Part 2 of a 3 part series on Customer Service and the Reintegration of the Contact Center (CC), OSS and business lines in Telecom. [See part 1: ‘Customer Service in the Enhanced Contact Center’ which appeared in Pipeline’s October, 2006 issue.]
Change, Convergence & Crossover
Straight up: the blatant message is that today, our industry does not meet customer expectations. However, it is widely recognized that today’s Service Providers (those that are left) finally are now ready to transition from the traditional ways to a more modern ‘lean’ approach to operations. But how, exactly? Operators ask “How do I make this transition from the old to the new?” “What products are certified NGOSS and thereby enable this new lean world?” “What interfaces and API’s do I use to integrate it all?”
But we authors who evangelized the change are now the skeptics, asking: are these the right questions? Is this transition derailed before it starts? Of course, the transition to tomorrow’s operator will require new technology, and it will require new processes. But it will also require profound structural changes – one of which is the reintegration of operations, call centers, sales, and business units. Yes just like we are integrating our OSS and BSS products we must also, hand-in-hand, enable seamless collaboration in the processes which span traditionally separate business units.
Having pushed hard for a decade to have the systemic problems identified and accepted... Having evangelized for rethinking integration, for recreating OSS and BSS applications as services.... Having pushed for intelligent processes that serve the company rather than the organization… We now see operators as eager to move forward with the new. But we now say, ‘do not throw out the old grandmother with the bath water.’ There are clone-able cells in there.
Call Centers are a world apart (way apart!). They should not be. NOCs are insular and inward looking. They must change. Sales push the products. They need to service the customer. Everyone needs to service the customer. The company serves the customer.
Just as Network Management is evolving to focus on managing the customer’s network experience, so too are Network Operations Centers (NOCs) changing. They are evolving away from solving only network performance issues and toward solving service issues. In effect, NOCs will become SOCs (Service Operations Centers). To make the transition successfully to customer-centric operations, we need to reexamine the processes, behaviors, and scope of responsibility of Operations with an eye fixed firmly on customer, customer, and customer.