Top six ways AI and CX automation revolutionize telcos

Top six ways AI and CX automation revolutionize telcos

Top six ways AI and CX automation revolutionize telcos

14th of December 2020

The evolution of CX

It’s no secret that customer experience (CX) is emerging as the key differentiator for service providers: a Gartner study reports that over two-thirds of marketers say their companies compete primarily on CX. And two modern technologies are facilitating richer and more advanced CX than ever before: artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.

AI is used to mimic human intelligence in responding to situations and conversations. Automation, on the other hand, enables repetitive tasks to run with limited to no human intervention through preset programming. AI and automation, along with customer insights, enhance a telco’s capability to deliver an intelligent customer experience. This powerful combination also revolutionizes the way telcos interact with customers, facilitating them to monitor, track, and manage the customer experience 24x7x365. Artificial intelligence helps operators analyze complex customer behavioral patterns and offer contextual services, plans, and content, whereas automation accelerates these personalized offerings.

Customer care processes have drastically eased with the help of modern, automated, AI-based omnichannel self-care, enabling instant query redressal anytime, anywhere, and on a host of convenient platforms. NLP-based bots and emotional AI can even gauge customer emotions and moods in real-time, enabling personalized support that mimics human responses.

How AI and CX automation transform a telco’s offerings

1. Automated support

A telco’s support and self-care offerings are a major factor in influencing CX. Customers today are less inclined to contact call centers or visit physical stores for support. Instead, they prefer having more control over their accounts to resolve their own issues – using the platform and language of their choice. More telcos are turning to AI technology to improve customer engagement by automating self-care and support offerings. In fact, Servion predicts that, by 2025, AI will power 95% of all customer interactions.

AI chatbots are available for a host of platforms, including web and mobile apps, voice assistants such as Alexa and Cortana, and social platforms like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Having steadily gained popularity, they offer a direct and instant link between customers and the operator. Available round-the-clock, they help customers bypass long wait times to speak with CSRs and avoid lines at physical stores. AI chatbots mimic the experience of interacting with a human agent, understanding the customer’s sentiments and responding accordingly.

Chatbots also offer many benefits to service providers. They reduce burden on support staff at stores and in call centers. All interactions are recorded for operator analysis to improve future offerings. And using machine learning, the bots continue to become “smarter” at responding to customer queries, further reducing resolution times and improving CX. Moreover, AI assistants are also good at cross-selling products.

2. Personalized recommendations

AI helps target the right subscriber or group of subscribers at the right time using an in-depth analysis of customers’ past actions, preferences, and needs, which are collected in the form of data and algorithms. It is a powerful tool that encompasses a variety of statistical techniques to evaluate customers’ future actions, making it easier for telcos to showcase products and services that exactly match customers’ requirements in real-time. Operators capture buying preferences and complete historical data, which is then processed using advanced analytical tools to create targeted contextual offers.

AI empowers marketers to design custom campaigns and promotions based on customer preferences and behavior instead of applying a one-size-fits-all strategy. The predictions equip service providers to be future-ready to monetize offerings and respond efficiently to changing market dynamics, helping them not only offer relevant products to the customer but also to manage the supply chain more efficiently as they modify their offerings. This helps boost customer satisfaction and reduce churn while increasing ARPU, facilitating cross-selling and upselling, and more.

3. Omnichannel experience

A digital-first approach that empowers customers with more than just support through multiple channels, an omnichannel experience consolidates all customer interactions and history on a single converged platform. Using AI as part of a cohesive engagement strategy enables a seamless CX, empowering customers to engage with the service provider no matter what device or platform they use. It enables operators to enhance support offerings, reduce resolution times, and improve CX. AI can be integrated with support to offer insights on customer interactions across channels – insights that CSRs can be granted access to, helping reduce response and resolution times, lessen the burden on CSRs, and boost CX.

4. Automated digital onboarding

Customers today increasingly prefer signing up for new services online rather than visiting a store, even more so considering pandemic-related social distancing norms prevalent in many countries. From order to delivery, the entire process of purchasing a new connection can be automated, assuring customers of a quick, easy, and paperless process using the web, mobile, or any other digital channel of their choosing. Digital onboarding solutions help capture key customer information, documents, biometrics, and more, verifying this information in real-time using for secure onboarding.

5. Delightful innovations

Customers expect a constantly advancing service provider who keeps up with technologies to make their life easier. With the widespread adoption of tools like chatbots and voice assistants, it’s only natural for telcos to keep pace and delight their customers with new and useful technologies driven by AI and automation. One such advancement is voice and speech recognition technology, which has meant that customers can clear their bills using voice-activated payments. The process is automated, and PCI-compliant systems assure the cardholder that their payment data is protected. Operators can offer secure round-the-clock services for customers who prefer to call and speak rather than pay online.

6. Instant satisfaction

Automation streamlines the purchase cycle for customers, easing buying decisions and payments to accelerate turnaround. Fully automated background processes use mature workflows or Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to enable instant service and, by reducing human intervention, eliminate the possibility of manual error. This enables operators to deliver the instantaneous support and service that customers demand today.

Alepo’s role in boosting CX

At the forefront of digitization, Alepo provides an industry-leading Digital Business Support System (BSS) integrated with AI-powered modules and automated processes. The BSS suite includes Omnichannel Self-Care with NLP-based AI chatbots, advanced BI reports and analytics, workflow automation in all modules such as interconnect and wholesale billingdistributor managemententerprise management, and much more.

Pankaj Garg

Pankaj Garg

Associate Director, Product Management

Pankaj Garg is a telecom and FinTech expert with over 15 years of experience in the software industry. Handling digital BSS offerings is among the many hats he wears at Alepo. Always up to speed with the newest advancements in the products he handles, he takes it slow only when he’s road-tripping across India to discover new places.

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Telecom Vanuatu Limited begins network modernization with Alepo solutions

  • Alepo has upgraded the legacy system to its Digital BSS and the latest version of AAA for the operator’s fixed data services
  • The upgraded system supports offers based on fair usage policies, as well as happy hours enabling Telecom Vanuatu to implement free nighttime browsing
  • Telecom Vanuatu’s customers can now easily purchase data add-ons

Friday, October 16, 2020, Vanuatu – Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL) has begun modernizing its network using solutions by digital enablement firm Alepo, making significant improvements to its billing, charging, and authentication systems.

The modernization will be carried out in phases, through which TVL intends to digitize and automate its data service offerings on Alepo’s advanced platform. So far, the operator has upgraded from Alepo’s legacy business support systems (BSS) to its Digital BSS, as well as upgrading to the latest version of AAA, for its fixed data services.

The upgraded system supports fair usage policy offers and Telecom Vanuatu has implemented happy hours allowing free nighttime browsing. The operator has also introduced web support using Alepo’s Omnichannel Self-Care for its data-service customers. These customers can now easily purchase data add-ons.

“In our longstanding association with Alepo, they have always proven their reliability as a solutions provider. We were confident in their ability to rapidly deliver key requirements for this upgrade, and they have surpassed our expectations. We are equally excited about their systematic approach to fully digitize our service offerings,” said Thomas Bruce, CTO of TVL.

Vishal Mathur, Vice President – Solution Integration, Alepo, said, “We often recommend phased digitalization to our customers. First, we validate key use cases, allowing the customer to introduce new offers and build digital engagement channels. Then we perform a full transformation, providing advanced capabilities to automate all service offerings across the system.”

This modernization project adds to Alepo’s growing list of deployments in the Pacific Islands. The revenue management software provider has helped transform the telecommunications landscape for several nations in the region, including enabling the launch of LTE in three countries. In addition to digital BSS transformation, its key Pacific deployments extend to carrier WiFi, LTE enablement, data charging, and AAA transformation, among others.

About TVL

Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL) was created in 1978 and is Vanuatu’s first provider for landline, GSM, internet, and 4G+ (mobile internet).

TVL is the largest corporate contributor to Vanuatu’s national economy – since 2002, it has paid more than 1.8 billion vatus to the government in fees, charges and taxes. A World Bank study shows that telecommunication prices in Vanuatu are among the cheapest in the region.

TVL has fixed lines on four main islands; Efate, Santo, Malakula, and Tanna, and 85 percent of the population is covered by their mobile network.

For more information, visit tvl.vu

About Alepo

Alepo shortlisted for ETTelecom managed services offerings award

  • The award recognizes the leading managed services provider in successfully managing clients’ IT systems and network infrastructure
  • Alepo has been shortlisted for its Managed Service Offering (MSO) provided to Myanmar’s first 4G and data-only service – Amara Communications Co., Ltd.’s ananda
  • On service expiration, customers will automatically be redirected to the payment portal to increase renewal times
  • Winners will be announced at the ETTelecom Awards 2020 on September 18, as part of a two-day virtual summit
  • The summit will “bring top executives from telecom carriers, technology and infrastructure providers, and regulatory and government officials together to deliberate potential strategies and bottlenecks in India’s digital transformation”

Tuesday, September 1, 2020, AUSTIN – Digital enablement and revenue management software provider Alepo has been shortlisted for the prestigious ETTelecom Awards 2020 in the Best Managed Services Provider category. The core network provider has been recognized for its success in managing the IT systems and network infrastructure of Amara Communications Co., Ltd.’s data service.

The awards aim to “showcase the best telecom products, apps, services, technologies and initiatives” as well as recognizing innovators excelling in network technologies, operations, new implementations, products, and services.

Winners will be announced at the ETTelecom Awards 2020 on September 18, as part of a two-day virtual summit that aims to bring top telecom executives, technology and infrastructure providers, and regulatory and government officials under one roof “to deliberate potential strategies and bottlenecks in India’s digital transformation.”

A leading turnkey solutions provider, Amara Communications Co., Ltd. (ACS) entered the service provider market in 2018 with the launch of ananda, Myanmar’s first 4G and data-only service. Alepo helped the greenfield operator launch the high-speed internet services, first in Yangon and then in Mandalay, with differentiated and personalized offers to remain ahead in these highly competitive markets.

While facilitating rapid service creation and monetization, Alepo also helped build a foolproof business continuity plan to quickly adapt to market changes, ensure zero revenue leakage, streamline business and network IT operations, implement a disaster recovery plan to optimize its network functions, prevent data loss, identify pain points, and provide stopgaps.

Alepo’s Managed Service Offering (MSO) – provided by its always-available technical support team, Global Technical Assistance Center (GTAC) – enabled ACS to drive cost optimization, improve resource efficiency, streamline IT operations, and have a network that’s always up and running. It included hands-on training in managing the system and configuring promotions and plans; enabling POS within the system, saving ACS the cost of purchasing it from another vendor; and sending the MSO team to ACS stores to resolve technical issues.

Alepo continues to assist various ACS teams to ensure they can resolve day-to-day issues. A dedicated GTAC team ensures uninterrupted services by proactively monitoring risks.

GTAC extends instant, multichannel, multilingual assistance to ACS and all customers who enroll for professional and managed services and has a best-in-class ticketing portal. Operational 24/7/365, the ISO 20000-1 2011-certified department is run in-house to ensure quality checks at every level and follows ITIL-aligned processes.

“When we looked at our present as well as future needs, we found [Alepo’s solution] very scalable… As a greenfield operator, it opens a whole new world for the introduction of advanced data services in Myanmar,” said Aye Mya Mya Kyi, CEO, Amara Communications Co., Ltd.

Derrick Gross, President, Alepo, said, “Our internationally renowned GTAC is run by skilled and experienced support professionals and engineers, and we have worked extensively with leading operators globally. Our MSO has helped streamline processes for ACS, and we are thrilled that our work has been recognized by a prestigious body like ETTelecom.”

Read the full case study here.

About ETTelecom Awards
The ETTelecom.com Awards aim to recognize and showcase the best telecom products, apps, services, technologies, and initiatives in India.

The awards also seek to identify and celebrate innovative telecom companies and their inspiring leaders who have excelled in the field of network technologies, operations, new implementations, and innovative products and services.

For more information, visit www.telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/ettelecom-awards

About Alepo
Alepo makes next-generation data opportunities a reality, creating advanced software solutions and services that enable global communications service providers to accelerate revenue growth, market share, and business success on fixed and mobile broadband networks. For over a decade, Alepo has been the go-to technology partner for all things data at leading service providers.

Established in 2004, Alepo is a mature technology solutions provider based in Austin, Texas, with a presence in all regions of the world.

For more information, please visit www.alepo.com

Orange Guinea Sonatel to Digitize its Fixed Broadband Services with Alepo AAA Transformation

  • Alepo AAA will help eliminate revenue leakage caused by manual processes in the legacy system
  • Customers will be emailed dunning notifications for the prepaid FTTH services
  • On service expiration, customers will automatically be redirected to the payment portal to increase renewal times
  • Faster and more streamlined customer sign-up will improve performance and reliability
  • Customer profile provisioning will be automated with a responsive and intuitive GUI for agents
  • The new AAA will provide guaranteed minimum bandwidth speeds, enhanced role-based security, real-time service monitoring, and comprehensive customer usage reports

Thursday, July 16, 2020, Conakry, Guinea – Strengthening its telecommunications business in the western African region, Orange Guinea Sonatel is set to digitize its fixed broadband (FTTH) services by migrating to digital enablement and revenue management solutions provider Alepo’s Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) platform.

Alepo’s AAA Transformation will help Orange Guinea Sonatel eliminate manual processes in their legacy system, resolving revenue leakage issues. Customers who purchase the prepaid FTTH plans will receive renewal notifications over email when their plans near expiration. Once the plan expires, they will automatically be redirected to the payment portal when they try to access the service, which is expected to increase renewal times significantly.

A faster and more streamlined customer sign-up process will ensure improved performance and reliability increasing customer satisfaction. Customer profile provisioning will be automated, with a responsive GUI for intuitive agent use. In addition to providing guaranteed minimum bandwidth speeds, the AAA will also enable flexible creation of new offers, enhanced role-based security, real-time monitoring of services, and comprehensive customer usage reports.

Marlyatou Hady Diallo, CTIO, Orange Guinea Sonatel, said, “Offering innovative telecom services has always been our priority, and Alepo has a long history of helping us cater to our growing customer demands. In the past, Alepo’s solutions helped us increase prepaid and subscription customers in our fixed-wireless network and we’re confident they will do the same in our rapidly growing FTTH business. We are certain the AAA will help us become more agile, improve speed, and enhance customer experience, all of which we expect will result in increased revenue.”

Vishal Mathur, VP Solution Integration, Alepo, said, “Alepo has helped transform AAA infrastructure for operators globally to meet and exceed their network demands and drive revenue growth. Our scalable and versatile AAA will help Orange Guinea Sonatel automate their legacy system and digitize their customer experience. We are proud that our previous deployments with them have yielded successful results, and that Orange Guinea Sonatel has faith in Alepo’s abilities as a trusted and experienced solutions provider.”

Alepo has transformed AAA infrastructure for several Tier-1 operators catering to millions of clients around the world. Its virtualized AAA (vAAA) is also deployed at leading service providers, with many upcoming deployments in the pipeline.

About Orange Guinea

Orange Guinea is a subsidiary of the Sonatel Group and has been present in Guinea since November 2007. It has more than 400 employees and nearly eight million subscribers. Orange Guinea is the leader in the telecommunications sector with the widest network: Conakry and all regional capitals are covered by 4G, and all sub-prefectures are covered by 3G. The operator indirectly provides employment to hundreds of thousands of Guineans in the distribution of its products and services, the provision of various services and the development of its telephone network. Orange Guinea participates in the economic and human development of Guinea through its commitment, excellence and proximity to the Guinean populations, thanks, among other things, to its citizen program. Its societal actions have had a direct impact that is valued at millions of euros.

For more information, please visit About Alepo

 

Top 5 ways telcos can adapt to the virtual cultural shift

Top 5 ways telcos can adapt to the virtual cultural shift

Top 5 ways telcos can adapt to the virtual cultural shift

 

5th of May 2020

 

 

 

Telecommunications today is more essential than ever. Data and mobility have taken on a pivotal role across sectors like healthcare, education, transportation, smart cities, oil and gas, utilities, and more. Now, there is unprecedented demand on networks with cultural shifts due to the pandemic. Given the unpredictability of the future, and with many companies considering the possibility of permanently adopting remote work, the focus is directed to network contingency plans. One thing is clear: service providers with digitally advanced systems will adapt more easily to this cultural shift. And to enhance their systems, these are the top five factors they need to focus on:

Maintain high-performing and scalable networks

More people around the world are working from home due to lockdowns, and those isolating and in quarantine are spending more time on high-bandwidth streaming services such as Netflix, Youtube, and other entertainment channels, further increasing the network load. To serve this surge in demand and long-term cultural shift, telcos must invest in robust AAA infrastructure that is highly available, scalable, and stateless. Operators facing network challenges can transform AAA seamlessly and virtually, ensuring zero impact on their existing IT systems and integrations.

Automate workflows and processes

As their customers do more from home, telcos should also aim to reduce manual and in-person touchpoints. An advanced digital business support systems (BSS) stack helps automate business processes, including complex and repetitive tasks, freeing up network resources, and minimizing errors. Telcos can create, launch, deliver, and manage communications services entirely through a digital-first customer experience, keeping them ahead of the competition. Operators can introduce innovative plans, bonus policies, cashbacks, and targeted offers on-the-fly as the market evolves. Increased digitalization and personalization keeps customers engaged and loyal to the brand.

 

Digital transformation facilitates rapid implementation and customization as it possesses the following features:

  • Cloud-native services
  • Open APIs and standardized workflows
  • Automated provisioning, fulfillment, testing, chatbots
  • Microservice architecture

 

In addition, better internal processes and automated workflows mean higher productivity and efficiency in interacting with customers and vendors, while maintaining high operational excellence.

Deliver a digitally-advanced experience

It is crucial for telcos to adopt a digital-first approach to their business, not only because the majority of young consumers prefer interacting with brands through smartphones or online, but long-term cultural shifts due to the pandemic demand a rapid change to conducting business and serving customers virtually.

 

For example, customers prefer visual assistance to solve their problems. Vodafone has capitalized on this and uses the power of video to relieve the burden on their call centers that used to receive a staggering 5.2 million calls for technical assistance per year. They are now able to resolve customer issues remotely using AI and AR, helping their agents interpret and visually guide the customer, resulting in faster and more accurate problem resolution.

 

The main areas of focus for digitalization include:

  • Shift in-store customer experience to a digital channel
  • Reduce physical contact through virtual troubleshooting
  • Automate customer touchpoints to improve customer experience
  • Have IT systems that can support the cultural shift

Provide omnichannel support

With an increasing number of digital channels and a growing focus on customer experience, operators need to adopt an omnichannel strategy to keep pace with the expectations of customers. And its applications are two-fold.

 

For one, omnichannel engagement options extend a seamless, consistent, and unified shopping experience to customers across all touchpoints, whether they are shopping on the operator’s portal or through an online marketplace, physical stores, product catalogs, social media platforms, or chatbots.

 

Second, omnichannel self-care plays a significant role in the operator’s customer experience strategy, helping customers to play an active role in managing their accounts. Customers can manage their plans and services, create friends and family groups for special calling rates, and control data usage. The added transparency and increased ability to monitor accounts improves customer satisfaction and helps build trust. Automated and intelligent interactions through the web, mobile, and multiple social media channels further enhance the digital experience and empower customers with:

  • Automated digital onboarding
  • Simplified purchases
  • Automated support
  • Multiple payment modes
  • Swift complaint redressal
  • Gifting options
  • Parental controls

Move to SaaS to relieve IT

With the long-term shift to working virtually, a huge strain is put on a company’s IT infrastructure. SaaS software can relieve a huge burden on the IT infrastructure and ensure connectivity and reliability. One of the top priorities for all service providers must be shifting their infrastructure to the cloud because it lets them focus on digitization opportunities with limited investment. SaaS BSS architecture provides the telco with advanced modules, preconfigured fixed and mobile broadband plans, and 24×7 managed service operations, while a dedicated customer success manager ensures faster return on investment and reduced time-to-market. It also helps with reduced expenditure on hardware, infrastructure, maintenance, and more. The SaaS solution helps operators rapidly transform and adapt their business to modern technology trends that facilitate back-office process automation and digitize customer experience for their staff and subscribers.

Conclusion

To capitalize on cultural shifts and surging demand in data, telecom providers need to concentrate on a digital makeover, either as a complete network overhaul or a phased digital transformation. This includes not just offering better network capabilities but also implementing innovative tools and strategies to enable process automation and enhanced customer experience. Service providers must consider investing in digital technologies to build next-gen offerings and streamline business and IT operations, using SaaS software and agile methodologies to analyze and understand overall market demands, business requirements, customer data, and real-time delivery needs. It’s certain there is opportunity for companies to evolve in these challenging times.

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Anand Ramani

Anand Ramani

Director R&D

A senior professional with more than 20 years of experience in the telecom BSS domain, Anand is passionate about adapting newer technologies and building digital products. He heads the company’s R&D activities for core products such as Digital BSS, WiFi, and AAA.

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