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All Carriers will offer 5G… but those offering unique CX will stand out of the crowd

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All things being equal, robust consumer experience (CX) initiatives could help Carriers differentiate in a democratized 5G era


All Carriers will offer 5G… now what?

As Wireless Carriers gradually roll out their versions of Next Gen Network (5G) towards full commercial deployment by 2020; they also need to prepare for the fact that their competitors would offer similar 5G network & value propositions too

So the billion dollar question is – All things being equal, how could Carriers differentiate in a democratized 5G era?

Equally important is what steps can Carriers take today to ensure customer loyalty in tomorrow’s democratized 5G world?

Competing on price alone is a race to the bottom, impacting core financials (ARPU / CLV / Operating Margins) in the long run; particularly for Carriers who want to highlight their ‘premium-ness’ in an otherwise “Look! I am cheaper” landscape


Enter Customer Experience (CX)

Astute Carriers know that Customer Experience is amongst the best time-tested acquisition, retention & loyalty lever that can set them apart from their competition in the long run

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4 Focus Areas in the Customer Experience Journey

Carriers can innovate and develop customer experiences within four key areas –
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#1. Network Experience

Consumer & businesses already have very high expectations of an always-on & reliable 5G network

In a democratized 5G market, failure to ensure (perceivably consistent) high quality network experience wouldn’t only be brand damaging to the Carrier but could also result in a subscriber exodus to competitors… particularly the sizable commitment-free (BYOD, Prepaid & subsidy-less) base

Any interruption to their SMB/E/G business customers 5G-dependent services could even cost Tier 1 Carriers their lead position in the market

#2. Product Experience

5G will unlock a range of Carrier-initiated IoT products & services (think: 5G-enabled Home Automation)

Having dedicated 5G experience centers / zones (e.g. destination store format) to interactively convey various value propositions to end users will go a long way in securing better net promoter scores

#3. Provisioning Experience

Carriers could differentiate by simplifying their provisioning experience; particularly for their multi-play 5G services such as Home Automation

Initiatives could include optimizing truck rolls, in-store/home multi-device provisioning & setup, faster turnarounds for DOA replacements & a unifiedinsurance + warranty offering

Proliferation of  eSIM will coincide with commercial 5G rollout and when done right, could provide Carriers with a useful acquisition, retention & provisioning tool for the said  multi-play 5G services

Another customer-focused Supply Chain initiative is for the Carrier to ensure the channel availability of ‘hot products’ (iconic smartphones, VR/AR, etc.) at the right place & at the right time so customers don’t defect to competitors

#4. Value-Add Experience

Post-Sale Value-add experience initiatives is crucial to ensure retention and will comprise of a front-end (customer facing) and a back-end (e.g. Supply Chain optimization); with the latter playing a crucial role

3 such areas:

Fulfillment Experience or simply put the time taken from the customer order phase to the (accurate) delivery of products & services (e.g. same day on-site delivery, setup & provisioning & Omni-channel fulfillment)

Service Experience including post-install ‘education session’ & 24X7 omni-support (think: AI chatbots) to keep customers engaged optimize support costs

Billing & Notification Experience specifically the simplification thereof in a multi-play IoT offering (e.g. real-time notifications, fraud alerts & even service downtime alerts with estimated time to remedy)


So…

Whilst Carriers will continue to differentiate on pure play value propositions (triple/quad-play, zero-rated content, bundled IoT & cloud, cheaper pricing)

…their customers will continue to primarily evaluate them on their ability to provide unique experiences

Staying ahead of their customers’ expectations with various experience initiatives could guarantee Carriers to ‘lock-in’ their loyalty… Today!