Q&A: Mikael Dahlgren, CEO, Agama Technologies
Agama’s CEO, Mikael Dahlgren, talks about the importance of working proactively to tackle service issues.
How do operators stand to gain from proactively searching for service problems; and how far is it possible to measure the impact of this in financial terms?
By working proactively, operators are able to identify and solve problems before they start to affect customers or to escalate. This also makes it easier to prioritise operations, so that the most important issues can be addressed first.
Proactive working methods will result in fewer calls to Customer Services; shortened average handling times; and, improved NPS scores. Most importantly, if you can reduce or even eradicate the time customers are affected, churn rates fall and customer satisfaction and operational efficiency rises. This, in turn, helps to cut costs and boost profits.
To what extent are operators already taking a proactive approach to service assurance and how much still needs to be done?
Many operators that we work with are, to a large extent, already proactively managing technical problems, such as fault-finding or change management. Swiss operator netplus.ch, for example, reduced problems in on-demand delivery by more than 50%, thanks to a proactive way of working. By focusing on the right things to improve and invest in, we are convinced that more operators will benefit from this way of working.
Being proactive isn’t just about the technical side of things though. Operators are now also looking at understanding how their customers are using their service. For example, by analysing which parts of their service are being used the most and which parts are not used at all. With these insights, the overall customer experience can be improved with an optimised service offer and churn can be prevented as a result.
What challenges stand in the way of operators taking this approach to service assurance?
It is easy in day-to-day operations to focus on reactive processes, such as incident management and problem management. In our experience, however, instead of spending a lot of time, effort and resources on detecting and restoring event-oriented problems, it is more effective for the operator to invest in a more proactive way of working, in order to anticipate, find or prevent faults, before they cause problems for customers.
To really benefit from a proactive approach, the operator might need to adjust current workflows and processes, provide additional staff training and reassess roles, responsibilities and goals.
What do operators need to put in place when implementing a proactive way of working?
To successfully implement a proactive way of working, operators must have the right awareness and insights easily available and truly understand their service performance. It is vital to focus at first on the most cost-efficient aspects to be improved upon, those parts that drive the higher return on investment (ROI). It might prove too costly to try and better everything at once. To ensure that the move over to a proactive way of working goes smoothly, management must drive these changes.
Once the operator has a solution in place, it becomes much easier to understand and proactively identify potential problems and upcoming faults. To get the necessary information for this proactive work, data must be collected from the whole chain – from production to consumption. The system also needs to enable powerful aggregation, correlation and visualisation, as well as trend analysis and automated data analysis.
To conclude, operators implementing a proactive way of working reap great benefits. Having the right awareness and insights and the authorisation from management to drive change enables the operator to both increase customer understanding and improve operational efficiency.