In the long term, there is no better means of decreasing customer churn rate than offering a high-quality network backed up by top-end customer service. Using smart algorithms for automating network incident management, 2operate offers a simple, elegant software solution to help increase customer satisfication and, crucially, retention.
Recent studies in customer experience management indicate that the greatest determining factors behind churn in the long term are network quality and customer care. Agressive marketing and price wars are also important, but they tend to have a more momentary effect.
The figure (right) illustrates that the long-term effect of different churn factors tend to correspond to the time it takes to implement changes: price reductions are quickly implemented, but competition will probably also react quickly, and the effect is short term. On the other hand, it will typically take time to implement significant improvements in network quality, but the effect is long term.
To become the market winner, you want to move towards the upper-left corner of the figure, achieving long-term positive impact on churn rates in a shorter time. Innovative approaches to network-quality improvements and effective branding campaigns are what you should be looking for.
The challenge of network complexity
The introduction of TE and, soon, 5G means increasing network complexity and more load on technical personnel in network operations. The need for more effective network assurance solutions is constantly growing. To overcome this, the answer is not to increase the number of staff, as this will just drain profits and more staff may also increase the complexity of the organisation. Another option would be outsourcing of network operations (managed services), which seems attractive because at least complexity is removed from the service-provider organisation. However, network complexity is not reduced by hiding it behind SLA agreements and monitoring; control is actually lost, and it may become difficult to implement the changes needed to win the market.
A big issue about network complexity is the fact that it is constantly evolving - and increasing. As there is a constant movement, it is difficult for engineers to gain sufficient insight and spend enough time to communicate about the network to the rest of the organisation. The lack of network visibility to customer care, sales teams, management and other stakeholders is a critical obstacle to organisational productivity. So, in order to deal with complexity, you need to find ways to increase the level of network understanding and visibility, thereby opening up for process simplifications and automation, and finally achieving network quality improvements more effectively than competitors.
Simplification and automation
How can a highly experience-based task such as network incident troubleshooting be simplified or even automated? The answer lies in modern mathematics: huge amounts of resources have been spent over the past decades to develop concepts for automated diagnostics in medical and technical domains. In particular, the task of computing the most likely problems (diseases) from a set of observations (symptoms) was made possible by Bayesian networks, a combination of traditional probability theory and causal diagrams, named after the English statistician and philosopher, Thomas Bayes, who came up with the fundamental rule.
Bayesian networks enable engineers to sequester knowledge into knowledge bases that can then be used in daily operations for diagnosing incidents automatically, even by non-technical staff lacking the skills to conclude anything from raw network data.
Capturing engineering knowledge and using it for automated incident analytics helps network operators to achieve a high level of network visibility and thereby boost organisational productivity. One of the great things about mobile networks is that they are the same all over the world. Today, there are more than 500 GSM networks from only a few equipment vendors. This means that captured knowledge from Brazil may be shared and reused in Germany.
2operate is a young Danish provider of OSS software that has developed an innovative solution for mobile network incident management using Bayesian networks for automated incident diagnostics. The solution comes with preconfigured knowledge bases developed by experienced engineers for all network technologies and main vendors, so the time to get up and running is just a few weeks, with no overhead for knowledge capture.