Today, users consume data and take advantage of mobility, broadband and cloud services as never before. Their relatively newfound ability to get things done on the go makes their lives easier, and their needs are what matter most to operators.
Increasingly, consumers expect their operators to be able to answer questions quickly and anticipate their needs. Consumers want to determine when and where they use particular services, and to be charged accordingly.
So what makes a consumer choose and stay with a particular operator? Or, put another way, what does an operator need to do to make itself an attractive service provider and make a success of its business?
This is where OSS and BSS come in, and where consumer and operator needs meet. The beauty of OSS and BSS is that they are designed to ensure that users’ demands are met in a way that automatically fulfills some of the most important goals that operators have.
For example, OSS and BSS enable users to make their own choices, be more in control of their spending and benefit from personalized services and subscriber plans.
Operators, meanwhile, benefit from a complete, end-to-end overview and real-time control of their customers, their networks, their services and the performance of their businesses. In this way, they can have the answers ready before the user even calls customer support, because today’s consumers don’t want to wait.
By offering their consumers exactly what they want, operators can build customer and brand loyalty, and attract new subscribers.
Similarly, systems designed to fulfill operator goals also benefit users. For example, systems that increase operational efficiency by optimizing and automating networks support the provision of seamless, hassle-free services for users.
In short, OSS and BSS help operators run their networks – and hence their businesses – in an optimal manner, while simultaneously creating a better user experience and meeting consumer needs.
Consumers want a high-quality user experience delivered by operators that behave in a transparent manner, understand their specific needs, maintain high-performing networks and offer individually tailored price plans and services that can be customized at a moment’s notice.
Network performance: satisfaction depends on the quality of coverage and capacity, an absence of dropped calls and the clarity of voice calls
Capable devices: phones and other devices capable of creating a high-quality user experience
Fair price plan: price plans that match customer expectations by offering personalization, flexibility and the ability to review and control costs – especially in the event of roaming
Simplicity: offerings that are easy to understand
Speed: customer service representatives must have the ability to make immediate decisions so that they can solve problems quickly
24/7 customer support: help should be on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year
Customization: the ability to personalize services to meet specific individual needs and call center agents who are familiar with their customers because they have a databank of detailed information about them
Transparency: no hidden clauses or unpleasant surprises
Proactivity: relevant recommendations about cost savings and special deals based on past consumption, as well as advance warnings, apologies and compensation in the case of service outages
Efficiency: guarantees that a problem will be resolved within a specific time period, failing which penalties apply
Control: the tools they need to keep track of usage and spending in real time
Operators aim to deliver enhanced service, flexibility and price visibility for a better user experience in order to improve customer satisfaction, attract new subscribers, earn customer trust, and build brand loyalty.
Operators also want speed and control to bring more products to market faster and more profitably, and to decrease operating expenses by becoming more efficient.
Customer satisfaction: the ability to respond to – and even anticipate – consumers’ needs and always deliver the services they expect, as well as predictable quality of experience for video and content services
Build customer and brand loyalty/reduce churn rate: offer plans that are relevant to users’ lives while being affordable, transparent and easy to understand
Attract new subscribers: offer a range of diversified products that suit a range of customer segments rather than persisting with the “one-size-fits-all” approach
Real-time monitoring: help users control their spending, allow them to see their current balances so that they can keep track of how much they have left to spend and help them quickly make changes to their service plans
Fast and efficient realization of ideas: deliver innovative services that improve the customer experience
Reduce time to market: quickly launch new types of services based on new business models, across multiple platforms and industries
Monetize traffic, offerings and products: provide users with bundled offerings for multiple devices and services, tailor customer subscriptions with add-ons such as security or advertising, provide user data to third parties to capitalize on additional sources of revenue
Increase profitability: reduce costs and improve efficiency by simplifying, automating and consolidating operations, create brand loyalty and deliver innovative services that improve the customer experience and command premium prices while differentiating themselves from the competition
Let’s use an example to explore how OSS and BSS meet consumer and operator needs.
Imagine you want to be able to frequently use your smartphone to make calls, send texts, access the web, stream music and video, and play online games. You decide to sign up for a plan that includes unlimited minutes and text messages, as well as 5GB of high-speed data.
Of course you expect all the services you have chosen to be ready to use as soon as you purchase the subscription and receive your phone. But to enable you to start using these services and activate your new subscription, the operator first has to activate the system. In other words, databases, platforms, and network nodes need to be informed about you and the services that you are permitted to access, how much you should be billed for services, and how much you should be charged if you exceed the 5GB data limit. This is where Billing and Revenue Management plays a role in looking after the operator’s business.
Now you have access to the services and start using them. While you’re busy streaming entertainment, Service Fulfillment ensures that you receive the best quality of service.
Before the end of the month, you check your real-time balance and realize that you’ve already used up your 5GB of data. You want to buy another 3GB so that you can stream video all weekend while you’re in the countryside, but you don’t want it to cost you a fortune. Like most users, you presume that it is easy to change different aspects of your service and add or remove elements of your subscription at will. You have also experienced problems with receiving MMS and you call customer service to get the operator to resolve these issues. This is where Customer Relationship Management plays a role.
Billing and Revenue Management makes another appearance, enabling usage of additional data at a reasonable rate. And to solve the problem with MMS and ensure that you get the quality of service you’re paying for, the operator initiates Service Assurance.
When you later decide to sign up for new services – LTE, for example – the operator implements Service Fulfillment to make these services available to you.
But infrastructure and circumstances are always changing and to ensure that you as a user get to enjoy the best possible network performance, the operator needs to continuously improve, update, automate and optimize the network. This is where Plan, Build and Optimize comes in.
Simply put, OSS and BSS are systems and processes that ensure that both consumer and operator needs are met.
Putting the user in charge
User expectations for flexibility and self-care options will only increase in the future. In other words, consumers will expect to be able to add or remove elements of their subscriptions at will and all by themselves, without having to call customer service. This is why real-time monitoring is one of the most important aspects for operators to implement.
Getting ahead of the user
Today, operators are expected to monitor user experience by mining and understanding the information available from their networks. The next step is to get ahead and correct problems before the user even becomes aware of them. Real-time monitoring and automation are the keys to achieving this goal, saving the operator money and improving customer-satisfaction levels.
refer to processes and systems that operators use to plan, build and optimize their networks, fulfill service orders and maintain high performance
refer to processes and systems that operators use when dealing with customer relations management, creating service offerings, setting and updating prices, taking orders, charging, billing and collecting
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