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Author: Ian Best, MD Eyelbe Ltd. Date: April 2012
The TM Forum’s technical report “Managing the Quality of Customer Experience – TR148”, defines the Customer Experience as being “the result of the sum of observations, perceptions, thoughts and feelings arising from interactions and relationships (direct and indirect) over an interval of time between a customer and their provider(s)”. The measurement of Customer Experience is based on measuring the extent to which the customer’s needs are satisfied using customer/user centric measures such as:
· Would advocate (e.g. churn and loyalty indicators)
· Would recommend (e.g. Net Promoter Score)
· Would Buy again
· Product availability
· Product usability
The Communications Industry has recognised the need for managing the customer experience for a long time; indeed the TM Forum published one of its first guide books on the subject, GB923 the Wireless Services Handbook, way back in 2004. The Telecom Operation Map (TOM) and the later Business Process Framework (eTOM - GB921) have also included process models supporting Customer Management for many years. This work has been followed by a number of other TM Forum initiatives which have strengthened the understanding of this complex subject. Despite the industry’s obvious interest in Customer Experience Management (CEM) it is only in recent years that we have seen a real move towards establishing CEM in the Service Providers organisations.
The reasons for this slow take-up are many fold but are often founded in the traditional way in which we have managed our services in the past i.e. focussed on managing the technology that delivers the service rather than on managing the customer experience. While this ‘bottom up’ approach may have worked for technical services where all of the service components i.e. resource facing services, were managed internally, the model does not work today with a wide range of customer facing services many of which are dependent on service components from partners and third party suppliers. We will explore the new operating model in more detail in the following sections.
It is also true to say that the customers’ expectations have changed in recent years as they gain a greater maturity in understanding what they want from their service providers ... not just in terms of the quality of the technical services but their whole experience ‘soup to nuts’. Today, therefore, Service Providers have become very conscious that while they may have gone some way to monitor their customers’ experience, it is not enough and they have to be much more proactive in ensuring that the level of service has to be managed throughout the customer lifecycle.