It’s no longer enough for telecommunications companies to focus only on their networks. To compete effectively in the new world, they are going to have to pay a lot more attention to the full customer experience. Kathy Gibson reports from Huawei MEA Service Summit in Cape Town

Telcos face customer experience challenge

Telecommunications operators are under pressure to transform to digital businesses – and it’s no small challenge.

New technologies and services like virtual reality, Internet of Things (IoT) are placing new demands of telco networks, at the same time as customers demand better and cheaper services with low latency.

Steven Zheng, director of Middle East servce marketing and sales at Huawei, points out that as many as 100-billion IoT connections are expected by 2025, while customers expect instant responsiveness from their new applications.

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Successful companies delight customers

Customer experience is about how customers perceive their interactions with an organisation – and companies that understand this will tend to succeed.

And it means it’s not so much about what you are doing, but how the customer perceives it, says Forrester analyst Qaalfa Dibeehi. In addition, it’s about their experience with the whole company.

“Of bits of it are misaligned, you won’t be delivering a good customer experience.”

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How Hong Kong Telecoms grew revenues

A service operation centre has helped Hong Kong Telecom (HKT) in its customer experience transformation.

Derek Chen, from HKT, points out that Hong Kong has been deregulated for the last 20 years, and mobile penetration is already at 233%, with IPTV at 102%.

Most of the complaints to government are about telecoms, Chen says.

“So we realised we had to change from a technology company to one that provides superior customer experience,” he says.

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Outsourcing could benefit digitisation

There can be no doubt that telecommunications is going through a period of major change as telcos continue to experience lower revenues. “At the same time there is massive growth in the digital economy,” says Edward Poh, senior consultant at Huawei.

The impact on telcos and their CIOs is huge. A major priority for CIOs is to save money while delivering a consistent and stable IT performance and increasing operational efficiencies.

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ICT to lead the digital transformation

Business today is about transforming what we do daily, and organisations in every industry have to undergo digital transformation if they want to thrive in the future.

Telecommunications operators, however, still have a long road to travel to embrace transformation, says Paul Black, director of telecoms, media and IoT at IDC.

But why is transformation important? “The people in a business, every customer, CIO and CEO, is concerned about getting the most out of digital business,” says Black.

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