[Shenzhen, China, Oct 27, 2021] The catalyst project “Leveraging AI/ML to drive CX business outcomes proactively”, won the TM Forum “best implementation of innovative technology solutions” award for generating business value and deliverables for customer experience (CX) standards and best practices. The TM Forum Awards ceremony was held during DTWS 2021.
The “Leveraging AI/ML to drive CX business outcomes proactively” catalyst project is a joint innovation program by Huawei, leading communication service providers (CSPs) and partners which harness the full power of AI to more accurately discover customer needs and context. The catalyst project reveals where the biggest CX gaps are, and which CX aspects we can leverage to drive better business outcomes. With these insights, CSPs and partners are able to invest in CX more strategically and prudently, thereby giving them the best Return on Experience (RoX) and achieving experience centric business operations.
Huawei Wins 2021 TM Forum Best Implementation of Innovative Technology Solutions for Leveraging AI/ML to Drive CX Business Outcomes Proactively Catalyst
The “new normal” brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the arrival of the digital economy, and presents many exciting business growth opportunities for telecommunications in both consumer and enterprise businesses. For CSPs, delivering a superior Customer Experience will be key to their success in capturing these opportunities.
Customers are becoming more sophisticated and more demanding of their experiences. Meeting the rising customer expectations and managing the CX is is more and more challenging as they are more inclined to interact with companies in social digital way.
Usually, CSPs used KPIs to measure customer experience and drive the Operation to achieve the best results, such as low call drop rate, fast download speeds, low latency, no video freezes, plus efficient support and fast billing. However, CSPs and customers were not always talking the same language resulting in that many CX initiatives fail to deliver tangible business results by not knowing deeply customer’s needs and experiences from their perspective, and failing to find which areas of Customer Experience is necessary to invest to get the best Return of Experience for the business.
Ideally, CSPs should have an in-depth understanding of their customers, and be able to associate CX with business results so that sound CX investment decisions can be made to obtain the best RoX. In order to achieve this goal, the members of this project believe that systematic business operations transformation is needed.
Firstly, a unified experience strategy consensus should be formed within the company, and from this an experience-driven organizational governance structure and customer-centric culture can be created. This should be supported by cross-business collaboration driven by experience insights developed from merged engineering and business data. In this way, CSPs will have a better understanding of how customers interact with their brands and how changes in customer experience requirements will affect customer lifetime value and corporate financial status. With a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of customer experience investment and effect, CSPs can create more value for customers while improving their own business profitability.
The members of this project worked together to create an Intelligent Experience Operations system. The Intelligent Experience Operations system is based on a "1+4" framework for exploration and practice. The framework begins with business intent to gain a comprehensive insight into customer experience, then identifies key experience factors that affect business, and prescribes recommendations for experience improvement. Under the leadership of a corporate-level customer experience management team, the various functional departments of a CSP can align their initiatives to improve end-to-end customer experience, closing the loop to action business intent.
Figure 1. Intelligent Experience Operations System
First, the unified customer experience strategy must be established. The strategy is then implemented through initiatives developed under four major strategic pillars:
• Executive-level CX leadership: This can be achieved through the formation of an independent CX organization or a cross-functional virtual team. This CX leadership team, which has to be led by senior business stakeholders, is responsible for setting the CX business goals and their governance, and for ensuring coordination between various functional departments, such as marketing, customer service, and network, to jointly improve CX and ensure that business goals are met.
• Corporate-wide CX Measures: In order to drive CX improvement and understand its impact to business goals, a set of corporate-wide standardized CX measures is key. This set of measures must comprehensively evaluate the full customer lifecycle experience, starting from business intent. One such CX measure is Customer Experience Index+ (CEI+), designed to reflect customer experience on a large scale, in near real-time, adaptively, and capturing customer emotions in every experience as much as possible. To do this successfully, cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics have to be leveraged in the CX measurement system. An AI/ML enabled CEI+ can help CSPs identify and predict the experience gaps that affect business results (such as revenue, churn, satisfaction, etc.), and propose optimization recommendations. stc in particular have adopted CEI+ as a pivotal key strategic initiative towards the ‘new Normal’.
Figure 2. Conceptually CEI+ can have less time lag and distortion
• Customer Centric Culture: To achieve CX business goals, changing the mindset and attitude of employees towards customer-centricity is critical. A customer-centric culture improves the empathy of employees during their interactions with customers, enabling them to better understand the customer’s needs and experiences, and allowing them to develop products and solutions that best meet the expectations of customers. With an intelligent CX measurement system providing experience gap analysis and next best actions, employees can be more proactive, responsive and effective in all customer interactions, while improved cross-functional collaboration can serve to close-the-loop when addressing CX issues.
• Data Driven Digital Operations Management: A new operations management model is needed in order to achieve the necessary efficiency and accuracy of business decision-making, and to deliver effective closed-loop operations. This new operations management model should be based on a customer-centric data and analytics platform that provides intelligent customer experience analytics, including digital-twin modeling & business simulations. Pre-built domain data models and supporting algorithms can enable organization-wide adoption – starting from business intent and continually providing valuable actionable insights and recommendations to all functions. By utilizing the platform’s knowledge center, model-based processes and business decision engines, customer insights and recommended actions can be automatically output to downstream business systems, such as systems for marketing recommendation, customer complaint handling, network planning and optimization. In this way, a closed-loop linking business intent to results, across all functions, can be realized.
Together, these pillars have enabled our project team members to adapt to the ever-changing market environment and effectively realize business potential. Based on the new operating model, Telco-operators can better understand CX and demands at different stages of the customer lifecycle, such as customer acquisition, value growth and retention. With CX at the center of their business operations, powered by intelligent customer experience analytics, and tighter cross-functional collaborations, our project team members have been able to improve customer loyalty and lifetime value, achieve closed-loop delivery of business intent, and ultimately guarantee the long-term and stable development of their enterprises.
Our project team members have achieved the following positive business results:
• stc developed the whole holistic approach to drive customer experience using the solution on all contact points, avoiding human intervention and errors. stc is aiming to improve churn rate for High Value Customers by 1% in the first 6 months and 3-5% for the first year. stc is also targeting an improvement in LTV for fixed line customers while maintaining its leadership in the Saudi market against incoming fixed-line competitors.
• HKT was able to achieve operational efficiency and tangible business outcomes in H1 2021. The growth in the number of 5G users continues to be very strong and is expected to reach 20% by the end of 2021, while the monthly churn rate in the first half of this year has dropped by about 20%.
• Telecom Argentina (TA) is able to establish one unified language about user experience among their network, marketing and customer experience departments which enables TA to improve the operation efficiency, and supports the transformation to a customer-centric culture, organization and processes. Among other indicators, the company managed to increase the satisfaction of its mobile connectivity customers (+10 NPS points), reduced 50% the start time of videos on its content platform over the mobile network, and developed marketing campaigns to improve VOLTE services.
• China Mobile (An Hui province) has achieved more efficient customer experience assurance, and hopes to further enhance its business agility in how customer responsiveness, prediction accuracy, and investment costs are balanced in their intelligent experience operation system.
• China Unicom has used digitization and intelligence to improve customer experience, focusing on the whole lifecycle of pre-sales, in-sales and after-sales. Through open and reusable data assets and data analysis capabilities they have been able to truly realize the use of business data to drive business growth and create business value.
Mohammad S. Alsalim, Assurance & CEx Strategy General Manager, Corporate Customer Experience, stc. said “Our collaboration with TM Forum has been a great pivot for our achievements in the past few years. We built the whole model on TM Forum Customer Journeys and are now using lots of TM Forum resources to expedite our work and to stay ahead of the curve. Our partnership with Huawei and TM Forum through participation in the TM Forum Catalyst project “Leveraging AI/ML to drive CX business outcomes proactively” has helped us a lot to evolve and revolve Customer experience and associated RoX. stc-CCEx will continue working with all our partners to unleash all potential RoX around CEx and Digital Customer Experience and we all are happy to share our experience and benefits of this Catalyst with all TM Forum associates as needed.”
“Through participation in this project, with CEI Solution, Telecom Argentina (TECO) is able to have one unified language talking about user experience for network, MKT and Customer experience multi department and teams. Via autonomous CEI Monitoring->Demarcation->RCA solution, combined with a customer-centric culture, organization and processes, TECO improved its operation efficiency.” said Gaston De Arriba, Network & Service Assurance Director, Telecom Argentina. “We are very proud of being part of this multicultural team that achieved not only the recognition of TM Forum experts but also generated relevant results for the industry, applying cutting-edge technology to enhance customer experience”.
“Through participation in the TM Forum Catalyst Project ‘Leveraging AI/ML to drive CX business outcomes proactively’, HKT remains alert to rapidly changing market dynamics and is agile in responding to evolving customer needs. Customer 5G upgrade with superior experience, and the digitalization needs of our enterprises customers are a powerful driver for us to transform toward Autonomous Operations for growth in near term. As a whole, HKT will continue to work with partners to unleash the potential within our digital infrastructure and digital businesses including our loyalty program, e-Commerce, Fintech and Health Tech to create value to stakeholders. ” said Derek Chen, AVP, Customer Services,HKT.
“Bonree has had a strategic goal to expand internationally since our original listing. Although the impact of the global epidemic has temporarily slowed our international expansion, we are delighted with the opportunity the TM Forum Catalyst program has afforded us to showcase our superior technology in the user experience and AI fields, as well as allowing us to learn from and innovate with other leading companies such as Saudi Telecom Company and Huawei. We are pleased to be making contributions to international standards in the global telecommunications field as this not only helps the industry develop, but also provides us with great experience and acts as a foundation for our future international growth. We are looking forward to serving more international customers to help them benefit from the innovative techniques demonstrated in this Catalyst project.” said Yang Xuesong, General Manager, Customer Success Center, Bonree.
"By joining TM Forum programs, Huawei will continue to invest in digital technology to build up future experience driven autonomous operations through Huawei AI-powered solutions like HUAWEI SmartCare®, while contributing to create industry standards and new best practices. This will enable Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to accelerate digital operations transformation through building open and intelligent digital capabilities. The continuous and fruitful cooperation with TM Forum, CSPs and industry partners inspires us to develop further.” Said Liang Shiming, Managing Director, Huawei Consulting & System Integration Marketing & Solution Dept.
This solution approach has the potential to significantly change the mindset of operators towards customer-centricity – impacting how all functional units collaborate to better serve their customers (both B2C and B2B), to maximize the value of data and experience, to accelerate digital transformation, and to enable CSPs to develop their business by leaps and bounds.
Follow this link for more information on the Catalyst project: https://myaccount.tmforum.org/networks/21-0-197/index.html