TM Forum Live

The theme of this year’s TM Forum Live! is “Digital Disruption,” and while being in the Spring sunshine on the French Riviera is itself a ‘smile moment,’ the real message is about operators making and keeping customers happy.

As we all know, this is not something that communications service providers have traditionally mastered. With the shifting sands of today’s telecommunications industry, it is’t about to get easier, either.

The industry needs to start thinking about the overall experience of the customer as a priority, and shift away from expecting consumers to accommodate the limitations and shortcomings of legacy and outdated network and software systems.

Get Personal 

We heard in yesterday’s keynotes from Chairman and CEO Keith Willetts about the sea of change facing the industry on multiple fronts, and how TM Forum is continuing its mission to help operators face these challenges, delivering better service and delighting customers.

We heard from JP Rangaswami, Salesforce.com’s Chief Scientist and self-proclaimed ‘retarded hippy,’ who made some very interesting points about the cultural changes that are underway in society, and how businesses need to adapt their thinking accordingly.

One of his points was that the Internet has shortened the distance to customers – now, they expect the same sort of service they would from a local retailer. Customers want service providers to know who they are and what they want, and they expect to be provided with a personalized level of service.

It’s Not Hard to Change

This morning, we heard from Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA, about how mobile operators need to work more closely with different customer touchpoints, from banks to utilities, to transport and healthcare, to make the end-user experience more simple and streamlined.

As an example, when she visits China next week, her bank should be working with her operator to understand her movements so that when she tries to use her credit card, she doesn’t have to make a call through her roaming cell phone to alert her bank that the charges aren’t fraudulent. If her bank was talking to her operator, then it would know that she was in China already.

Expecting customers to put up with legacy restrictions is not sustainable. Whether that means data caps, content delivery or quality of service across different regions, operators need to take a hard look at both their current systems and future strategies. The key shift, of course, is for operators to treat consumers as individuals rather than households, and enable them to consume content and use services on their own terms.

To overcome these challenges, operators will need to build  more intelligent and responsive networks, and support systems that better understand customer behavior and network performance.

March is in Nice for TM Forum Live! supporting our clients: Comptel provides CSPs with customer engagement solutions that help them to process customer data and act more effectively upon it, and InfoVista provides operators with real-time customer and network intelligent to improve customer experience.

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