Service Provider Insights for Ensuring Mobile Quality of Experience, Part 3
Application and Subscriber Mobile Internet Visibility Are Crucial Ingredients of End-to-End Mobile Experience Management
By Ari Banerjee
End-to-end mobile experience management consists of a complex correlation of metrics that not only include operational measures and quality-of-service (QOS) measurements, but also emotional dimensions relating to the nuances of customer expectations, which do not easily get captured in operational statistics or measurements. It addresses the need to take into account all facets of the interaction between the service provider and the customer, and involve every customer touch point that spreads across sales, customer care, billing, collections, provisioning, and assurance—providing consistency and transparency across all possible customer interactions.
Any issue can lead to a negative perception of the mobile service, thereby reducing current and future revenue opportunities for the MNO. When transactions fail, no matter what the reason is, after a certain number of attempts subscribers will be reluctant to try again. This also eliminates cross-sell opportunities and decreases usage of the data service. To avoid this negative scenario, mobile operators need to use effective end-to-end mobile experience management solutions that can proactively monitor and measure application performance. When critical content or service transactions underperform and negatively impact the subscriber experience, end-to-end mobile experience management systems should ensure that problems with revenue-generating transactions are resolved quickly and the customer is informed. Insight on performance and behavior is extremely important for not only protecting revenue, but also driving new revenue through the creation of rate plans that appeal to specific market segments, such as low or high data users, with new variable pricing or premium service models. Mobile operators need subscriber and device visibility plus information on user characteristics in order to engage in variable pricing models, such as time-of-day or bandwidth surcharges – especially while pricing for higher bandwidth devices such as iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, etc.
End-to-end mobile experience management has different dimensions, as issues such as SIM card activation bottlenecks, mobile application download difficulties, and poor mobile device performance can also impede subscriber’s experience. Mobile device performance is another critical customer experience touch point. Subscribers who purchase new devices have high expectations for the usability, speed and connection of the device, but not all mobile devices have the same capacity to process traffic, and device congestion can lead to a negative user experience. Irrespective of where the actual problem originates, the subscriber tends to associate these negative issues with mobile operators inefficiencies resulting in a higher probability of churn. Mobile operators must identify performance, connection, and device issues proactively to correct service or device issues before customers take notice. Hence subscriber visibility is a critical functionality of end-to-end mobile experience management solutions as it can help identify and resolve a myriad of performance issues and prioritize critical service problems.
For mobile operators, siloed organizations, processes and applications make their task of moving towards a holistic customer experience strategy very difficult. For example, multiple, non-integrated applications from multiple vendors that reside in the element, resource, and service layers inhibit efficient operations. We see two broad trends within the communications market driving the role of end-to-end mobile experience management forward into a role of increased prominence.
The first is the increasing importance of operational efficiencies and cost savings for today’s CSPs. The ability to automate service maintenance while reducing the time and manpower spent overseeing, managing or maintaining a service is critical, particularly in an economic climate that puts increased scrutiny on operational expenditures.
The second broad factor is the migration of a variety of distinct services to a converged IP environment. In a world where all communications were similar and predictable, managing subscriber’s service experience was a relatively linear process. Today, mobile operators are operating networks where a myriad of different traffic types are competing for the same scarce resources. This means that on both the network and customer facing sides, different performance metrics need to be accounted for and subscriber requirements will vary wildly.
We believe a holistic end-to-end mobile experience management solution needs to encompass subscriber experience metrics as well as application performance parameters to provide an end-to-end view of service behavior.
Ari Banerjee is a senior analyst at Heavy Reading, where he focuses on service provider IT, including all aspects of telecom software research. Banerjee examines the breadth of software used by communications service providers in customer, business, service, and infrastructure management. His area of focus includes all aspects of BSS, OSS, SDP, digital commerce, revenue assurance, service assurance, and elements that span both the infrastructure and network software markets, such as data warehousing, analytics, and business intelligence.
This is the last part of the three-part guest blog on Key Service Provider Insights for Ensuring Mobile Quality of Experience, a feature of the End-to-End Mobile Service Assurance Expert Blog Series, which includes contributions from Heavy Reading, Infonetics and TMForum.