Soft-ex SVP Marketing, Gráinne MagFhloinn shares her predictions for 2018 Trends in the CSP Electronic Bill Presentment & Payment (EBPP) market
The CX EcoSystem
Communication Service Providers (CSPs) have realised the importance of Customer Experience(CX) as key to customer retention and new business acquisition. They have started to view their billing operations, service delivery and customer support processes with new strategic importance in this regard. However further attention is required and this will form a strategic focus for many CSPs in 2018. Efficient billing processes, personalised online billing and transparent charging all assist to enhance the overall customer experience and these systems now form a fundamental part of the CX ecosystem. Customers are less likely to churn if they have correct and easy to navigate online bills. Customer care costs of the CSP will also be dramatically reduced as most calls to call centres are concerning bill queries. On average 45% of inbound calls to care centres can be eliminated by offering an online interactive billing portal.
Personalised eBilling is key to effective customer communication and engagement
Nobody likes receiving bills. However, whether you are a consumer or an enterprise, the one piece of communication that everyone will read is the bill. They are often incorrect, complicated and don’t provide the relevant information that you are after, leading to frustrations and dissatisfaction with the CSP supplier. Worst case scenario they can create Bill Shock, a big driver of churn! Online billing communications is now viewed as a key opportunity to improve customer loyalty and retention. A personalised, simplified and easy to follow bill and online bill analytics portal, which allows customers to analyse spend and view key usage and cost trends is now an increasing must. But more than that, it must be easy to navigate, interactive and graphical. Customers will expect real-time notifications and alerts of overspend or out of bundle. They want to feel that their business is important to the CSP and that the CSP is personalising the experience.
Chatbots now or future?
Everyone is all abuzz about Chatbots. They are coming…. but research indicates that people still prefer to talk to people, especially what they have an issue with their bill! Better still, they want quick access to self-solve their query without the need for a call to a call centre or “conversation” with a Chatbot! Accessibility to easy to navigate portals which display the bill and the relevant service fees and highlight cost savings are what is in demand in the foreseeable future. As Facebook’s bot boss recently stated “Please don’t call them Facebook Chatbots. That whole ‘conversation-as-a-UI’ thing was just a big misunderstanding”!
Analytics & Subscriber Data Intelligence
A picture paints a thousand words and so when it comes to Analytics, customers, whether business or consumer, want easy to understand and interactive graphs, which gives them a breakdown of their billing information at a glance. Simplified reporting with KPIs and analytics to help pinpoint costs and potential areas of savings is a key customer requirement, particularly when it comes to multi-play services.
It’s not just about delivering analytics to the customer, but the telco themselves also need agile intelligence on their customer base. For years robust CRM & BI system have existed in the CSPs infrastructure, but getting the customer data as and when the telco management or account team need it, has always been a challenge. With Subscriber Data Intelligence, CSPs will be able to better engage with their customers to offer new and customised services to each of their customers. Furthermore the Sales & Marketing teams of the CSPs will be better positioned to understand the customers’ needs and be more proactive in terms of optimising service offerings, especially in the run up to contract renewals.
In a recent Yankee Group report it was highlighted that, “In order for CSPs to grow revenue and provide a differentiated customer experience, they must have visibility into the subscriber experience and behaviour on everything in the service delivery chain, from the handset, to the mobile service, to the applications. Only then can they proactively identify new revenue opportunities and improve customer experience. Soft-ex’s TDI solution is well positioned because it simultaneously delivers real value to operator marketing and sales executives and their customers.”
Profiling, Preferences & Banner Advertising
As a telco, being in a position to identify certain trends and preferences amongst customer segments, in terms of usage, can enable the telco to better service and target those customers. Banner advertising on-bill with relevant promotions, bundles or upgrades are becoming more and more popular. Using the whitespace of the bill to inform the customer of new services or customer loyalty gifts relevant to the customer is proving to be a big retention and upselling tool.
Open-heart BSS surgery or passive integration with quick ROI?
Complex integrations create headaches for all concerned. Many CSPs are drastically trying to undergo Digital Transformation projects to make old and multiple billing systems redundant. Billing transformation and the incorporation of analytics to improve the customer experience have become a necessity in the ever increasing competitive CSP space. However billing transformation is a costly, risky and time consuming project, but not improving the customer experience can mean losing revenue and losing customers. As an alternative, CSPs are identifying solutions which can consolidate existing billing solutions and provide that transparency to the clients in a cost effective and timely manner. Personalised billing through the use of analytics has become a key component and vendors such as Soft-ex provide agile Online Bill Presentation and Analytics solutions which assist CSPs to leverage and consolidate existing billing systems to present bills electronically. At the same time such VAS deliver analytics internally to the CSP and also externally to their enterprise and consumer clients to optimise the CSP customer relationship. Such solutions are proven to enhance the customer experience while delivering significant savings and efficiencies in billing costs and customer care.….without the need for open-heart surgery on their existing billing platforms.
For more information on Soft-ex EBPP, visit www.soft-ex.net