Helpdesk 2.0 : Subscribers Help Themselves. Operators Reduce Churn


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Over the last decade, customer service excellence has emerged as a core strategy for telecommunications operators with the aim of satisfying subscribers and keeping them loyal. Over time, various customer service channels have surfaced, with call centers being highly preferred due to the personal touch and instant response, however, this option weighs heavily on OPEX and resources.

This paper examines an alternative and more cost-effective approach, through the means of personal digital assistants. This method encourages self-care amongst subscribers and reduces reliance on call centers. It brings about a whole new era in error diagnosis and problem resolution, hence the term Help Desk 2.0. Find out more about how Help Desk 2.0 works and benefits operators, particularly in the area of cost savings and churn reduction.

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  • That´s very interesting. I think the whole area of customer care should undergo great transformation, it is obvious that with the current system cost is prioritized over service (see the whole outsourcing debate) but in the long run it can only bring to dissatisfaction on the part the customers. Already the cloud revolution has taken major steps in a new direction, but that should not stop us from seeking new ways for a dedicated customer service which is both effective AND cheap.
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Helpdesk 2.0 : Subscribers Help Themselves. Operators Reduce Churn

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  2. 2. AbstractOver the last decade, customer service excellence has emerged as a core strategy fortelecommunications operators with the aim of satisfying subcribers and keeping them loyal. Overtime, various customer service channels have surfaced, with call centers being highly preferred dueto the personal touch and instant response, however, this option weighs heavily on OPEX andresources.This paper examines an alternative and more cost-effective approach, through the means ofpersonal digital assistants. This method encourages self-care amongst subscribers and reducesreliance on call centers. It brings about a whole new era in error diagnosis and problem resolution,hence the term Help Desk 2.0. Find out more about how Help Desk 2.0 works and benefitsoperators, particularly in the area of cost savings and churn reduction.APPLICATION NOTE
  3. 3. Operators Say: Our Subscribers Are Important To Us!Throughout the world, the telecommunications industry shares something in common – it ranks top three on thecustomer complaint index. This love-hate relationship between subscribers and their operators is nothing new, but oflate, it is more apparent through progandas via social networking channels and blog sites.The danger of customer complaints is its impact on churn rates. In research conducted by TOTE-M, the second highestfactor contributing to churn is complaints at 22% as shown in Figure 1. Price 39% Complaints 22% Outdated Product Features 20% Forced Change 10% Friend’s Recommendation 10% Involvement with Company 9% Customer Service % Company Image 6% Annoyed by Welcome Offer 5%Source: TOTE-MFigure 1: Factors contributing to churnThe good news is operators do care about the complaints raised against them and are taking efforts to change thingsaround. Looking after subscribers is a key differentiator as reputation for good customer care is harder to emulatecompared to new services or price plans. According to Telecoms Asia, in a survey of mobile operators in UK, the MVNOVirgin Mobile ranked higher compared to its network provider – an outcome contributed by excellent customer service.In a separate study also conducted by Telecom Asia, more than 60% of respondents said that customer-orientedfunctions, comprising of customer care/self-care and customer experience management (CEM) are gaining momentumas shown in Figure 2. Operators around the world who are running CEM initiatives have doubled, indicating a growingemphasis on customer service quality as a sizeable concern in an operator’s business. 01APPLICATION NOTE
  4. 4. Customer care/self-care 63.6% Customer experience management 61% % Business analytics/ 70 66% 32.5% business intelligence 60 58% Content partner management 31.2% 50 34% Billing (rating and charging) 29.9% 40 Product lifecycle management 27.3% 30 20 Interconnect and cost management 23.4% 10 Revenue assureance and fraud 22.1% 0 2008 2009 2010 Usage data mediation 19.5% Other (please specify) %Source: Telecom Asia, April 2010 Source: Telecom AsiaFigure 2: Customer-oriented functions receiving the most attention Figure 3: The increasing percentage of operators worldwide running CEM initiativesToday’s Customer Care ChannelsTo date, there are many channels through which operators reach out to their subscribers; this includes call centers,website, webchat, email, fax, service centers and of late through social networking sites. Among these channels, callcenter is most preferred (refer to Figure 4) for the simple reason that there is a fellow human to interact with and most ofthe time, the issue is resolved immediately, as opposed to sending an email and waiting for a response within 48 hours– two key elements here are personal touch and instant resolution. 3% 3% 5% 9% Call center agents Email Web Web chat 56% SMS 24% Others 02 Source: Ovum/Genesysm Survey Figure 4: Typical customer service channelsAPPLICATION NOTE
  5. 5. Though subscribers favour call center, it is the most expensive channel to implement and maintain. As such, thechallenge for operators is to gentlely migrate subscribers to alternative support systems to reduce call center traffic andsave resources. One of the ways to reduce reliance on call centers is by encouraging a self-care habit amongstsubscribers. Weaning subscribers away from their preferred channel i.e. the call center can be a daunting task, especiallywhen other channels do not provide the fundamental factor of personal touch and instant resolution.Hence, how can operators meet these factors to promote self-care among subscribers? Which channel do they deploy?The answer lies in introducing personal, digital assistants to each subscriber – let’s call this Help Desk 2.0. Read moreabout Help Desk 2.0 in the next section.The above factors prove the growth potential of WiMAX. It is important to note that while these countries are rich withnatural and human resources, affordability is relatively low. With this in mind, WiMAX Operators have to offer affordablepackages without jeopardizing ARPU. In addition to requiring fixed (indoor) modems, emerging markets needeconomical WiMAX modems. 03APPLICATION NOTE
  6. 6. Help Desk 2.0 - The New Age Customer Self-Care ToolWeb 2.0 was introduced in conjunction with the evolution of World Wide Web, facilitating rich interactivity, informationsharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration via the Internet. In short, Web 2.0 referenced the nextgeneration of Internet.Likewise, Help Desk 2.0 refers to the next generation of a help desk system. In traditional help desk systems, subscriberswould relate their ordeal to an agent who mans the help desk system. Issues encountered are diagnosed by the agentto identify a solution for the subscriber. This time and effort consuming effort will only be fruitful if the subscriber narratesthe problems and symptoms accurately to the agent. Failing which, a useless or zero solution can be rendered.Help Desk 2.0 mitigates these problems. Through the advantages of artificial intelligence and information systems,operators can offer digital assistants to each subscriber for the purpose of automated troubleshooting andproblem-solving from the subscriber’s end. The digital assistant will be in the form of a software which can be installedon subscriber’s PC or mobile devices. Subscribers can launch the software for troubleshooting assistance and resolutionwithout having to get in touch with the call center. In short, with Help Desk 2.0, operators are tranferring the help desk tosubscribers’ PCs and empowering them with the right technology to solve their own problems or update their profile.The increased attention on self-care is mainly driven by cost-savings but it also gives subscribers control at his/herconvenience, making life easier for both operators and subscribers. To date, self-care tools are confined to querychoices, profile updates and subscription information (such as bonus points, package details etc). Through Help Desk2.0, operators can extend their self-care options to include assistance on connectivity issues.Why connectivity? From Greenpacket’s research on a selected operator1 in Asia Pacific, findings report that 84% ofcustomer complaints are connectivity-based as shown in Figure 5. Further results on this operator are also shared inupcoming sections to illustrate how Instinq SDS offers cost savings and reduces churn related costs. Breakdown of Subscriber Complaints 16% 36% Unable to Connect Unable to Surf Slow Connection 24% Others 24% Figure 5: 84% of subscriber complaints are due to connectivity issuesHow can operators embark on their very own Help Desk 2.0 to combat connectivity concerns faced by subscribers? 041 Name has been withheld to protect the interest of the operator. Figures stated may vary significantly in differentregions and countries.APPLICATION NOTE
  7. 7. The Way Into Help Desk 2.0:Greenpacket’s Instinq Self-Healing Diagnostic SystemGreenpacket’s Instinq Self-Healing Diagnostic System (Instinq SDS) is an intelligent solution that proactively diagnosesand automatically resolves connectivity issues in offline and online mode, making support efforts easier than ever. Byincorporating artificial intelligence (AI), it provides a spur-of-the-moment troubleshooting and problem resolution withoutthe intervention of customer support personnel. This is done through built-in knowledge models that contain intelligenceto identify and solve connectivity glitches. Figure 6: Self-Healing Diagnostic Manager (client component)Though there are several factors that contribute to connectivity problems, a significant fraction can be attributed todevices, particularly in wireless broadband. For example, due to high frequencies used, radio waves (in wirelessconnectivity) have poor indoor penetration. If subscribers are guided on how to place their modems for optimum signalstrength, connectivity can be improved.With this in mind, Greenpacket’s Instinq SDS, which can be installed on subscribers’ PCs, laptops and handhelddevices, is able to automatically scan the current environment to diagnose and solve connectivity issues. If required,subscribers will be prompted with instructional messages to help in the problem-solving process.Instinq SDS is designedto take self-care beyond profile updates to help operators handle technical hitches at the last mile level without burdeningcustomer support. 05APPLICATION NOTE
  8. 8. How Does Instinq SDS Work?Instinq SDS consists of two components – Self-Healing Diagnostic Manager (client component) and DiagnosticKnowledge Server (server component).Self-Healing Diagnostic Manager can be installed on PCs, laptops and handheld devices to perform auto-diagnosis,online troubleshooting and self-healing on device specific problems in an easy and intuitive manner. Possible connectivityissues and corrective actions (called knowledge base) are pre-engineered into the client component.On the other hand, the Diagnostic Knowledge Server can reside on the Operator’s core network or engaged through ahosted business model. It is an artificial intelligence expert system that hosts the central knowledge models of thesystem, based on Bayesian network. This server components aggregates and shares new or unknown connectivityissues between client components within the network. It facilitates rule updates and generates predictive reports that aidin churn management efforts. Step 1 Step 5 Self-Healing Diagnostic With the updated knowledge model, Self-Healing Manager begins diagnosing Diagnostic Knowledge Server propagates Diagnostic Manager WiMAX modem after new models to other Self-Healing detecting symptoms on Diagnostic Managers within the network connectivity issues. via automatic updates. Step 2 Based on the preloaded corrective actions stored, Internet Self-Healing Diagnostic Manager determine the potential root cause and attempts to self-heal or Diagnostic suggests corrective Knowledge actions. Server Step 3 Step 4 Self-Healing Diagnostic Manager sends Diagnostic Knowledge Server receives new systoms, device information, data from the Self-Healing Diagnostic connection status and usage information Manager, then analyzes, updates and to the Diagnostic Knowledge Server over trains the knowledge engine to learn the Internet, at scheduled interval. about the device behavior.Figure 7: A Summary of How Instinq Works in a WiMAX Network 06APPLICATION NOTE
  9. 9. Why Operators Need Greenpacket’s Self-HealingDiagnostic System? Cost Savings Reduce Happy Call Center Customers Traffic Instinq SDS Gain Reduce Competitive Churn Edge Figure 8: Benefits gained by implementing Greenpacket’s Instinq Self-Healing Diagnostic SystemCost SavingsCall centers or traditional help desk systems weigh heavily on human capital, time and financial resources. This isundeniably one of the main factors that is prompting operators to look for cost-effective alternatives in supporting theirsubscribers. By letting subscribers help themselves through a self-care mechanism to address connectivity issues,reliance on customer support is reduced. As a result, customer care OPEX costs can be reduced. Simulation A simulation on cost savings gained through Instinq SDS was conducted on the above-mentioned operator. For the purpose of this simulation, the following is assumed: Total Subscriber Base 100,000 (at growth rate of 10,000 new subscribers/month) Average Total Customer Support Call per Month 40,000 Customer Call Ratio 40% Cost per Call (in USD) $ 1.00 Target Customer Support Call Reduction 10% (4,000 calls are targetted to be reduced per month) 07APPLICATION NOTE
  10. 10. Cost Profile (Before Reduction) Cost Profile (After Reduction) Cost Savings Total Number Total Number of Total Cost Total Customer Total Number of Total Cost Total Savings Quarter of Subscribers Customer Calls (USD) Calls Call Reduced (USD) (USD) Q1 2009 330,000 132,000 $132,000 $118,800 $13,200 $118,800 $13,200 Q2 2009 420,000 168,000 $168,000 $151,200 $16,800 $151,200 $16,800 Q3 2009 540,000 204,000 $204,000 $194,400 $21,600 $183,600 $20,400 Q4 2009 600,000 240,000 $240,000 $216,000 $24,000 $216,000 $24,000 TOTAL $744,000 $669,600 $74,400 Total Cost Saving in 1 year = $ 74,400Reduce Call Center TrafficAll call centers have a limited numbers of agents serving the entire subscriber base of an operator. Studies have shownthat 15% of calls to a call center do not require contact with a customer support executive. Hence, it is important to utilizethe available resources in the most effective way.As Instinq SDS is able to automatically diagnose and solve connectivity issues from the subscriber’s end, calls to the callcenter can be reduced. Meanwhile, customer support efforts are reserved for more critical issues and a healthy supportturnaround time is maintained.Additionally, with built-in knowledge models, common connectivity issues can be healed automatically without goingthrough manual troubleshooting efforts. Automated technical support for the entire network is further improved viacontinuous updates of new knowledge models.Reduce ChurnChurn is every operator’s pain area and it impacts the bottomline. According to Chorleywood Consultancy, decreasingchurn rate by 1% will increase operator’s profit by 6%. What’s more, every subscriber churned translates to lost futurerevenue (from the subscriber) and a waste of resources spent to acquire the subscriber. Due to intense competition inthe telecoms industry, it costs hundreds of dollars to acquire a new subscriber.Aside from the cost factors, every unsatisfied subscriber will share his/her negative experience with at least twice asmany people as he/she would with a positive experience. This form of unconstructive testimonials can increase churnand deteriorates the operator’s reputation. 08From Greenpacket’s analysis, root causes for churn include connectivity. Figure 9 gives a breakdownof factors contributing to churn and connectivity issues contribute 37%.APPLICATION NOTE
  11. 11. Instinq SDS is designed to improve users’ satisfaction andreduce churn. Firstly, through automated diagnosis and Othersself-healing capabilities, connectivity issues are reduced and 12%satisfaction rate is maintained. Secondly, based on connectivitybehaviour, subscribers at risk can be predicted through churn No coverage Connectivitystatistics and this prepares the operator to implement more issues 51%effective CRM initiatives targetting affected subscribers and 37%prevent possible churn. Figure 9: Root causes of churn Simulation A simulation on cost savings gained a lesser churn rate was conducted on the earlier mentioned operator. For the purpose of this simulation, the following is assumed: Total Subscriber Base 100,000 (at growth rate of 10,000 new subscribers/month) Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) of Each Subscriber $ 25 Current Churn Rate 5% Subscriber Retention Rate (through Instinq SDS) 50% Cost Profile (Before Churn Reduction) Cost Profile (After Churn Reduction) Cost Savings Total Loss of Total Number Total Loss of Total Number Nett Loss of Nett Loss of Total Savings Quarter Opportunity of Customer Opportunity of Subscribers Customers Customers (USD) Cost (USD) Retained Cost (USD) Q1 2009 330,000 16,500 $412,500 8,250 8,250 $206,250 $206,250 Q2 2009 420,000 21,000 $525,000 10,500 10,500 $262500 $262500 Q3 2009 510,000 25,500 $637,500 12,750 12,750 $318,750 $318,750 Q4 2009 600,000 30,000 $750,000 15,000 15,000 $375,000 $375,000 TOTAL $2,325,000 $1,162,500 $1,162,500 Total Churn Cost Savings in 1 year = $ 1,162, 500 09APPLICATION NOTE
  12. 12. Gain Competitive EdgeGain competitive advantage by offering subscribers a variety of customer support channels and at the same time beinnovative by offering state-of-the-art self-care solutions like Instinq SDS which give subscribers the ability to stay incontrol of their device and being informed of possible connectivity issues for necessary remedial actions. This reducesdevice-related connectivity disruptions for enhanced user experience.Additionally, Instinq SDS provides predictive statistics that help operators gain deeper understanding of subscribers’usage patterns and preferences for the development of effective customer retention strategies and a more focusedmarketing campaign. Through specially tailored programs, subscribers stay loyal and the positive user experience aidsin attracting new subscribers.Happy CustomersSubscribers expect nothing less than a stable and meaningful connectivity experience from their telco operators. Hence,the very issue of poor connectivity can lead to unhappy customers.Through Instinq SDS, operators are able to address connectivity issues contributed by the device and provide easy,step-by-step instructions to subscribers where required. Additionally, subscribers are in control of their usage and areable to help themselves anytime, again resulting in better user experience. 10APPLICATION NOTE
  13. 13. Implement Your Help Desk 2.0 System Now!All around the world, operators are looking for better and more creative ways to support their subscribers better andreduce cost at the same time. At Greenpacket, we understand the demands placed on operators. That is why weempower you to offer subscribers more than just high-speed connectivity, our innovation will provide you with endlessways to engage with subscribers and enhance relationships.With Greenpacket, limitless freedom begins now!Free Consultation!If you would like a free consultation on how you can implemetn your Help Desk 2.0 system, please contact us (kindly quote the reference code, AP0510 when you contact us). 11APPLICATION NOTE
  14. 14. References1. Challenges of the Telecom Customer Care Center, Steve Kaish, CosmoCom Inc2. The Winning Ingredient: Customer Care, Joseph Waring, Telecom Asia (April 2010)3. Improve Service with Better IVR Design, Max Parry – Value Partners, Telecom Asia (April 2010)4. CRM for Telecoms: Nailing the Customer Experience, E Commerce Times ( Report on Loyalty, (Potential) Churn and Testimonials 2009, TOTE-M 12APPLICATION NOTE
  15. 15. About Green Packet Greenpacket is the international arm of the Green Packet Berhad group of companies which is listed on the Main Board of the Malaysian Bourse. Founded in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley in 2000 and now headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Greenpacket has a presence in 9 countries and is continuously expanding to be near its customers and in readiness for new markets. We are a leading developer of Next Generation Mobile Broadband and Networking Solutions for Telecommunications Operators across the globe. Our mission is to provide seamless and unified platforms for the delivery of user-centric multimedia communications services regardless of the nature and availability of backbone infrastructures. At Greenpacket, we pride ourselves on being constantly at the forefront of technology. Our leading carrier-grade solutions and award-winning consumer devices help Telecommunications Operators open new avenues, meet new demands, and enrich the lifestyles of their subscribers, while forging new relationships. We see a future of limitless freedom in wireless communications and continuously commit to meeting the needs of our customers with leading edge solutions. With product development centers in USA, Shanghai, and Taiwan, we are on the cutting edge of new developments in 4G (particularly WiMAX and LTE), as well as in software advancement. Our leadership position in the Telco industry is further enhanced by our strategic alliances with leading industry players. Additionally, our award-winning WiMAX modems have successfully completed interoperability tests with major WiMAX players and are being used by the world’s largest WiMAX Operators. We are also the leading carrier solutions provider in APAC catering to both 4G and 3G networks and aim to be No. 1 globally by the end of 2010. For more information, visit: Francisco · Kuala Lumpur · Singapore · Shanghai · Taiwan · Sydney · Bahrain · Bangkok · Hong Kong Associate MemberCopyright © 2001-2010 Green Packet Berhad. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language, in any formby any means, without the written permission of Green Packet Berhad. Green Packet Berhad reserves the right to modify or discontinue any product or piece of literature at anytime without prior notice.