Using OSS/BSS to Give Customers Less Choice

Trying to be too clever with your OSS/BSS can lead to a poor customer experience which highlights that you’re just a dumb data pipe. I say, give your customer’s less choice to keep them happy.

Here’s a good article about some theoretical customer experience scenarios. It opens by describing this fictional event:

“A cable-broadband customer is almost to the halfway point of the latest sci-fi feature film when a message pops up on his tablet indicating he’s approaching the monthly data cap tied to his broadband subscription. The pop-up offers three solutions: Upgrade to a monthly unlimited plan on the spot for $29.99 per month; pay 4 cents per megabyte for the remainder of the current movie stream; or pay $3 for a one-time data package offering up to 500 megabytes – enough to finish the movie and then some.”

This comes from an Amdocs promotional video shown at the recent InTouch event. Amdocs like to showcase their solutions with ‘sunny day’ videos that show happy customers using integrated technology and services enabled by great OSS/BSS systems. And while I might be asking myself ‘how are they going to integrate those systems in reality??’ when I watch them, I do appreciate Amdocs for putting out there a vision of how things could be.

See, OSS/BSS can even help this guy punch above his weight.

I’m going to be picky today though. If we’re talking ‘vision’ then offering the options described above is actually detrimental to the customer experience.

Why?

Because it serves to highlight to the customer that the communication service provider is just selling megabits. There they are, enjoying the video from a content provider and the CSP sticks their nose in to ask for more money. Ok, the CSP thinks they are being helpful, and they are, but to the customer the data service is an expensive distraction from the content service.

And, is being ‘helpful’ and offering a choice the right thing to do? No, it’s not. The CSP should not assume the customer knows whether an extra 500MB of data limit will be enough for the rest of the streaming content. Or maybe it’s far too much and therefore a poor purchasing choice. I’m not sure I’d know. I’d find it impossible to determine which option is the best value.

So what’s the right answer? How should the OSS/BSS vision play out?

Integrate the content provider’s service with the CSP. Give the customer one choice: What video do you want to watch?

At the point the video is selected, the CSP and content provider confirm the bandwidth and connection quality requirements. If there’s a shortfall in either, the two businesses agree a revenue share and/or nominal price increase and offer that at the point of sale of the video.

Maybe the price increases by 50p, and right there on the content provider’s checkout the customer is told that this is to give them enough data to guarantee they see the full video and a bonus temporary boost in speed to enjoy it in HD.

If the economics allow, this could be invisible to the customer. The content provider wants to sell videos, so maybe they’re willing to do a revenue share with the CSP to ensure delivery, rather than push the cost to the consumer?

Outside of a sunny-day video, this business integration may not exist for all content services. What does the CSP do then? How about some predictive analytics? The OSS/BSS predicts the data requirements of the streaming video and offers the best data package to the customer.

Either way, this vision of a seamless customer experience means havingintegration between the content provider and communication service provider is as important as integration between devices and OSS/BSS systems. Why? So we can offer the consumer the best option, not a choice.

That’s my sunny-day vision.