Deployment of 4G has seeded discussions on advanced topics like the implementation of 5G services that is anticipated to be launched globally in 2020. With this new wave in the telecom milieu, India comes across to be striving hard in adapting to the altering DNA of the sector. In this chaos what is being disregarded is that the ‘Indian consumer’ is staring blindly at a bitter incongruity caused by severe ground level follies.
What seems rather ironical is the fact that the decision makers are pondering upon further progressive technologies when services like 3G have still not seen 100% penetration. Additionally, even 4G has only recently seen the light of day after almost 4 years of spectrum allocation. To utter astonishment, the industry is talking of deploying radical technologies when grim ground level issues are continually hampering existing service quality.
The low quality of service brings to my mind almost instantaneously a recent functioning devil termed ‘Call Drop.’ With everyone from operators to the DoT talking of this operative gap, I sense that the permeation of services like 4G and 5G are merely fanciful contemplations.
This ‘Call drop’ issue seems to have contributed immensely towards deteriorating the already low levels of customer experience. Reasons like spectrum shortage, telcos struggle with debts and the tearing down of mobile towers are being used to answer the disconcerted subscriber base.
The cacophony has recently amplified with the news of disagreement between the DoT and the operators. On one hand, the DoT is blaming the operators for having strategically planned the call drop commotion and on the other the operators are passing the buck by indicting the department for the tightly held spectrum.
Does this commotion really concern the customer? Do they bother about the nuances that are creating this pandemonium? NO, is the answer. As subscribers they only value experience and playing the blame game is having no bearing on their mind.
At this stage it becomes pivotal to understand that the face of the telecom capability is the operator and any back end glitch will only leave an ineffaceable blemish on the loyalty levels of their brand solely.
With already concerns like high churn rates and blossoming OTT applications, the falling customer experience might also soon turn into a nightmare for the operators P&L. As one is aware, ever since the times of CRBT (caller ring back tone) the operators have been rapidly trying distinctive approaches to address the problem of low levels of ARPU. With even the most innovative products deployed on networks they have faltered because of poor customer response.
To address the problem of low customer experience, the operators are continually talking of balancing the innovative telecom solutions while combatting the existing deep rooted operational challenges. They are working on strategizing methods of improving the same by aping the developed nations for solving the problems that are unique to India. This folly seems to be the reason for constant failures in improving service quality. Insights like these are making it difficult for experts to recognize the magnanimity of the issues that they might have to face due to falling customer experience levels.
Desperate measures like waiving off the bills due to call drops or any such approach is a short term solution to the concerns of the customer. What needs to be addressed are questions like that of alternates to improving the quality of service and the disposition of other immediate functioning changes. However insignificant such queries might seem today, it is rather important for the authorities to nip them in the bud before they grow beyond the likes of handling.
Operators have to understand the potential benefits of increased customer experience and its eventual benefits like enhanced revenue streams. At present addressing basic issues and redefining the customer relationship is what is needed to be done. They must be ready to prove that they can propose high-quality, state-of-the-art and reliable communications services.
The efforts behind enhanced customer experience will eventually provide for the significant investments that are going to be needed for deploying new networking technologies that wait to be unmasked in the coming times. Apart from the operators, the regulators must also devise new schemes to sustain a healthy economic model that bridges the gap between revenue and growth projections.
If such strategizing is worked upon the operators will be encouraged to invest in meeting the growing demand. Furthermore, the deployment, up-gradation and maintenance of networks as well as boosting revenue generation from increased subscriber base will be added benefits for the industry in entirety.
The need of the hour for both the regulator and the operator is to find a way to optimize revenues from different customer segments, especially those that value service quality and superior customer experiences.
India as a market needs to come to terms with the fact that we cannot function like the developed economies. This acceptance might give us the prudence of not trying to duplicate international strategies to combat problems that are exclusive to us.
We as an economy should definitely deliberate on being ambitious but only after we have a plan to iron out the tactical problems we are facing. With almost 250 million mobile internet users India falls second after the US, thus, the struggle to tackle colossal issues to provide undisruptive connectivity across the subscriber base becomes a major disquiet.
To conclude, the only necessity I see at this point is of building a ‘customer first’ industry. I am rather intrigued to find out how one of the most pivotal industries will work its way around the current situation and advance towards improved customer experience.
Founder and CEO, mCarbon Tech Innovation Pvt. Ltd.
Rajesh is a new age entrepreneur who founded mCarbon in early 2008 to create a compelling platform based offerings for Telco’s to maximize revenues in the areas of usage and retention, customer life cycle and value management. An industry veteran with over 17 years of experience, his vision is to support Telco’s through technology based offerings to help them upsell and cross sell enabling continuous usage and return based business models. In his present capacity as CEO, he steers mCarbon’s strategic vision, corporate development and operations. As a visionary leader, he has successfully mobilized the human potential and has steered the organization towards global success. In the past, Rajesh has served as a member of solution sales team at Nokia Siemens and handled APAC and India region. Formerly, he has held senior positions with leading Telecom Organizations including KPN International Consulting, Ericsson, and Roamware wherein he worked across business development, product management, channels, strategic alliances, marketing and strategy functions.