May I Help You?

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

With rapid growth in the number of service providers and

increasing competition in the telecom industry, customer experience has emerged

as one of the most important differentiating factors for service providers in

increasing their subscriber base and brand loyalty.


The telecom industry no longer talks only about customer

care services. Rather, it is addressing the broader aspect of customer

experience. Service providers in India are investing heavily in improving their

customer experience as it largely impacts their brand identity. The conventional

customer care services are getting the much-needed makeover, enabling agents to

provide knowledge on a broader range of products and actively up-sell their


As the term 'customer experience' gains popularity,

customer care services are taking a backseat. Recently, BSNL decided to

outsource its customer care requirements to private call centers. The telecom

giant has invited bids for setting up and managing its BPO operations that will

cover over 17 mn customers across four states in South India.


Service providers are focused on how to differentiate

themselves from others, target their market segment, and find better ways to

understand their customers-thus, ensuring customer satisfaction and enhancing

customer experience. The goal is to become the sole provider of all services to

an individual customer as a way to drive up brand loyalty and combat high churn


Pushpendra Mankad, senior VP, Comverse says, "Today,

consumers have access to many more services than before. The plethora of

services requires efficient management so as to cater to the unique needs of


The Indian telecommunications market is growing, so is the

competition. The hope for telcos is that this increasing competition brings with

it opportunities for revenue generation. Better customer experience is

accelerating a company not only in its smooth functioning but also in revenue



Sudha Jagadish, chief operating officer, Dax Networks

agrees, "Customer care plays an important role in an organization's ability to

generate income and revenue. Customer services are, undoubtedly, an integral

part of a company's customer value proposition."

Driving Factors

The other factors that are further driving service providers towards

enhancing their customer experience include:

Retention Tool: Some regulatory changes are likely to

happen soon that will affect the retention of customers, hence, forcing service

providers towards optimizing their customer services. For example, Trai has

warranted that mobile number portability will soon come into existence. With MNP,

one of the major exit barriers for subscribers to switch between operators would

be removed. Hence, better customer services would be of paramount importance.


Rural Customers: The challenges are immense in this

segment as customers have different languages, are differently enabled in terms

of education, culture and background, etc. If these challenges are met through

customer services, it will earn brownie points for telcos in tapping the rural


We have high quality standards and meticulous training

procedures to ensure that our executives are well-equipped to enable

customer-brand engagement

Sriram Veeravalli Sevellimedu, senior VP, BPO

services, Tech Mahindra

Providers are placing their spending bets carefully in a

radically changing environment to give subscribers the best of customer


Milind Godbole,

president, APAC, Aditya Birla Minacs

Delivery of consistent results to consumers and resolving

issues speedily gives a company the competitive edge

Rajendra Mruthyunjayappa,

MD, Talisma, APAC & Europe

Customer care plays an important role in an organization's

ability to generate income and revenue

Sudha Jagadish, COO, Dax Networks

Social Networking: Social networks have brought customers

closer to each other and made them more vocal about their choices. With easy

dissemination of information and opinions through social networking, an issue

gets escalated very quickly and can impact the brand image. Thus, operators have

to be more cautious in servicing their customers now.


Commoditization of Services: Multi-purpose devices that

combine voice, video, Internet access, content and applications that alter our

lifestyles are gaining popularity. This combination of services will require a

platform to disseminate information which can be done effectively through

customer care services.

Time for Innovation

Telcos have realized that having a knowledgeable, helpful representative is even
more important than speedy delivery of services.

Companies have been fast in innovating and developing new

modules for customer satisfaction. Some of the recent innovations in this area

include-web based customer services, online complaint redressal, interactive

voice response and speech recognition, outbound calling, proactive customer

services, and other customer contact innovations.The latest innovation has been

the introduction of automated speech recognition engines, which allow self-care

for discovery, provisioning, activation and de-activation of services. There is

also an increase in the use of multilingual automated (voice) portal.


Taking a closer look at some of these innovative steps,

One97 has deployed services like IVRs and customer care portals. These self-care

portals cut the customer's time waiting to interact with customer care

executives. Besides allowing access to self-care menus, and they also enable

automated subscription and deactivation services in real-time. Further newer

services such as recommendation engine, and automatic speech recognition (ASR)

based search engines are also being deployed.

Technologies such as automatic call distribution (ACD)

platform, super call routing, uniform call distribution, etc, ensure that

customers get connected to the right person with the right information as

quickly as possible.

NetXcel has deployed in bound dialers (IVRS) systems,

wherein customers can login and register their queries. It also runs exclusive

outbound dialers, wherein the operator communicates with its subscribers about

all its services on offer. Says Dr Debasis Chatterji, CEO, Netxcell, "Customer

care services are becoming more responsive and interactive with the help of

large-scale software deployment, as well as hardware integration."


Infosys has deployed proprietary technology, 'active desk'

that integrates information across multiple systems on to a single interface for

the customer care agent.

While Talisma has recently partnered with Ushacomm for

providing a unique solution that helps the service provider improve its top-line

by creating new offers for existing customers and also to reduce the cost of

acquisition of new subscribers. This solution is built on the capabilities

around business support system (BSS), customer relationship management (CRM),

and business intelligence (BI) and is named as TIB-X.

These apart, Comverse has pioneered the use of a single

data model for ordering, billing, and customer management data, as well as the

use of automated usage-driven notifications delivered directly to handsets to

make consumers better aware of promotions and account status.

Nuance Communications has started a speech recognition

service, wherein the caller doesn't have to wait for long, he gets the answer to

his query by just dialing the customer service number.

New offerings also include order to cash (O2C) being

offered as managed services by service providers. This service starts with the

acquisition to billing to service management being jointly offered as managed


Customer-centric strategies will only lead to long-term

benefits and in establishing the brand name. The extraordinary usage of

different services demonstrates how customer's usage of mobile as a tool has

changed. Streamlining the various needs of the users, analyzing their behavior

will hold the key to customer satisfaction. And, with fierce competition among

the service providers, the customer care services are expected to get more

polished in the future.

Archana Singh