In A Changing Business Landscape
An Experience of Certainty
Telecom & Broadband | Africa
5 Ways to Make your Field Force more productive

In my previous article ‘Monetizing Broadband through Field Force: The Next Step towards Bridging the Gaps’, I spoke about WHY the solution in the hands of the field agent which is strong enough can enable your field agent to turn around the morale of a troublesome customer into a brand advocate. Let us discuss the HOW about the same.

A drill down approach into the intricacies of operations will expose many pot holes / short comings / challenges in managing day to day transactions. However, a robust solution can enable your field force and turn this around while enhancing their productivity.

An ideal field force automation platform should bring a mix of flexibility to adapt to the operator needs while being able to bring the industry best practices to the operator business process. Below are some such aspects that leading field force automation providers have developed based on the compelling need in the market. These practices allow the existing service providers to make the best out of the available solutions without re-inventing the wheel.

Multi facet mobile platform for multi skilled work force Operator are increasingly deploying multi skilled work force to handle the customer premise challenges. While this is optimizing the work force productivity, field force should be enabled with a strong and dependable solution with a holistic understanding of the functions of this new age work force and should be able to bring the best practices to the table while being flexible enough to adopt to the emerging needs of the operators. From capturing customer details for order booking to updating a ticket, it is very important that the mobile platform should be able to handle everything seamlessly.

Understanding Management, not micromanagement Operators should have control over their resources activities, should be able to track their activities, measure their performance and reward accordingly. At the same time the management should be careful not to micro manage, which might lead to drop in employee morale. It is very important to mutually understand and respects the thin red line between management and micromanagement.

Rewarding proactive field agents Field agents are generally faced with surprise questions from irregularities in payment details to bad service quality. The field agent should have the complete information (360 degree view) preferably on a single screen of the customer at the tip of the hands to understand the problem and act on it.

Reward performance, right now. Rewards are the best incentives. Rewarding the employees based on their performance should be done automatically based on pre-defined rules and logic. Field force management platform today has the ability to update a performance related metric like collection of outstanding payment should be immediately trigger the rewarding mechanism on real time. This not only motivates the field force to do more but also curbs any revenue leakage due to cumbersome manual updates by data entry agents.

Resource optimization Optimal utilization of resources has been a key challenge for the ISPs in making the most out of their operations. A set process towards work force management and tools enabled with features like GPS tracking providing the real- time location information of the filed agent will help define the time and effort towards day to day activities while maintaining check points for measuring resource optimization.

Field force today play a variety of roles and the roles are emerging and are continuously going transformation. There should be one platform that should be able to understand and manage the entire workflow to optimize the resource utilization and follow a sustainable reward policy. The platform should be able to adopt the best practices in the market while it adapts to the specific needs of the operator.

3 things that will help create unbeatable differentiation for Your Video and Broadband Operators

Are your you are really connected in this connected world?
Do you have first-hand information of the varying gaps in service offering and service fulfillment that are leading to mediocre customer experience?
It is an alarming situation if the answer to these questions is a NO!

Today, customers are demanding quicker resolutions, faster response times and increased service levels. In some geographies, it goes even further. Customers are expecting service providers to incorporate service intelligence, enabling them to understand their usage or consumption patterns to make relevant and contextual recommendations.

The differentiation no longer rests solely with products and services. It has to go way beyond that, encompass all the elements that contribute to the customer experience with the operator. It is a challenge to meet the dynamic customer needs and expectations. However, it is an immense opportunity to improve acquisition, stickiness and building brand ambassadors. One needs to take a multi-dimensional approach to handle this effectively. Long-term growth is unlikely in the absence of effective adoption of few innovations.

In this context, let us look at the 3 things that we can do. Organizations should adopt an approach that includes the following three dimensions effectively:

  • Service Enablement
  • Service Support
  • Subscriber Intelligence

Service Enablement

  • First touch point of customer experience begins at this stage.
  • To create an everlasting impression; how about planning your infrastructure that enables near real-time activations and fulfillment.
  • Activation speed can be one of the parameters in choosing your service over your competitors.

Service Support

  • Customers enjoy seamless connectivity and expect operators to attend to their complaints immediately. Some customers even trade off cheaper broadband packages from some operators to superior service as downtime can be too expensive for them.
  • Service Support to a customer is like continuous nourishment to an infant. Today, decent service support is a hygiene factor but can get challenging if you are still using rudimentary methods and solutions to provide the same. Depending on the profile of the customer (Tech Savvy and Non-Tech Savvy), the support and response expectations would be highly different. Such parameters need to be taken into consideration in setting up the process and infrastructure to effectively address customer service support needs.

Subscriber Intelligence

  • Subscriber intelligence is important in creating effective differentiation and maximizing life time value.
  • Customers are expecting operators to employ systems that are intelligent, understand their consumption pattern, predict their stated/unstated needs and provide effective and relevant recommendations.
  • Customers expect companies to recommend them a product that exactly suits him/her and not flood them with mails/SMSs that are not even distantly relevant for them. They appreciate and expect operators to do their homework before contacting them for an up- sell/cross-sell.
Interesting Observation about Broadband effect on Household income

The new version of AAA 2.0 offers following business benefits and makes its offering more relevant and contextualHouseholds who upgrade their broadband services can expect to increase their income, according to results of a study conducted by Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Arthur D. Little, and Chalmers University of Technology.

The study set out to determine the minimum broadband speed upgrade necessary needed to affect household income in a statistically significant way. The study discovered that these data rate thresholds differed between OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and BIC (Brazil, India and China) countries. The absolute levels of return were found to be higher for OECD economies (the results were adjusted for “purchasing power parity” to reflect absolute level of returns). Ericsson says this fact supports the idea that income gains from broadband increase if more advanced services are available.

Specifically, the study asserts that:

The average increase in household income for a broadband speed upgrade from 4 to 8 Mbps is $120 per month in OECD countries.

BIC households benefit most by upgrading from 0.5 to 4 Mbps, when income could be expected to rise $46 per month.

“Results are in line with our previous study that quantified the impact of broadband speed increases on the gross domestic product of 33 countries, as well as a slew of other studies we reviewed,” says Sebastian Tolstoy, vice president, radio business development and strategy at Ericsson. “All indicate that broadband access has a positive effect on the economy. We know that speed matters and that upgrading broadband speed has a positive impact. Now we have shown this quantitatively using large data samples in both OECD and BIC economies, even at the household level.”

Added Martin Glaumann, partner at Arthur D. Little, “The evidence is building for broadband speed as a driver of economic growth. Yet in many countries, not least in the EU, regulatory developments are holding back the full growth potential. Regulators need to rethink and recognize high-speed broadband as a national imperative for BIC countries. Broadband gives households the means to improve skills and productivity through e-learning and business services, but also to gain access to new venues for consumption.”

“This is one of the first studies to address impacts from broadband speed on household income. Based on rigorous scientific methods and comprehensive data, the study can show that increased broadband speed increases income, which has a number of important policy and strategy implications,” added Erik Bohlin, professor at Chalmers University of Technology.

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LTE Connections Expected to Reach 2 Billion in 2018

Global 4G LTE connections will grow from 238 million in 2013 to 2 billion in 2018 according to a new forecast from Strategy Analytics. The report predicts that LTE networks will account for almost half of mobile service revenue globally by 2018, up from under 10 percent in 2013.

The US, Japan and South Korea are finally starting to see their grip on the global LTE market weaken in the second half of 2013. Their share of global connections will fall from 90 percent at the start of 2013 to 76 percent by year end, with Western Europe in particular generating more meaningful 4G volume as LTE increasingly penetrates operators’ smartphone portfolios.

“Even in 2014, the US, Japan and South Korea will remain the dominant LTE markets, but all eyes will be on China,” comments Phil Kendall, Director of Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Operator Strategies service and author of the report. “With TD-LTE licenses now awarded and China Mobile particularly keen to expand and launch its already large pre-commercial network, China should be the catalyst driving lower-cost 4G devices into the global market over the next two years.”

Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Director, Wireless Operators & Networks, added, “Mobile operators are increasingly looking to LTE for value creation in the market, with the technology currently generating average revenue per user (ARPU) almost four times the global average. That premium is more a result of the regional mix of LTE connections at present and we forecast just 1.5 percent annual growth in wireless service revenue over the next five years. In this scenario, LTE is more about securing higher-value customers than accelerating market growth.”

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5 Laws of Stratospheric Success for Delivering Profitable Wireless Broadband in Africa

Broadband, telecom and WiMax business expert Ms. Madhavi Natukula spoke about how SURE! (a Magnaquest product) can be the enabler of the 5 Laws of Statospheric Success, i.e., Value, Compensation, Influence, Authenticity and Receptivity for delivering profitable wireless broadband in Africa, which revolved around a world-wide bestseller, “The Go-Giver”, co-authored by Bob Burgan and John D. Mann.
The recently concluded WiMAX Africa 2013, an internationally-important event highlighting opportunities, challenges and strategies involved in operating a profitable WiMAX network in Africa, was electrified by a talk that revolved around a world-wide bestseller, “The Go-Giver”, co-authored by Bob Burgan and John D. Mann.

Adopting the core idea of the internationally acclaimed work, “5 Laws of Stratospheric Success” to WiMAX, Ms. Madhavi Natukula, a Broadband, Telecom and WiMAX business expert from India, stressed on the need for creating a strong culture in any organization to become globally relevant and successful.

The event, aimed at presenting opportunities for participants, operators and vendors; to socialize, meet, exchange ideas and develop business and cooperative relationships. It was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, that began with Ms. Madhavi’s talk, provocatively titled: “5 Laws of Stratospheric Success for Delivering Profitable Wireless Broadband in Africa”, which remained the biggest talking point throughout the event. Read more

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