“The prime network quality criterion is now the customer’s perception of service.”
In the Middle East’s hypercompetitive markets, does network quality always guarantee a satisfactory customer experience?
A. D. Users today are permanently connected to the Internet and expect continuity of service in all situations. However, operators often find themselves in a paradoxical situation: the reports from network technicians show excellent quality indicators, yet customers in some zones complain that service is far from perfect: sluggish downloads, lessthan-perfect voice quality, irregular Internet access and streaming. In short, variable and unsatisfactory service and an increasing gap between the operator’s quality metrics and the quality actually experienced by end-users. Why? Simply because today’s quality indicators do not correspond to the real customer experience. After a hectic period of high-speed broadband rollout and acquisition of new customers, operators are now focusing on earning customer fidelity through excellent service quality. To succeed they must imperatively find new ways of measuring network quality. This is a vital challenge in a market dominated by prepaid.
How can you get a more accurate vision of what customers feel and switch from QoS to QoE?
A. D. It is important to “put yourself in the customer’s shoes”, to simulate in real time his behavior, usages and interactions with the operator in order to determine precisely which part of the network is degrading the perceived quality. The causes can then be found and eliminated. In a sense, emotional criteria are becoming as important as rational ones.
The paradigms are changing. Welcome to the age of Customer Experience Management (CXM)! The prime network quality criterion is now the customer’s perception of service, so operators need ways of acquiring a 360° vision of it. All large regional operators now appear to agree on the necessity of rethinking their metrics and satisfaction indicators. They have created specific CXM departments which now face two questions: how to proactively detect and clear incidents, and how to correlate network performance with service delivery performance. And of course how to train their employees for this new approach.
What solutions do operators need to meet this challenge?
A. D. We need new analysis techniques to exploit in more detail the data generated by networks. Measurements will be made using mobile devices equipped with software that emulate user behavior to verify that coverage and bandwidth are at the expected level. The same tests will be done on competitors’ networks to see if there is room for improvement. In a predictive approach we will also analyze repetitive network congestions, zones exposed to risks, and the methods of planning the bandwidth increases needed to adapt the architecture to new services. Optimizing the perceived quality also means optimizing the configuration in terms of the traffic capacity of network equipment and monitoring the quality of networks.