You don't have to be much of a fortune teller to predict that data and video traffic is going to continue to grow exponentially over the next 12 months or that the number of people enjoying LTE coverage is going to skyrocket in the next couple of years. What's much harder to predict are the implications of this phenomenal growth for service providers and what they should be doing to get the most out of this opportunity. But as I'm not one to shirk a challenge, here are Amdocs' forecasts for 2013.
First off, we're going to see a move away from service providers just worrying about the operational challenge of managing big data to operators beginning to realise the business opportunity that big data brings. Perhaps the most crucial differentiator in the service provider's armory against their over-the-top (OTT) competitors is the customer experience they provide their subscribers.
By capturing more customer data and then using analytics to offer proactive and contextual experiences, service providers will be able to offer more enhanced services relevant to the individual subscriber. Furthermore, service providers will also be able to provide improved customer care by proactively managing their relationship with their customers.
Which neatly brings me to our second prediction: service providers are going to make omni-channel a top priority for 2013. They will be following the example of leading retail vendors who have already made omni-channel part of their business strategy. For example, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao has said, "Vodafone wants to be the Amazon of telcos", not in terms of selling but rather top-class customer service.
Role of smartphones
At present, despite an increased investment in online, self-service channels so as to improve customer care, empower the customer and reduce costs through fewer calls to the call centre, customers are still finding these channels cumbersome and often have to phone the call centre to reach a satisfactory resolution of their query or attempted purchase. In this context, we will also see that smartphones and smartphone self-care applications will play a significant role in the way customers interact with their service providers.
Service providers will integrate their different channels so that customers will be able to interact with their service provider via the channel that they prefer, and continue this interaction from one channel to another seamlessly. For example, if I want to change my data package, I want to be able to do the research on my PC at the office, save a draft order in my shopping cart, think about it on the way home, making changes to the order on my smartphone and then make my purchase from my tablet later in the evening, without having to start all over again from scratch. It's all about simplifying the experience for the consumer.
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