolest insights into customer experience. For CSPs, the event provides a safe and open atmosphere to share successes and failures in their quest to secure customer loyalty. It also provides them with an important forum to discuss how to achieve cost savings in a market that is increasingly competitive.

Here are some of the highlights from the CSPs’ keynotes:

Comcast’s Xfinity spoke about their successes in increasing self-service engagement. They did this by experimenting with data analysis to create predictive models that analyze caller retention potential and suggest optimal next best offers. This allowed them to increase sales and significantly cut customer care durations. They’re even now offering these models to other service providers.

Meanwhile, Cable & Wireless faced a more basic challenge. With thousands of complex, siloed systems, scattered across multiple locations, it was difficult to identify a reliable and accessible data resource. That is, until they discovered their most reliant and accessible data resided in their billing and care systems. This data became the basis of a project that led to improvements across the entire customer journey, significantly boosting net promoter score. Other service providers also revealed how the humble bill was able to uncover invaluable insights into product and service consumption, leading to more meaningful conversations with customers and increased upsell rates.

Artificial intelligence was the focus for Frontier Communication and Canadian provider KooDoo Mobile. In their data analysis experiments, which they referred to as “assisted learning” (AL), they discovered scoping and prioritizing are critical to prioritizing allocation of resources for research. Their argument was that it’s simply not viable to analyze every customer touchpoint or line of business. The declining wireline business was a key example.


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With this in mind, and with the objective of reducing call center costs, Koodoo Mobile initiated some bold moves – unprecedented in the industry – that resulted in $10 million in annual OPEX savings. Following data analysis that identified high volumes of low-value calls (e.g. bill queries and questions about usernames and passwords), they took two dramatic decisions. Firstly, they stopped taking calls in real time. Secondly, they went completely paperless. So rather than being answered by a human agent, callers to customer care now receive an SMS link to a virtual assistant who has the ability to provide basic account-related information such as a monthly bill, login details, pricing, and so on. Then, if human assistance is required, the virtual assistant schedules a call back. But to anticipate and prioritize supply and demand of calls, customers are first required to confirm their availability five minutes prior to the call. And despite the reduced human interaction, NPS remains unchanged, while service reps report higher job satisfaction from the feeling they’re really making a difference.

The event confirmed that CSPs are now openly embracing the power of data. It also demonstrated that they’re heavily invested in developing expertise that will enable them to genuinely improve the customer experience and increase the value to their business. Looking ahead, I’m now looking forward to the next CEM event in Barcelona, which will focus on how customer experience compares across the various regions across the globe. I’ll be there to report back, so stay tuned.

Shiri Yitzhaki was a speaker at the CEM for Telecoms Americas event

How CSPs can achieve cost savings in a market that is increasingly competitive