Few industries have commoditized themselves more than telecommunications. Communications service providers (CSPs) risk becoming mere utilities and, at the same time, face the disintermediation of the customer relationship. Today’s consumers have a plethora of product and service choices, including those offered by over-the-top (OTT) providers, whose popularity continues.

How can CSPs escape commoditization and differentiate themselves? We believe the next competitive battle will be won by CSPs that can deliver an exceptional customer experience and build brand loyalty through innovative, compelling services tailored to customers’ needs.

Masts

Experiences

As CSPs confront both industry commoditization and continued competition from OTT providers, they also must contend with a knowledgeable and demanding customer base with a shifting focus in value. While today’s consumers still appreciate – and expect – quality telecommunications products and services, they are placing more and more value on their experiences with those products and services.

CSPs should establish an enduring idea they believe in, determine what differentiates the organization, define how this differentiation is primarily experienced and clearly identify who the organization serves. While consumers appreciate the variety of channels offered by their CSP, they would like more consistency across channels. A successful omnichannel approach integrates information and processes, enabling customers to move easily and experience consistency across channels.

In a competitive industry, it is vital to design innovative products and services that are both functional and create emotional, meaningful brand connections. CSPs should embrace tools such as social suggestion boxes, social innovation platforms and online brainstorming sessions, leverage the internal “wisdom of crowds” by facilitating employee innovation, attract partners with new perspectives and complementary competencies and include the customer’s voice by encouraging ideas and feedback.

CSPs need to deepen their customer knowledge through smarter capabilities: • Gain customer insight through big data: These solutions enable real-time information analysis, which is particularly important in telecommunications. Also, predictive analytics can help identify possible customer needs, up-selling opportunities and potential churn, while network performance monitoring solutions can help address issues before customers are affected. In the age of experience, CSPs are forced to re-examine their products, services and operations from the customer’s perspective