The value proposition behind all customer self service solutions are
1) Drive down the cost to
2) Increase the value and
control perceived by the customer
This paradigm may seem easy enough to understand, but the selection,
testing, and implementation of solutions that actually meet those criteria are quite
Engineer's Dream, Customer's Nightmare
Unfortunately, in far
too many cases, telcos jump in and implement new self-service solutions before they
evaluating just what the impact on customers will be. In case after case, management
chooses to go with a fancy, technologically advanced solution only to find that
its implementation has the opposite impact on customers than anticipated. The problem
is that telco executives tend to be engineers (at heart, if not in reality) and
they can quickly fall under the spell of new technologies.
For example, one telco implemented a menu-driven customer service front-end
to reduce call center traffic. The system was so cumbersome and confusing that customers
actually spent a significantly longer time on the phone and were so upset by the
time they finally talked to a call center rep that the actual costs of the call
center escalated by 5%.
In another situation, a self-provisioning system was developed for a
cost of $500,000 based on an estimate that 10% of the customers would use it, thereby
reducing other demands. After one year, only .05% of the customers used the system,
making the net impact of the implementation extremely poor.